Saturday, May 11, 2002

Pop Culture Purgatory
I wrote some trivia questions, a paltry total relative to my usual crunch-time output but better than my grand total of zero over the previous N weeks.

My short term memory is going: How exactly did I spend my Saturday night? At some point I watched Baseball Tonight. I watched South Park, the Elian parody featuring the Rumanian girls and Janet Reno dressed as a sadistic Easter bunny. I played some solitary card games.

Then I discovered the two sources of this entry:
1. I'd always known Alanis Morissette had ex-boyfriend issues but never bothered to learn who her ex-boyfriend actually was until a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Jimmy Fallon as Carson Daly and the hostess as some pop star who supposedly used to date Bob Saget. It's vaguely disturbing that one TV series could be indirectly responsible for both the Morissette discography and the Olsen Twins' videography.

2. But not quite as disturbing as seeing the stars of The Brady Bunch win a game in a special celebrity version of Family Feud. (Game Show Network.) When I flipped through channels to it, Richard Dawson was talking to Florence Henderson and somehow managed to work Nancy Reagan and El Salvador into the same sentence.

It's unclear how my weekend would be different if I were 100% healthy.
Now what?
Just had a nice couple hours drinking coffee and walking along Ocean Beach with a new acquaintance. Things went well enough that I do want to meet again but not so well as to guarantee that she feels the same way. I'd be equally unsurprised for this to take off or not to take off.

(We met late enough that I thought dinner was a reasonable outside contingency if things went extraordinarily well. Rather, after walking and talking a lot she decided it was about time for her to catch the bus back home.)

Of more immediate concern, my system is now chock full of caffeine (not to mention both Excedrin and Sudafed). I feel remarkably lucid but I also feel a buzz that prevents me from truly focusing on some task or project. I'm revved up for something, it's unclear what. Being relatively social (and hanging out with a member of the opposite sex, no less!) makes me want to continue to be social rather than sitting around at home.

Also, I was really looking forward to this coffee thing, just to see how well it would go, and now it came and went. There's this music/gaming/cooking thing in Cupertino that most of my friends are at. For various reasons (including coffee) it was more convenient for me not to go to that. It may even not be too late to go but I'm all ambivalent. My Sunday plans (marathon D&D campaign) have been scuttled because the people who were born and raised around here suddenly realized that on Mother's Day they'll actually want to spent time with their mothers.

So after being so busy over the last eight days that I could barely think, I suddenly have time on my hands and it's unclear how to spend it. What I most want is to sleep until I'm totally healthy, yet the buzz is in the way of that.

The only red flag I can think of about myself from today's meeting was that since I'm not completely over the cold, I had the sniffles. I did have a pocket Kleenex thingy along but surely it can't be the sexiest thing in the world to see your male companion dabbing at his nose. Maybe she'll chalk it up to allergies.

Also she's quite thin because she runs a lot. That's not a problem to me but I always wonder if thin people will be relatively less eager to date a "thick" person than normal (or thick) people would be.

Actually, to be honest I didn't get the "we're perfect for each other" vibe. Maybe that's because the composite dream woman, made up of every particular thing I'm looking for, doesn't actually exist in the real world. Who knows?

Friday, May 10, 2002

Unfortunately, there was a problem:

I absolutely love the Yahoo! UI. Even when something goes wrong it's relentlessly cheerful, professional, and well put-together.

Too bad the error message itself probably applies to the world at large. I may not be so thankful anymore that Mark showed me the Obscure Store. There are signs all over the place of the world just being messed-up. People are depraved. They're wasteful. They're tastelessly cruel.

(In the last case, not that issuing a fatwa ever solved the world's problems, but I really hope the boys in that case get the crap kicked out of them by somebody on the People Who Need To Be Hurt goon squad.)

Most of all they're flat-out dumb. Fire BAD.
Wuss Song of the Year
God help me, I listened to the whole thing, transfixed the way one would be transfixed by a car wreck.

For all I know this song has been out forever and I'd just somehow avoided it until now. Once is enough for me. The very existence of this song says something bad about humanity. The same station that served up this pap followed it up with Sting's Desert Rose and completed the trifecta of nausea with something so bad that I'm suddenly drawing a blank on it.

I was on the Bay Bridge when this happened, yet I almost didn't make it to work, the need to be put out of my misery having been so great.
If you like computer geek rantings,
several entries up your alley. If you don't, skip to the traffic report.
Is object oriented code really all that scalable?
I also have serious doubts about this, beyond a certain level of business bulk.

Consider (for example) a system in which you want to look at a list of different pieces of property, and/or filter or sort your list based on certain criteria. If all these pieces of property (say there are on the order of a thousand of them) correspond to rows of various database tables, a data-centric approachi to the problem might be to consider what SQL query returns the results you want, consider what code would produce that query, and let the filtering and sorting translate into WHERE clauses and ORDER BY clauses.

The way an object-oriented programmer approaches this problem is to assume that the different pieces of property already exist as objects (maybe with other objects that reflect the relationship between the property, the customer, the location, and the keys and values of the info you're looking for). And then, naturally, to iterate through all of these objects, overhead be damned.

(I'm presenting this very onesidedly, partly out of frustration I suppose.)

The tricky part of course is that where your objects actually live is in the database. It's all fine and dandy to claim that data models and object models are so inherently different that you need overpriced software to act as a persistence layer. It'd be one thing if the data actually came from the application.

The problem is for businesses of a certain size (or at least one such business that I know), a vast majority of the data that goes into the tables is bulk-loaded, often converted from some other system's legacy data. What this means is that the people who most need to know "how the system works" are DBA types. I find that I answer their questions much better (and understand the system myself much better) if I think of everything from a SQL-centric (table-centered) perspective instead of object-centered.

I also don't want to write any more code. Supposedly there will be "new development" taking place soon, I forget on specifically what (even if I remembered, posting it on essentially a public forum seems rude and probably violates some sort of employment agreement). This is supposed to be a carrot, a relief from the act of completing punchlist items and fixing bugs and so on. I suppose the appeal is that it's a change of pace. Even so, I don't want to write any more new code until the existing code is far more reliable. I know too many deep dark secrets about what's already there. And in the last week or so, the deep dark secrets I knew about haven't killed me nearly as much as the deep dark secrets I didn't know about.

Okay, maybe I'll write new code if only because it'll suck so much less than what I would have written in the past. But even that can't stay clean and elegant very long.
Steaming mounds of Java.
Somewhere out there a C++ bigot (or chose your language, maybe script geekery) reads my previous entry and smirks condescendingly at the screen.

(Next part written after all the other rants but I need to sneak it in somewhere without breaking the shortcut I left for people to skip this stuff.)

I actually call revokePermission()
Consider a one-to-many relationship between some object and a collection of permissions (I suppose each permission reflects a privilege). What would you call the methods that add to and remove from that collection of permissions? If you're a hardcore code geek, the standard convention would be addPermission and removePermission. (Or deletePermission I suppose.) If you're a hardcore English language geek, then you can make the case for grantPermission and revokePermission. Apparently a heated discussion took place on this issue, maybe a year-and-a-half ago. Thankfully I wasn't part of this discussion. I heard about it after the fact, at some length, from the grant/revoke advocate. I listened with a combination of apathy and mild disagreement.

It looks as though "grant" and "revoke" actually won, or at least failed to lose. In a recent bug fix I needed to use the revoke method. For what it's worth the method did exactly what it's supposed to. That's the nice thing about stable working code. One new line and I was golden.
It's not hanging! That's the other piece of good news. I think I'll go write a White Paper on how and why oversynchronization shoots you in the foot. Maybe in that parallel universe that has the 36-hour days.

It's pretty simple though: If your method access internal member variables directly, either to look them up or to change them, then synchronize the method. So your standard getters and setters should be synchronized. But if it's some convoluted method that merely uses the getters and setters to return other objects and pass method calls onto those objects, then don't synchronize because you don't have to. Especially don't synchronize if it's one of those methods that ends up doing (and looping through) a ton of crap. You can only keep your objects waiting on each other for so long dammit.

At the time the code in question was written the mantra was that unless you could demonstrate that the code was threadsafe without synchronization, you should synchronize it just in case. I couldn't have demonstrated thread safety then; but I think I can demonstrate thread safety now. Somehow or other the phrase "thread safety" is about to make to my resume. Ask me a few years from now what financial impact if any this actually had.

(The more appropriate phrase would be "deadlocking," or (if I really fixed things) the lack thereof. Back in the day the problem was concurrent modification. The solution was apparently to keep slapping in the word "synchronized" until the concurrent modification problems went away. Supposedly the manner in which I'm unslapping the word "synchronized" out of code is less crude than that.)

It's also all about the thread dump, baby.
Seattle won, by the way. Those bases on balls, they're painful to listen to. Glad I'm not a Blue Jay fan. Chad Kubicek will give me no end of grief for picking -- with a straight face -- Toronto to win the AL East this year. I like the Blue Jay lineup a lot. Mound presence is another story.
The holy grail of commuting!
Usually the west-bound trip on Fell and Lincoln is pretty predictable. Fell is a bunch of lights timed so that no matter what hour you're actually driving or how much traffic, you'll go steadily around 25 mph. Then on Lincoln you'll tend to hit a red light at 9th Avenue and another at 19th. 25th is a crapshoot, though your reaction to it will ensue you a green light at Sunset Boulevard if you notice how the timing works.

Once in a blue moon, you'll go all the way from the freeway exit to the 41st Avenue stop sign without hitting a single red light. You think you're about to get redded at 9th, yet you mysteriously don't. Same at 13th. As you cross 13th you notice that 19th is red and probably has been for awhile. You can almost predict exactly when it'll turn green. I don't know what changes about the timing on those special nights but they put an extra spring in my step and even contribute two paragraphs to this monstrosity of verbiage.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

So I finally have no pressing crises at work and yet...
I've gotten hooked on this damn Blue Jay-Mariner game, thanks to on-line streaming. Top of the 11th now!
Blogger back!
Hence the many entries in a row. No, I don't type that fast.
No Dogs Allowed
This is going to sound really catty and probably biased given that you know where I stand on politics. But Pud is right, somebody at Vanity Fair really is smoking crack. I mean just look at her. Although this being Fox News, the highly unflattering photo is no doubt part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (tinvrwc).
Am I a surfer or a beatnik?
It's unclear to me which is a better place to meet someone between Java Beach and Vesuvio. Other relevant factors include coffee versus alcohol, location in the city, and where people have been before. In this case Java Beach won out, partly because I hear it's hard to walk past City Lights without getting sucked in.

Mr. San Francisco
I think I work with a candidate for that title. He owns (not rents, owns) a place South of Market. Has contractors coming out to renovate and all. One time a year ago I vaguely remember being jealous of him for being so wiry thin, doing yoga, and seeming to be so adored by various young women. (None of those women are around anymore.) Then I met his boyfriend at the Christmas party and felt an overwhelming sense of duh. Sometimes the 'dar just misses the obvious.

He styles his hair to look unkempt. I idly wonder how much time that takes each morning. I don't have to style my hair unkempt, it just comes out that way a lot.

Not Quite San Francisco
Today we made a quick run to the food court in Emeryville (the town -- really just boundary and nomenclature -- between Berkeley and the Bridge). Let me just say that food courts are one of the greatest inventions -- and adventures -- ever.

This goes beyond the mere "fast food" phenomenon. I find McDonalds, Burger King, et al, to be highly overrated. More precisely, the absolute value of everyone's opinion of those places is way too high, both the likers and the haters. A food court is far far better than a franchise or even a strip mall's worth of franchises. You can stroll around, look at and smell all the offerings, and then when you decide what you want, go stand in a line behind two or three people, get up to the counter, tell the server what you want and she'll serve it up for you right then and there.

The combination of selection with convenience leaves me in awe. Also, I have this weird weakness for just about anything served over rice, contained in a styrofoam box, and accompanied by plastic silverware. (Somewhere out there an environmentalist just had kittens.)

There was a place like this near Faneuil Hall. Once time, depressed about something random (or not so random), I went there and ate four meals in one evening. None of them were bad. Likewise, Seiken has never had a bad meal at the Emeryville food court.

It's not exactly a highbrow taste but places like this make me not feel so bad to be the particular extent of plus-sized that I am. If anything, taking into account all of the indulgent food choices, not to mention the lack of going to a gym ever, it's a wonder that 215 isn't more like 285. Then again, I'm short and all.
Der Pinky und Der Brain
The German version of this theme music sounds vaguely sinister.
Time Marches On
For Whom The Bell Tolls is, bar none, the best all-purpose heavy metal song ever. It got me from MLK to Ashby to Highway 80 and very nearly to the Bay Bridge, windows down (but only once I got to the highway, to avoid drowning out sleeping residents). It has not one, not two, not three, but four hooks that each individually would make for a kickass song.

It's the theme music for both Jason Isringhausen (Oakland years, maybe still even in St. Louis) and, appropriately enough, David Bell. Izzy because every closer needs a heavy metal song, Bell for the obvious wordplay. Advantage: Bell. Likewise, big advantage to Robb Nen over Randy Velarde for "ownership" of Smoke on the Water. What business Velarde had with that song in his last A's tenure is beyond me.

For Whom The Bell Tolls may even make good sexual encounter music, if your idea of a good sexual encounter runs to the rough side. I'd have to think through this. The beat sounds like it works.

The problem with a song like that is that the rest of your ride's music is guaranteed to suck, including more Puddle of Mudd than you could shake a stick at. Then again, had the rare treat of hearing the original Mrs. Robinson on an oldies station, followed by the Lemonheads version on an alt-rock station a few minutes later.

Is work still hell?
The problems are with one live customer instance and two distinct need-to-be-loaded schemata. (The live instance we should have not had to worry about for approaching a week now, hence the time being sucked away from the two.) One deadlock that probably results from either synchronized methods needing to be not-synchronized or the other way around. Oddly enough, the main author of the code in question was still awake just now, interested in the problem, and vaguely apologetic. One system crash that most assuredly results from a weird data state that doesn't look too hard to fix but what do I know? One system crash for which the blame lies squarely with certain overpriced, underperforming data persistence software.

Cards
Leaving work around 11:30, I noticed that I still had Paul's tapes (homemade mix variety). Worth seeing if anyone was awake. Three were awake. People asked if my arrival meant we were about to play something. No reason not to (sleep be damned!). So we played a simplified, four-player version of 99 (the way Mike learned it seems quite different from how this web site explains it) and then lapsed into bridge. On that front I'll admit with mild shame that until tonight I didn't know how to use a negative double.

Laundry
Won't be done tonight either. I have what looks like three wearable work shirts, assuming I don't upgrade to one of those nice button-fronts along with a tie like a real (non-tech) worker would. All not only are long sleeved but also (I claim) make me look fat. Maybe there's a reason why so many articles of clothing make me look fat.

Tomorrow morning distinguished guests will be at the office. Come to think of it, the host herself is reasonably distinguished in her own way.

Oakland A's
Allegedly Mark Mulder rather than Barry Zito will start Friday night. Zito starting means that Barry Zito worshippers will fawn over him and perhaps even bring Z's to the ballpark; moreover that I should bring a Zito fan to the park with me, as is the current plan. Mulder starting on a Friday night, however, means that I must observe my superstitions. I must always attend the Coliseum any time Mulder pitches a Friday night home game. I also must do everything in my power to bring a guest who will be won over by Mulder's smooth delivery and quick work against a vastly inferior lineup. It's unclear whether a Barry Zito fanatic (and a male at that!) is the best choice for this role. Trying to make an upgrade, however, raises questions of both invitation etiquette and, frankly, opportunity.

Mia Hamm
It's unclear how she -- more specifically her relationship with Nomar Garciaparra -- came up in conversation last night. I observed to Jake that I'd have a hard time wooing Hamm even if she were single, at least given the physical distance between here and Boston. He asked incredulously whether I honestly thought I'd stand a chance with Mia Hamm even if I were in Boston. I replied to the effect that nothing is impossible other than perhaps getting me to admit that any given thing is impossible. I should concede impossibility more often, especially when it's in my best interest to do so. But I'm stubborn that way. And hey, if it's possible then why not do it? Especially if by some miracle you can avoid making it a Pyrrhic victory. I wouldn't have minded discussing this point more deeply but just then an exciting play of some sort happened on the field.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Little Fluffy Clouds!!!
Allyson very kindly forwarded to me the German techno version of rubber ducky. This has inspired my interest in techno, which RealOne offers as a channel. I will now commence writing about techno here the way I'd been writing about country.

I already knew of Little Fluffy Clouds from WFNX playlists of yore, so it was nice to start the genre on the music equivalent of an old friend.
Hey, that's the Oakland A's player introduction music!
Also known as Spybreak, by the Propellerheads.
Bach Invention #8
Two people wrote in to identify this piece. Based on the sheet music this is clearly correct.

Hmm, what's more annoying, the cellphone version of Invention #8 or the real version of Mambo #5? (They played that at Oakland last night.)
Cellphones killed the philharmonic star
There exists a piece of classical music. I can't place it but I know I've heard it as such. Unfortunately, in the last few months I've heard it far most often as the world's most insipid cell phone ring. It starts on F (I know this because I have perfect pitch) and goes something like:

F
A F
C A
F E-D
C-D C-Bb
(and so on)

This melody must die. My best guess is Bach. No matter who it is, it must die. I'm some small finite number of that ring away from suddenly hearing it one too many times, finding the phone responsible for it, and hurling it out a window.
This is stunningly true, yet only a longtime "cat person" would really understand
Arlo and Janis, shockingly accurate. After a cat leaves the litter box, almost without fail she'll find the nearest person to snuggle up to, as an excuse for shaking the litter off her paws or worse yet shaking the mumble off her mumble something something need to wipe.
Did I mention my head hurts? Just asking.
Don't feel so good
Head, throat. Head is an afternoon thing. Nausea was morning.

Hey, maybe I'm pregnant.

How not to make feel better: This is a continuation of yesterday's gripe. When you send somebody an e-mail, it is generally considered impolite (at least by me) to walk over to that person's desk five seconds after you sent the e-mail and expect them to give you immediate attention on the e-mails contents. Especially if the e-mail can basically be summarized as, I have a problem that I don't know to solve. Please solve it for me.

What's odd (and extremely disheartening) is that if you think you know who I'm complaining about, you're probably wrong. I really hope this isn't learned behavior.
Balls of the Week
The guys who slowly walked around the Coliseum second bowl waving the New England Patriots banner. As a Raider-hater who still understands just how important ("sacred"?) Oakland Coliseum is to those crazy costumey fans, I'm suitably impressed by this kind of cojones.

Alas, some guy grabbed their banner away from them and flung it down into the lowest-bowl seats.

Worth noting that most Raider fans are still bitter about that Brady non-fumble, and probably will be for life.
Nick of Time vs. Too Little, Too Late
Bos 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 4 0 - 9 15 3
Oak 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 2 - 7 12 1

W- Arrojo (2-0)
L- Mecir (1-1)
S- Urbina (12)


Box Score | Recap | Game Log

Three hours, 43 minutes. That kind of game. Almost exactly the loss to Anaheim a couple weeks ago, only closer and more of a seesaw. The Trot Nixon two-run insurance single actually did end up making a difference, thanks to Guapo pitching just badly enough to create the save situation for Oogie.

Oakland now 0-3 when I go to the Coliseum this year. Odd sighting at tonight's game: Fights between Red Sox fans and Yankee fans. It's bad enough when they get into it at Fenway or the Bronx, but for the love of God, you don't take out your petty East Coast disputes at a third party ballpark. At least A's fans and Sox fans do agree that YANKEES SUCK. Not to mention that LAKERS SUCK.

Heard chants of "Let's go Celtics" and "Paul Pierce MVP" while leaving the stadium. For some reason Tommy Heinsholn popped into my head, telling me just how much he likes Mr. McCarty. That and somebody actually referred to the Lakahs in exactly that accent.

Getting back to the on-field action, it's not that Pedro didn't have his best stuff tonight so much as that his defense let him down. Shea Hillenbrand, on consecutive plays. The game was tense throughout but it was the sort of tension that leads to slowness. Like when the A's made two pitching changes in the sixth inning right as the Sox were rallying to tie it. Jake, who already knew he had to leave at 9:15 to catch his basketball game, had to take off during the second change and so missed Nomar's two-out, game-tying hit.

Meanwhile, back at the Bell...
(going back to Sunday)

Cincy 0 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 - 5 10 2
Giants 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 1 1 1 - 6 11 2

W- Nen (2-0)
L- Pineda (0-3)


Box Score | Recap | Game Log

Listened to the 8th inning in my car crossing the Bay Bridge and the ninth and tenth from work, hence the pink text.

Sometimes I wonder if the Giants are doing relatively well (3-0 when I'm at PBP this year) and the A's relatively poorly to spite me for suddenly realizing I identified as a fan more with Oakland. Oh well. The A's bandwagon is awfully lonely these days but I'm not leaving it. Note: That's comebacks from a five-run deficit and a four-run deficit in the same homestand and I was at both. Almost as cool as if I'd been at the Jensen relief no-hitter bid.

Oddity: Because both Rich Aurilia and Tsuyoshi Shinjo had owies, the SF lineup began with David Bell and Shawon Dunston. Not exactly your prototypical table-setters.
Carolyn Dawn Johnson, horndog extraordinaire
Country music epiphany: Suddenly it occurred to me that So Complicated and I Don't Want You To Go are by the same singer.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Damned Helpless People
Take with a grain of salt that I'm mentally firebombing terrorists, burning out over long hours, and freaking about various software bugs. Still...

Of all the things that annoy me, of all the things that get to me, one of the things that just infuriates me far out of proportion to the actual harm caused is the set of people who can't help themselves.

In the life of any active human there are going to be a bunch of times where we have to make judgment calls, show some reason and common sense, and be willing to take the credit or blame for the results of our decisions. It's called thinking, and it's one of the few things that distinguishes us (favorably) from computers.

More to the point, it's problem solving. Then again, why bother to solve your own problems if doing so requires thought, rather than automatically depositing your problems at the doorstep of the nearest convenient person and letting them think for you?
Higher Ed: Something For Everyone
To me this is this last word.
Destroy Hamas NOW
This shit has gone far enough. Bush made it very clear in the January State of the Union address, that people who commit terror commit evil. We know who's behind the problems in the Middle East. We have the means to take them out. Enough is enough and if certain Arab leaders don't like it, fuck 'em.
Pretty good baseball human interest story
Even if you don't care much for baseball, read this Lance Berkman profile in USA Today.

An old tire was hung in the backyard for Berkman to swing at and strengthen his muscles. Each night he was required to hit off the batting tee, 50 from the left side and 50 from the right side.

The story shows (without actually coming out and saying) that he had a pushy father. Sometimes that inspires people to greatness, sometimes it breaks them.

For what it's worth, I decidedly did not have pushy parents. Supportive, yes, but I never felt pressure to do any particular thing or live up to any particular standard.

Once in a great while I start to think that I'm squandering this massive talent. It's an odd thought in that it's so egotistical and yet so self-critical, all at the same time. Usually it goes away.

USA Today does the human interest story well. It's a voice I hadn't read in awhile, and a nice change of pace from ESPN.com. ESPN presupposes a lot of familiarity from its readers but then uses that as a leaping point into this chummy kind of buddy prose that gets old after awhile. USA Today is nice and straight forward and yet even when it goes all human interest, it doesn't lapse into those maudlin, Olympics-style pieces.

As for Berkman, he's probably still not a household name yet. This is the right time for a profile like this, since he's bursting onto the scene and deserving to be well-known but not well-known yet. It's unclear what the "hook" will be for him, the caricature that lazy sports writers fall back on. We have Bonds as enigmatic and surly, Sosa as a kid at heart but a showboat, McGwire as... his is a little more complex, but something like burly and no-nonsense.
I don't think John Elway ever did this. I'm starting to miss him. But the two straight Super Bowl titles are still recent enough for me to feel satiated. Hey Pats fans, only one more to go!
An icebreaker question for a theoretical date
Which Oakland A's pitcher do you most resemble, and why?

Presupposes that the person answering the question knows the Oakland rotation well enough to have an answer. Based on office talk, apparently Barry Zito's popularity has skyrocketed in the last two years or so. I always imagine that other people imagine Tim Hudson to be the go-to guy but Zito's the one winning over the most hearts and minds.

Tonight the underrated Cory Lidle takes the hill.
Your best basketball shots are the ones nobody else sees.
Lid from a Thai food container, wastebasket about six feet away, flipped it frisbee-style and got the bank off the wall. Looked around with expectation but everyone else had heads buried in work.

All my friends are in transition. Some are leaving college, some are redefining home. Of the folks who don't blog, one is trying to make ends meet in Portland, Oregon.

I work into the wee hours, eat Indian or Thai takeout (both in the same day!) from my desk, simultaneously avoid yet stress out about this trivia thing, and read personal ads a bit too wistfully.

Hi. I'm 27. I'm not 22 or 32. (Or whatever ages y'all are these days.) Everybody's prose dates himself, though in my case the '80s references contribute to it.
Okay, that's just not fair.
Somebody at work was looking for a CD of something, maybe Quark Express? The search for it led to other people snooping through someone else's desk drawers.

You'd never guess -- you'd never guess -- who owns a Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion II CD. My head is still spinning over this revelation. Fate has been sealed, and I'm still not entirely sure whether this is good or bad.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it could be bad. It could be very very very bad. Ignore me while I babble. I've spent too much time in this building lately.

In other work-related news, Jake and I will indeed get to see Pedro pitch tonight. He's so happy about this. He may also be a Bon Jovi fan (Jake, not Pedro). Thanks to him, everyone here has seen Bon Jovi insulted by Triumph. He relishes this film just a bit too much, not the way a hater would but more the way a secret fan might.
Something weird is happening with Yahoo! Chat
(As if that's anything new.)

Just now, my home page and my fantasy baseball standings pages all thought I was on-line (read, "signed onto Yahoo! Chat"), as did (earlier this evening) my Yahoo! profile. Now the home page thinks I'm off-line but... the standings pages have me off-line... and yet my profile says I'm on-line now!

I wonder what's broken.

I really really hope I won't go home and find that my computer rebooted itself.
The hell with the previous entries, Harvard sux
Even if Snopes says this is false, it's still too smarmy for my taste. FuckedCompany was fooled the first time around.
More than the money
Lest ye get the wrong impression, a huge reason for going to a place like Harvard (or whatever school is the best fit for you) is the kind of people you'll met there. With any luck, you'll relate to a lot of them.

Harvard: Whole bunch of people who are just amazingly good at one or more things they happen to study or do. And yet, they're "perfectly normal" people at least by my definition of perfectly normal. I'm sure to someone out there they'd come across as eggheads, just like there are all sorts of people who (I hate to admit this since it'll sound so crass) end up seeming dull or dim to me even though they're not too far below average intelligence.

Alas also a whole bunch of assholes. I really really won't miss the assholes. Unfortunately, I remember some of them more vividly than the many (but quieter) skilled people.

Actually the Harvardians I think of most often these days are the friends of mine who are nearly all almost exactly four years younger than me (or maybe three since I skipped a year early in life -- or one of them may be five or six because he skipped multiple years), none of whom were there while I was there. I met them all either through quiz bowl or through a closed Usenet server or through each other. All cool people, examples of what's great about any randomly chosen Harvardian. Unclear if I'd know them as well as not a Harvard alumnus. That sentence came out incoherent.

Them and the Silicon Age people, who mostly went to public universities in Iowa but who are no less intelligent and/or geeky. I get the impression that the ISU honors dorm people bonded well with each other but were a bit isolated relative to the rest of the campus (to say nothing of Ames).
BU School of Law: Net Financial Loss
In the long run I'll probably have been poorer for going there, although

1. That's due mainly to my deciding not to be a lawyer, circumstance out of BU's control.

2. I didn't pay all that much to go there, at least compared to full tuition.
The High Price of College
For a school like Tufts, it indeed does not add up. For a school like Harvard, it probably does.

Thought about this a bit earlier today. I think in the long run I'll have come out ahead financially from going to Harvard (even accounting for tuition money paid by parents), not even from the high quality education so much as from the high esteem that potential employers give to the name. The CEO of my current company is a Harvard alum and quite outspoken about the quality of the school.

Relevance: Seems that a friend and a friend of a friend are bickering about the merits of private verus public colleges and the need to fund the latter. I do think it's a crying shame what's become of UMass. The bigger problem with higher education, however, seems to be that the current form of financial aid doesn't give colleges themselves (private or public) any kind of incentive. They can raise their rates through the roof and not be held accountable in the marketplace.

I idly wonder what would happen if Harvard suddenly stopped charging tuition. It's already such a selective place that it could hardly become moreso, but if it were free then what smart hotshot kid wouldn't apply there? Harvard would kick all the other Ivy schools' asses because it has the endowment to afford this and the other schools don't. Somebody would accuse Harvard of foul play, where the irony is that in all sorts of ways the current financial aid collusion is itself quite the anti-trust violation.

But enough of that. In reality, hmm... I'm agnostic about BU. Enough readers went (or go) there that dissing would be impolite but I will say I hope you all were on scholarship.

On the whole public/private thing, the best comparison is probably Berkeley vs. Stanford. In contrast to Massachusetts, California has a very highly-regarded (and very extensive) public university system. I have friends at both Berkeley and Stanford (mostly grad students). If I had to choose between those two places for some particular schooling, I suspect that all other things being equal I'd prefer Stanford between beauty of campus and reputation of being relatively less impersonal. But it wouldn't take very much of a price difference to for me to decide that a cheaper Berkeley was a better bet.

(Note: I honestly don't know how the prices compare. For most of my friends I imagine funding (as opposed to gross price) is what ends up making the difference.)

Monday, May 06, 2002

When you start saying out loud catty things about (absent) co-workers that you usually would have kept to yourself, is that time to go home?
Italian Leather Sofa
So I'm just minding my own business, coding, and then I hear a a familiar but random song from upstairs. Seems I work with Cake fans, which will warm the heart(s) of the Cake fan(s) who read this.

I mentioned being a fan of "Short Skirt, Long Jaket."
According to MLB.com...
Colorado Rockies
Optioned C Ben Petrick to Triple-A Colorado Springs and designated RHP Mike James for assignment.
Recalled RHP Justin Speier from his rehab assignment and reinstated him from the 15-day DL.
Purchased the contract of C Bobby Estalella from Triple-A, Colorado Springs.

Look for it in the archives...
If that fixes it...
Then I'll be relieved, though more than a little miffed to have spent so much time and have it come down to that.

If any computer people with decision-making power read this, Avoid TOPLink at all costs.

I've despised that program for over two years now, and this weekend has given me just more ammo. I'd elaborate but I suspect nobody who reads this cares. Just an ugly, overpriced monstrosity that doesn't do a damn thing you couldn't do with EJB.
What's the difference between childbirth and death?
(apparently I didn't know either)

I keep getting the two confused, as least as they relate to the deeper meaning of song lyrics. The whole point of this song is childbirth, yet the first few times I heard it I thought the singer was addressing God rather than his newborn son. Don't ask. Actually, looking at the lyrics, it must have been God talking ("I'll show you love / I'll show you everything") and then a mortal talking ("If I had just one wish / Only one demand / I hope he's not like me / I hope he understands"). Something stupid like that.

In any case, at some point I was disabused of my notions and felt really embarrassed. So guess what? It happened again. Only in this case I think I'm justified. So yeah, she's going into labor and not actually on her deathbed, but given that, what's the point of the first verse? It's an eerie parallel if the guy's dog dies and then the guy's wife dies, but as-is, I don't see where the dog fits into the picture.

Stop taking things so literally.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Lee Ann 1, Alanis 0
Ms. Womack wins the song about a woman scorned prize, hands-down.
So my story from last night is pretty inaccurate.
I feel too lazy to post a detailed correction. The gist of it is that there was this couple and I "had a feeling about" them and also (apparently unrelated to this feeling) played a really random contributing role in the events that brought them together.

Hey, thanks for reading. You know who you are. ;-)
My sunburn begins where my hairline used to begin.
Unlike some people I know I never really worried about receding before. But a look in the mirror seems to reveal that I applied sunscreen based on an outdated intuitive notion of where my skin ends and hair begins.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
I am out of order today.

So this one time Pat Matthews (longtime Penn Bowl TD) ran into a locked-door problem. He announced to a very large, very impatient crowd, telling us something like, "The tournament is screwed up. We don't know when it will be fixed." He got massive applause.

Right now I'm messed up, mainly because I can't believe
a) just how crappy a developer I actually am (it's not just me, I don't think, but it's close)
b) just how long it took other people to realize that the particularly broken things were broken
c) just how bad the timing is to try to fix this stuff

Ignore my while I'm messed up or else express sympathy, take your pick. Things will probably be fine before long.
I never leave a game early
Except when I do.

When I leave a game early, almost invariably good things happen for the home team. Like Darren Lewis and Jeff Frye hitting back-to-back homers in the ninth inning, with Frye the walkoff job. Or like this (left after the seventh because software developing sucks ass, or rather because I do).

I'm very happy in theory. Don't feel like I deserve to give it the brown font treatment though.
Then Again
If I tried hard enough, maybe I'd find a way to claim credit for even Cooch and Meg.
Spider Sense
How convenient that the movie is out, for this pop culture reference to be even more mainstream than usual.

Every now and then I get the feeling that a given person has a crush on a given other person. It doesn't happen excessively often but when it does I'm almost never wrong. Maybe to put it more cautiously, the feeling I get isn't "A has a crush on B" so much as "A would be highly receptive if B happened to make overtures."

It never works with me being A or B, plus I have to admit that sometimes the eight-ball is just too cloudy, but sometimes I'll just get that feeling. And like I said, those rare times when I do see/feel it, you can almost bank on it. Maybe what's merely intuition to me is drop-dead obvious to half the other observers, for all I know. But my sensing it can be important when, for example, the person who has the opportunity happens also to ask my opinion about the issue.

Take five years ago. A man. A woman. I thought they'd make a great match; not sure why, I just did. She asked me about it (this is badly worded because it makes it sound like I was the impetus; nope, she was) and I remember either strongly suggesting that she invite him to lunch or strongly agreeing that doing so would be a good idea. I knew what she thought about things, which involved probably some combination of hope with uncertainty/trepidation. No idea how he felt, since he's a close-to-the-vest kind of guy, so in hindsight I had no business evaluating the situation as aggressively as I evaluated it. And yet the intuition was right.

Those two particular people are happily married now, and one or both of them are among our loyal readers.

Don't get me wrong, obviously it's not something I can take credit, but it's still nice to get The Feeling, even as sort of a voyeur. Alas, the closest I get in terms of evaluating my own prospects is when I get the Anti-Feeling. That's the time when, without being able to put my finger on why, I get the vague sense that so-and-so is sending "I like you but I don't want to date you" vibes.
The Who, duplicitous
You Better You Bet starts out very similarly to Let My Love Open The Door. Very very similarly. Pete Townshend is basically ripping himself off.

One time on a trip to Penn Bowl the BU quiz team had relative strangers as chaperones, some woman and her teenaged niece in it for a free trip to Philly. They had a thing for Let My Love Open The Door. Only I heard the intro and swore it was You Better You Bet. Let's just say You Better You Bet has some off-color lyrics.

("you welcome me with open arms and open legs")

Our chaperones were confused and non-plussed when I got the two songs mixed up.
Iko!!
Boo yeah!

The Belle Stars version, of course. Before googling it I had no idea about Aaron Carter. Frankly I'm a little dumbfounded. I don't want to think about it. It's a buzzkill, and right now MY BUZZ WILL NOT BE KILLED.

In between dev'ing and blogging, I'm actually writing back to some of the people whose ads I clipped on Wednesday night. Either I'm getting more of a sense of urgency or there actually are some promising-seeming people out there.

For various reasons I didn't expect to find these ads appealing when I went back and looked at them. But yeah they kind of are. Heh.

Adrenaline?