six million dollars

I thought my changes were going to be a little invasive, but then Phil got into the game. Man. I hope nobody was emotionally attached to the old networking code. It’s going to be wonderfully better when we’re done, though.

I’m not going to Ottawa this weekend. You all knew that all along.

I finally read my birthday card from Mom last night, and listened to some of the songs on the CD that came along with it. *sniff*.

Tyla and Madhava and I went out for dinner, then brought back Army of Darkness. Neither of them had seen it, and I could not permit that to stand.

Where did February go? I mean, I know it’s a short month, but this was just silly.

stay on target

Today was my father’s birthday, so I took him out for lunch. We don’t get together for lunch as often as we should, partly because I haven’t been at the downtown office for a while, but mainly because we never seem to remember to call each other about it. A good time was had, though, and not just the usual two-beer-lunch kind.

I lost virtually none of my time today to IRC and email, instead piling it all into hacking like a machine. I cannot wait to land this branch, because it will make a lot of things work better, and it’ll make some things work at all. The best part, really, is that every time I go to make a change it turns out to be less invasive than I expected, which is exactly the sort of treasure I want to be stumbling across at this stage of development.

Alasdair invited me out to a showing of Baraka at the Bloor, and I was gentleman enough to accept. Good flick. I might come with him to Ottawa this weekend, but I think I’ll probably end up staying here, hacking my brains out — figuratively, Mom, don’t worry — and watching Madhava sing.

Someone, you’ll never guess who, scooped the photo out of the Globe’s photo system for me. This one is even in colour! I think I was looking sceptical at Chester, who chose that point to climb onto the TV. He knows things, that beast.

care and control

Much of today was spent learning how to drive. In addition to the usual Wednesday evening in-class lesson — complete with another practice test full of frustratingly ambiguous questions and incoherent explainification — I got behind the wheel of an actual automobile. Went pretty well, I seem to be a bit of a natural with the whole standard transmission thing. A pleasant surprise, that, since I was very much not a natural when I last tried, which was on Mom’s Cherokee 8 or 9 years ago. Can one become a natural over time? Hmm.

The Globe & Mail article turned out pretty well. The quotes are accurate, and while he inferred a few things that I don’t quite believe, I’m quite happy with it on the whole. The picture in the print version is nothing special, and certainly not as good as the last time they ran a photo of me. Ah, the glory days.

Too tired to remember much else.

Late-breaking flashes of recollection:

  • This is spooky.
  • This is the best description of Libertarianism I could find in a brief search today. Chief among its virtues is that it represents Libertarianism as neither the saviour of all human endeavour nor the source of all modern evil.
  • This is such a huge frittering-away of goodwill that I can scarcely comprehend it.

Also, I found my keys. Goodnight.

i’m not crazy ’cause i take the right pills, every day

As I type this, and I mean that quite literally, there is a nice photographer from the Globe & Mail here taking pictures of Chester. Apparently they’re doing a story on some study released today about mental health and “the tech workplace”, which clearly includes my living room. Some people’s cats are actually quite work-helpful, but ours is really just a pretty face.

I hadn’t heard from David Akin since he was at the Post and I was at Zero, but we caught up quickly on the phone this afternoon and then exchanged thoughts about depression, emotional investment, work-life balance, the dot-com boom and bust, foosball tables, the usual stuff. I’ll link to the article when it goes up on their site, I guess. Let me know if you see it first.

I actually had a very good experience — relatively speaking, of course — with the people at Zero-Knowledge when I had my last major depressive episode, but I’m sure not everyone is as lucky. The study in question was produced by Warren Shepell, which was — and may still be — the EAP adminstrator for ZKS. I didn’t interact with them myself, but some co-workers reported, uh, mixed results. Your mileage will vary, I’m sure, but I did make the point that an EAP is really not a complete solution, and that you still need in-house people who understand some of these issues. Especially because computer people are all a bunch of big babies.

Zach and Alice sent me a birthday gift, because they’re insane. I now have my very own princess hat. I don’t have a digital camera at home — thank god that the G&M photog left before the the package arrived — so you’ll all just have to imagine it.

a little less conversation

Tyla was apparently offended by my proportionate response entry below, for which I am therefore compelled to apologize. I certainly didn’t intend to insinuate that you were not replete with the very essence of hospitality, merely that you got a little more freaked out by the idea of people coming by in the afternoon without explicit warning than I think was warranted. That was a crappy sentence, but I am so not spending any more time on this issue, and that includes editing.

I made more pieces of recovery work today, and wrote tests for them. I got a little excited about the whole test thing, and dumped some bugs on our intrepid QA lead about getting even more tests working.

Another in-class driving lesson today, and it was everything I had feared. The topic of this lesson was dealing with adverse conditions, including driver impairment, which of course requires amateurish video telling us all about how wonderful some random victim of drunk driving was. One of the videos was about — though we didn’t learn this until after the segment ended and the instructor told us — someone who was hit by a car while playing chicken. I’m not sure what the lesson for us is there, unless the lessons are supposed to cover a much broader range of common sense than I had previously suspected. Maybe we’re supposed to take away the fact that people can do crazy things on highways, but in that case it might have been good to a) hear from the driver, and not just the girl’s classmates, and b) tell us that in the video. Lunacy. I think the whole notion that anyone paying a thousand dollars to learn to drive, in the year 2003, needs to be told that drinking and driving can kill people belies a fundamental lack of respect for the customer’s time. I’m sure there’s some provincial requirement that we be shown a certain number of tragic yearbook photos, though, so it’s probably not all YD’s fault.

We did spend some time on the notion of personal responsibility, though, which was unexpected and rather refreshing. Weather doesn’t make cars go out of control, and cars don’t cause cars to go out of control: inappropriate driving causes cars to go out of control. It is very difficult to end up killing yourself or someone else in a parked car, so make sure you know what you’re doing, and be very conservative about your choices, if you decide to take a large, heavy, dangerous vehicle out of that quiescent state. (If I ever end up in an accident and blame the weather or the car — even tire blowouts — please come to my house and read me this entry until I regain my senses. Thank you.)

At least all the silly “hey kids, don’t drink and drive” video time gave me a chance to design some solutions to the recovery problems that I came across today. Of course, I could have done that at home, without paying someone for the pleasure, but I’m not bitter or anything.

a tale in my bathrobe

My sleep cycle is broken like a drunken promise right now, and I don’t really expect it to get better in the next few days. Ah well. It was a Sunday.

Last night’s Honest Ed’s Movie Night was a rousing success, featuring such cinematic abominations as “Gunmen” and Jackie Chan’s break-out hit “Fabulous Bodyguards”, along with a wide variety of junk food. We’ll have to do that again, I think.

For my birthday, Tyla got me a wonderful cookbook, and while I haven’t cooked anything out of it yet, she‘s been cooking up a storm. Yesterday, she made cheese. Unreal.

Most of today was spent in my bathrobe, playing A Tale in the Desert, which is really a fantastically novel game. The game world is a bit sparse, in that it’s the size of Egypt and has but a few thousand people scattered throughout it, and you do end up doing a lot of running, but when you throw in the co-operative research paths and rich resource/production system, it all adds up nicely to a game in which there is a real sense of regional community. I guess it’s sort of like Pharoah meets The Sims Online, but I say that more because it’s easy than because it’s true. There’s a free 30 day/24-hour trial, a very active community, and you can download the client to get started. There’s no combat at all other than some battles of wits and economic competition in the form of some opposed “tests”, if that affects your decision at all.

I didn’t do any work today. Not a sausage. Tomorrow, I’m going to finish testing the hot, dripping hell out of my latest batch of changes, and then check them in. You’re welcome to do the same, but be advised that not just anyone can bring that move. It’s a judgement call.

proportionate response

I got up late today, so I haven’t hit Honest Ed’s yet. And it’s now after two o’clock. Apparently, this can cause the destruction of the very universe, especially when combined with having invited people over for the afternoon without informing Tyla of the exact time. I know, I was just as aghast as you that I’d invited people into my home without filling out my TPS forms.

Seriously, though. Untwist thy knickers, wench. People are always welcome in our house in the afternoon, and you know it.

If any of my guests actually show up before I get back from Honest Ed’s — in the rain, I add for no particular reason — they are free to bitch at me for misrepresentation of my readiness. Please direct your comments to Chester, our customer relations specialist.

some people just can’t be pleased

OK, Hixie, I took out the one fixed-point font thing. I hope you’re happy. (But I don’t think your complaint is at all related to “going on about standards”, just for the record.)

I spent most of today on one problem with my new patch, which Phil found after approximately 90 seconds of review. I need to go to the Phil-well much more often, and sooner.

Mom’s not visiting today, and neither is Phil. Such neglect.

This is a crappy entry, but the next part is important, so look alive out there: Honest Ed’s Movie Night is a go. I’m going to go buy movies tomorrow at lunch, and people should feel free to call and/or arrive any time after around 2pm. There are some snacks in the house, but purists will agree that I need to get the bulk of our nourishment from Honest Ed’s itself.

There may be a break in the movie-ing to watch the Leafs tear a strip off of Montreal, but it’s subject to debate and bribery.

My lovely sister-in-law Sara and her lovely — though I mean it in a very masculine way here, of course — boyfriend Alan arrived this evening for a weekend visit, which should be lots of fun. All the more reason for locals to come for HEMN!

No, Jamie, let me assure you that he is not joking at all. Blizzard had some encounters with him in the past, and I probably have old email on the topic that I can post without feeling the slightest bit guilty.

all the cool kids are doing it

I woke up this morning to a call from Phil, after what must have been almost five hours of sleep. Seems that I’d rendered Lustre inoperative with a checkin yesterday — not the really cool one I wrote at 2am, but a little tiny change I made about twelve hours before — and he was quite reasonably demanding that I fix it. A little embarrassing, but Phil made me feel much better a little while later.

And now I’ve discovered that the working code I wrote yesterday is really only the tip of the iceberg for support of that scenario, so I’ve been talking to Phil a lot about the intricacies of the rest of those cases. Fun stuff. He’s not coming to Toronto this weekend, in all likelihood, but that’s mainly because he wants to avoid seeing my Mom, and not because he’s too busy or anything.

I took a bath, which turned into a nap, and then I finished the nap in bed. So this means that I had a four-hour sleep starting at 20h00, and that in turn means that my sleep cycle has taken it in the teeth again. Ah well, I guess I can work for a few hours.

all that; you have to find your own bag of chips

I only got a few hours of sleep last night, but then I woke up with a complete and perfect understanding of my bug. Whammo. I don’t remember my dreams, but it’s not like dreaming about computers has killed anyone recently.

I was pretty tired in my driving class today, and only the combination of emergency-manoeuvre videos and a biggish latte kept me awake. When I got home, though, boy. Oh boy. Wired like a wiry thing.

I put that to good use, by writing some very sweet code, finding some bugs in other people’s code, and passing my new test on the first try. Booyah, as the kids are saying. Makes me think that maybe mixing scotch and NNSA-controlled computers isn’t the horrible plan that those policemen make it out to be.

Coop, my good man, you don’t have to apologize for asking questions. I don’t care how dumb they may seem, given a few months’ or hours’ or moments’ hindsight, because when I answer a question for you, it stays answered. A little booyah for you, too.

Tyla’s going to Europe to visit Emily, and — not to discourage her or anything — Jacob is talking about coming to visit then. I hope he brings Phil, and maybe even Joe or Chris. We would party very hard. I’m not sure we’re actually zoned for that amount of party, but I can probably get a temporary permit.

And as if that weren’t excitement enough, Phil might come into town this weekend, before jetting off to Calgary or something. I’m not sure where I’d bed him, so to speak, but I’m sure something can be arranged. I’d bat my eyelashes at Madhava now, but it really wouldn’t help.

I have totally failed to organize this weekend’s Honest Ed’s Movie Night. Maybe I can blame it on Alasdair’s guest-person, and bail for now. Bah.

And seriously: let’s lay off the French. It’s not like they’re Quebecois or anything.

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