Friday, July 26, 2002

Now I sort of see why people like cheap celebrity gossip...
Angelina and Billy Bob here.
Witness(?) to History
I was listening to the game from which this incident came. But I was also coding so I didn't really parse the radio play-by-play as anything other than a typical pitching change. Actually not even that: Until Kubi asked me what the delay was (he was following that game on GameCast, given Houston's status as team chasing St. Louis), I hadn't even comprehended that the commercial or two they ran signified a pitching change.

I want to have something intelligent to say here but don't. It's a little surprising there aren't more mound temper tantrums.
Irony, of the Black Fly In My Chardonnay Variety
We were supposed to have a 3:00 meeting. It's been pushed back indefinitely (supposedly to 3:30 but 3:30 has come and gone).

One of my colleagues just now bailed. I thought when I saw him leaving that the meeting was finally about to happen but no, he's taking off for the weekend. I waved to him and went back to reading this article.

UPDATE: Two quasi-useful followups.

1. Specific to my situation: I like the team here (and not just out of paranoia over whoever might read this). People know their stuff. In practice it's true that a ton of relevant features happen to have code by me but there are various and sundry reasons for that.

2. The extreme programming zealots on the Slashdot thread need to chill. My take on the original post was a situation where maybe 2-3 days had passed. If your team is so bad that you can't trust them to spend 2-3 days wisely then the problem is personnel rather than management.

No idea whether the original poster is an "everyone else's code sucks" engineering snob. I'd like to hope I'm not. I'm definitely more gentle than my roommate/colleague. :-)
Pompous Ass?
Or is this guy just your typical professor cum op ed columnist cum Enron consultant?

My policy disagreements with him belong elsewhere but I just have to say, does there exist anyone making public arguments and doing so more rudely?

(From my on-line political arguments I know from rudeness. I've been accused of it enough times, and been inexusably rude enough times, that I know a bitch when I see one.)

Maybe if I read Rhinoceros I'd have a better feel for the quality of this ad hominem attack. As it is, all I can really do is smirk at how widely mocked that post has been elsewhere. (Andrew Sullivan, Instapundit, et al.)

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Running at 78 RPM Today
Trying to do too many things at once. My sense of the speed of time passing today is warped relative to time's actual passage. I'm in a hurry and desperate to do about 12 things at once. You know where this leads: Driving like a maniac, snapping at people left and right. God only knows how rude I've been today. Maybe if people don't take it personally it's entertaining, at least I hope something like that holds.
Stupid Ivy Tricks
I feel like I should be all smug about this one but I can't decide why.
The Maudlin Feature Article Drinking Game
Read any long magazine profile of people or events of the recent past (say, this ESPN Magazine writeup of Jayson Williams). Drink every time the writer includes a detail that he couldn't possibly have known without being there.

(Example: Gus Christofi, 55, is behind the wheel of the van hired, via a 10:30 p.m. call, to haul the extra bodies. He's an ex-con who's kicked drugs and turned his life around. As they all load in, Christofi feels lucky in his own way.)

"Feels lucky in his own way"?!?

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Today I almost certainly set a personal record for Instant Messenger usage.
If I talked to you on-line today then you can feel special for doing your part. There's also a surprisingly good chance that you're female. (Well, no. If you talked to me on-line today and you're reading this now then you're probably not.)

This one lady I know is back from her trip. That chat had a surprising duration-to-content ratio, although in fairness a lot of the duration was me being busy coding or her being busy... being a woman on-line (and therefore probably getting unwanted chat requests from total strangers).

My more recent acquaintance seems quite similar to me in both outspokenness and low tolerance for whining.

Completely unrelated to them or to messenging, I had a spontaneous lunch trip with my co-worker. This involved some driving around Berkeley; she had inadvertently said Chipotle when she meant Picante, and realized this only as I started to pull into the Chipotle parking lot. A sushi restaurant caught our short attention spans just long enough for me to get the daily special there but the menu was disappointing enough to push her back into the Picante column. Then when she saw my roommate walking back from Picante, I slowed down to give him a ride -- and inadvertently spilled my daily special onto the floorboard. Don't tell anyone just how much of it I scooped up and salvaged.

It was a banner day for not only personal interactions (this weblog aside) but also both inspired bug fixes and potentially sketchy design decisions. I suppose the decisions haven't come yet. There's a lot at stake regarding the next thing I work on: Risks are high for either catastrophically bad performance (slow pageloads, mainly) or disastrous user interface. I've already warned both the VP of Product (who seems also to be unofficial acting/interim VP of Engineering) and the product team lead that I plan to be very picky and somewhat argumentative about what the correct solutions are for this feature. They reacted unexpectedly happily. My requirements doc-writing peer says he's sometimes accused of arguing for the sake of arguing.

It will be a banner day for trivia production as soon as I get off this d*mned weblog.

With all the Internet-streamed day games it was a banner day for listening to baseball games and thinking/reading about baseball. Aside from that it was not a banner day for my slacker-browsing web sites (in general the ones linked from my geocities page) but there's always time to catch up. They're basically a reserve/slush of on-line stimulant.

Last but not least, today I found out someone was under the impression that I'm Jewish. I'd never gotten that before. Catholic comes up astonishingly often but not Jewish. It's unclear where this came from. Maybe my brown/black, seemingly Eastern European facial features? Theoretically my outspokenness about the Middle East, except that I pointedly avoid political discussions at work. (Most people there are identifiably far enough to my left that we all have better things to worry about.) Then again, on that very subject there may be a rant soon. It requires me to stay angry enough to find it worthwhile but not so angry that it ruins my ability to be coherent.
With Authoritay!
There's a fundamental difference between me and my two longest-known roommates: They lecture.

One is currently watching The West Wing with his dad, and explaining little subtleties of running plot lines. His dad is a professor, and yet he's the one who sounds as though he's giving extemporaneous remarks. I'm probably reading way too much into this, since it may just be his natural inflection.

The other finally did get hired by my company this week. I overheard one of our product guys call him "the Dean," since he apparently gave a lecture on good design (at least as it applies to one of our product's most problematic, maintenance-heavy, performance-challenged features) his first morning back on the job.

I don't lecture, at least I don't think I do. To clarify: In print I lecture even when I don't think I'm doing so. It comes out that way, time after time. In person I've developed the questioning/reassuring, stereotypically feminine mannerisms of conversational deference. This is may be an affectation going way way back: If I already had to talk like a girl, why not speak like one?
Pictures
(by the way I feel better today)

So now I have all these pictures of you. Eh, rather, I have all these pictures that a new friend sent me. I had the same first thought when I saw all of them, almost an inside reference. No, I'm not going to post them here (privacy!) but if you write to me then I'll send them to you and also tell you whether I expect you to draw the same connection I drew.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Sickness
Well, that's sure a good follow-up to the apathy/avoidance entry. Right after writing that, I spent a good hour to ninety minutes trying and failing to either faciliate sleep or facilitate throwing up. Then again, other than recurring nausea, my symptoms today are far more mental than physical. I really have no excuse not to be at work other than that, for reasons I can't put into words, there's just no way I was going to be able to go today.

Paradox: I have sick time that I didn't think I had. If this sick time didn't exist, would I have forced myself to "get over it" and come in at noon and felt like a total slacker (as opposed to feeling like even more of a total slacker)?

Today I've attempted to sleep, attempted to do laundry, attempted to write quiz-bowl questions, and not succeeded very well at any of those. Actually I succeeded really well at sleep until I'd about had my fill of it. And I successfully moved my car from the block that has Wednesday morning street cleaning to the block that just had Tuesday afternoon cleaning.

And, in a failed attempt to find useful quiz-bowl resources, I stumbled across this candid photo of me with a mouthful of sushi.

Despite almost certainly not needing more sleep, I'm going to take a nap now.

Anyone reading this feel free to tell me I'm crazy, tell me I'm not crazy, and/or recommend good mental health resources in/around San Francisco.

Tomorrow I plan to act as though today never happened.
Apathy? Avoidance?
I guess my grand scheme for Baseball Challenge didn't last long. Haven't touched the thing in nearly a week. Ditto my Yahoo! teams, which is bad given that I rely on a pitching rotation, where daily transactions mean just-in-time activation for your starters.

Sometimes I just stop doing things. Like the hunt for a new place to live. Or I'll go two weeks without answering my mail. Bear with me.
Giants 5, Cardinals 3
Don't get me wrong, it was fun, but 3 hours and 55 minutes is an awfully long time to wait to learn that the crippled guy doesn't always miraculously win the game.

Things I bitterly object to from the recap:
1. ESPN's subheadline, Bonds' K ends rally. Here they define "rally" to include the case where one guy reaches base, and choose to rip on the guy whose hammy is hurt bad enough that he probably belongs on the disabled list.

2. Since Bonds and Kent switched places in the batting order, with Kent batting third and Bonds batting fourth, Kent has hit .456 in 21 games. An odd choice of note for a game in which neither of them started (though both pinch-hit).

Coincidentally I was supposed to call someone at 10:30. I figured that time would be plausible given that no Giants game ever lasts three hours, much less four.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Caray
There are some really good players here but they're wearing minor league uniforms, playing before minor league crowds on a minor league quality field. This whole place is a mess.
--Skip, on the Florida Marlins

He's definitely turning into his dad. Too bad his son isn't.
The mote in thy brother's eye
Actual Slashdot post (note the subject line):

Start with Humility
If you go into this with the complete understanding that there are likely people that will eventually have a better grasp of your project (and maybe even code) than you will you'll probably not fret so much.

Of course, this is assuming your project will be interesting enough to attract smart people.


Words of (somewhat) wisdom but oh, the delivery. Can't you just see this poster either completely failing to see why nobody likes him or seeing it and not caring?
This list is completely incoherent
Maybe I'm too easily offended -- maybe that's the point of the "shocking" list -- but I really can't think of a metric that slaps the death of Kile into the nook between Bill Buckner's legs and Disco Demolition Night.

It's not tasteless so much as inane.
Weblog update e-mail alerts
You know those sites with fantastic content that doesn't get updated very much? (Sort of the opposite of this one.) If I could set up some background process that checked a whole bunch of weblogs now and then and alerted me for new posts, I could blogsurf far more efficiently.

I also need to update the links on both the left menu here and my front Geocities page. The links don't serve as much purpose as they used to. Things change too often in terms of people with good content and people on extended vacations.
Reich Reform Express
Hey Boston people, is it really true that Robert Reich tried to use an old VW as a campign bus but had it busted for expired inspection sticker? That's the rumor I hear.

This isn't politics so much as disbelief that a major-party candidate for statewide office could be so messed-up.
"Believe"
Overheard on a Phillies radio promo:

I'm Brandon Duckworth and I'm just one more reason to believe.

See, the theme of the ad campaign is spend a day with people you can believe in. Unfortunately, I'm an agnostic: It's unclear to me whether Scott Rolen really exists.
You'd think he wouldn't need the money...
There's a commercial for Powerball (in the state of PA) with ad jingle written & performed by Ray Charles, at least as heard on webcasts of the Phillies' radio feed.

Yep, Cubs are at home again. I always listen to the visiting team's feed of Cubs' day games, partly for variety.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Tom Goodwin?!?
(here and here, both filling in for Barry Bonds)
Blogwise, I'm gonna stay here for awhile
The thing about the 100K quota: I have no business hitting that. Those trivia questions won't write themselves.
Fake
Saw Ocean's Eleven tonight (the new one). It's a worth the time spent watching, if you don't overanalyze it.

I'm less entertained by all-star casts than other people are, partly because I don't always recognize everyone. Also, this is one of those movies where you're intrigued (at least I am) precisely because there's really nobody to identify with. Everyone's moral code was completely foreign. Almost like 54.

Don't even try to think about what the movie says about Tess Ocean's taste in men.

There are some entertaining people around, which is great as long as you remember not to trust them. The same people are also pretty self-indulgent.