Status update

I will present this status update in a simple picture (no guarantees it’ll render appropriately in your browser, but that just makes it even more appropriate):

{       -_-       }

        ^me     ^mouth of madness

…and the fact that I actually spent a few minutes of my life creating that should be all the proof you need to know that it’s true.

Brain purge

Good damn. Just when I start to think that dancing might be getting a bit old*, I go out and have a night like tonight. [*For most things, you reach a point where you step back and ask yourself if you’re doing what you’re doing because you actually enjoy it, or if you’re only doing it because it’s whatever you’ve always done. That was me and dance, recently. Tonight’s verdict: I enjoy it.]

Saw Mandy at the dance, which was a most welcome event. She had dropped off the face of the earth almost a year ago, without explanation; tonight she muttered something about a car accident. (Yikes.) Also got to dance with many familiar faces (Twee was back in town; Jenny—of “my genius” fame—was ready to talk smack), touch base with old friends (Robin’s sticking around after graduation! yay!), and get insulted by Jimmy (jokingly), followed by having Connor call me “hot stuff.” Jon showed off his new dance shoes, which are a tangible sign that he’s committed himself to dancing (to some degree); I get a kick out of watching him improve over time. Basically: when I wasn’t dancing—reasonably well, even—I was chatting… and when I wasn’t dancing or chatting, I could watch people I know dancing and enjoying themselves. That makes for a hell of a good time.

Tonight definitely made up for this last week.

Which brings me to: this last week. In one word: “work.” In more words: the stress of arriving to see an insurmountable amount of paper in my cubicle, followed by learning of a new bug in the programs I wrote—every single day—wasn’t too kind on me. I also continued my habit of staying up too late and getting up too early, which took me to the point (Wednesday, I think) where I started completely forgetting what I had done. I normally have a difficult time remembering what I did the previous day, but this was pure chunks of time erased from my brain. To top it off, I coded my Friday and Saturday nights away in this weakened state.

I slept in a whole lot this weekend, so I’m pretty sure I’m over that now.

I do remember, despite my reduced mental state, the names of the people who work at the Beanery on Thursday night—something which Brian and I learned this last week. (Note to self, in case I forget: Tom and Jessica.) Our Beanery experience should be much-improved (from its already enjoyable state) now that we’re on talking terms with them.

Last weekend, Brian and I drove up to Portland to visit Andy. We ate a tasty dinner at “M.C. Menamins,” and then played a game of pool at a hall that Andy sold to us as having cute waitresses. Andy ordered a beer at this place, after having two pints at McMenamins, and then decided that he should probably sober up if he wanted to drive home. (I’ve driven a stick before… but it’s been a while, and I’m not terribly comfortable in Portland traffic. Of course, it was late at that point, so the traffic wasn’t too terrible…) He therefore, rather than drinking it himself, ordered me to take a swig of this beer every time I screwed up my shot in the game of pool we were playing.

I suck at pool.

This is also notable for another reason, that only those who really know me would know: I don’t drink. I had a Hard Cranberry Lemonade a few months ago, as a poor man’s test to see if my hand tremor was actually an essential tremor (alcohol weakens that tremor, temporarily)—and that is my tremor—but I’m not a drinker.

That’s now ammended: I’m a damn light drinker.

And Hefeweizen sucks.

All aboard!

If you see this, then you’ve hit my new server. I AM A GENIUS!!!!

Er… ahem.

While I continue to unpack, you may continue to entertain yourself by… um… reading

Abandon ship!

Yesterday I had a series of breakthroughs in the implementation of AWStats on my new server… which allows me to decide, on the spur of the moment, that tonight is the night I’m going to switch this site over to my new hosting provider, TextDrive. (I have no complaints about my old provider, Total Choice Hosting, either—I just got a deal that couldn’t be beat with TextDrive.) I certainly hope I’ve made all the proper preparations, ’cause there’s no real going back. So, if you experience any oddities here, write it off to the switchover.

Tonight’s probably not the best night to send me email, either. (Hopefully I’ve jury-rigged something that’ll work in the interim, but there’s no guaranteeing that my web-fu is really any good.)

While I’m busy pulling my hair out, entertain yourselves by watching GTA: Lego City. Good stuff.

Tinfoil… butterfly…

I’ve been a busy person lately. I don’t much like it.

Well, OK, I mostly don’t like the mega-stress that overwhelmed me when I learned that a fundamental assumption I made when setting up one of my databases for work was wrong. That pretty much ruined Friday, and will continue to haunt me tomorrow. The rest of my business has been of the good, self-imposed, kind.

Wednesday night, at the weekly dance practice, I listened to a gal from last term’s lindy hop class tell a story about how she and her friends went on a road trip to see some guy from the Lord of the Rings movies make an appearance in Seattle. After driving three hours, they arrived to learn that he was making an appearance (where else?) at a Lord of the Rings convention.

Because they weren’t going to turn around after driving that far, they plunged into the odd crowd… and eventually found a flyer on the ground. The flyer featured a picture of William Shatner (at a jaunty angle) pointing at the reader with both hands, and had these immortal words printed underneath:

Set phasers to fun!

The story ends with this gal and her friends meeting the guy they wanted to see, the guy noticing their flyer—and then breaking out a perfect impression of Shatner, and scribbing a Shatner-inspired phrase on their sheet. They still have the flyer, and have adopted Those Immortal Words into their lexicon.

In the middle of the story, Jon (friend and fellow lindy hop classmate, who was listening with me) became distracted by the music being played. (“Is this a lindy hop?”) The gal telling the story was humored enough by this to describe Jon by spreading her hands apart, alternating between shaking each hand (while looking at that hand), and saying “tinfoil… butterfly… tinfoil… butterfly…”

That, my friends, is a hilarious way to describe the attention span of a distracted person.

Friday evening featured me wearing down my left thumb (a.k.a. playing Guilty Gear XX with Nate and Kevin) and watching Robot Chicken episodes. Robot Chicken is damn funny, albeit quite dark at times.

This weekend… I’ll get to later. I’ve been putting in a good amount of time trying to get this site’s new home set up, which has added additional pressure (beyond studying for my exam, work-as-usual, databases, hanging out with friends, and taking care of odds and ends) on my admittedly-weak time-management skils. One thing that’s been taking a hit for the team lately has been sleep, and that just can’t continue.

I mean, I was so tired on Friday evening that my legs started shaking. (You will recall that I traditionally possess a hand tremor.) Fortunately, I did get to sleep in some on Saturday, and that righted itself.

No way to live

I was quite happy to load Apple’s web page today and see that Tiger has been given a release date. I showed unusual restraint (…I was running late to a meeting I had to attend…) by putting my purchase off until this evening.

Other than that, I Am Tired. In Soul Calibur terminology, you would say that my soul no longer burns. I am reminded of what I told Jon at the dance last Saturday, as rationale for why he should try a viennese waltz without knowing how to viennese waltz: he could truly shine, for one brief moment in time. (It would actually be closer to going out in a blaze… though I didn’t elaborate.)

I was channeling Tomo’s (from Azumanga Daioh) logic about long-distance races in that argument: declare “it’s the final stretch!” from the starting line—and then sprint. You won’t win, but (she reasons) at least you’ll be in the lead for a little while.

Now I channel Chiyo-chan, after she decided to emulate Tomo and made a mad dash towards the (still quite far-away) finish line: “that’s no way to live!”

I tried playing Tomo in getting these work databases done quickly (the idea: free myself from distractions to better study for this upcoming actuarial exam). Now I suffer as Chiyo-chan did.

Odd prank

Someone left two (!) messages on my work phone late Friday evening. The first was about 40 seconds long; the second about 50 seconds.

The content of the messages? Pure, unadulterated, swearing. An extremely angry woman cussing her boyfriend (or husband) out something fierce. The idea of the first message was the she was going to get her f-bomb-ing money back one way or another; the second was berating the guy for lying about the gal being pretty, or something.

Now, I might have pissed gals off here and there. Regardless: my biggest crime, as far as I am aware, has been that of inaction.

At the end of the day Eric also mentioned getting a message from an angry gal late Friday. Not everyone got one, though, so it’s not as if “she” just ran through every extension.

Anyway, I figure it must be a prank. Our phone system answers with a nice corporate message after-hours, and our phones have customized messages that tell the caller our name. And even if her (in)significant other is named Brent, then he certainly isn’t also named Eric.

If it wasn’t a prank… um… somebody was pretty damn drunk fairly early on Friday night.

Catching up

Recovering from my concerted effort on this database project for work has been a slow process, at best. I certainly haven’t helped, as I keep choosing to go dance or fiddle around with things until late into the evening—further denying myself the sleep my body so desperately craves.

The database is the (initial) implementation of an idea I presented to my superiors a month ago, under a program that rewards money-saving ideas with cash-money. I’ve taken to calling this bonus my PSP money, even though I’ll be waiting (at least) until the second revision of the PSP arrives—hopefully with fewer dead pixels—before plunking my cash down.

Let’s see… things I’ve neglected to mention…

A week ago Sunday I finally did beat Metal Gear Solid 2, under Brian’s (and, to a lesser degree, Albert’s and Evrim’s) watchful eye. The plot certainly does go wacky… and I don’t think that was just because I was too slow to keep up with it. The crazy plot is only one of the reasons I play the Metal Gear Solid series, so I’ll definitely be all over the third game once it price-drops. (I can afford to play my games on the cheap these days, since I don’t play that much.)

April Fool’s Day was comedy gold in my office, as the boss was out for the day. Neat freaks got crumbs on their desk; scissors were encased in Jell-o; coworkers would prank call other coworkers and pretend to be unhappy patients; Eric told a whopper about getting arrested the night before for urinating on a stop sign, and then turned around and told another fib about how he only plays April Fool’s jokes on older women, because at a previous job he had gotten punched by a younger gal for something he pulled.

In west coast swing II, Marco showed us how to lead double- or triple-spins off of a sugar tuck (a dubious battle for me, as I’ve never been that strong at leading multiple spins) and then attempted to get us to execute our whips cleanly. While trying to remember to position our hand correctly (your index finger should be a bit forward, for a stronger connection), keep our shoulders from slacking (hard to lead through your arm if your shoulder gives before any real pressure is communicated), and keep the “pulse” of the music (even beats in swing music are generally faster beats, and your steps should reflect that). I don’t doubt that it will eventually all click, but for right now trying to remember all of that is a bit more than my brain can really do.

Last night was the first dance of the term. The theme? Disco. My attire? The same as always. (No, my normal dance attire is not disco-themed.) It was a fun dance—though that might also be related to the fact that I seem to know a good number of the dancers—and ran on longer than it was scheduled to. I, as always, arrived an hour after the dance started. Jay saw me walk in, and asked if I thought I was arriving fashionably late; I clarified that I was simply arriving late.

Fashion and I have never really gotten along, anyway.

Lastly, I’ve wasted far too much time with the following:

Slow Beef’s Strategy Guide to Metal Gear 2: (Note the lack of “Solid” in that name.) Less a strategy, and more a runthrough of the game for those (such as myself) who will never play the game but are curious about the NES-quality plot. (Found via Insert Credit.) Ever wonder about Zanzibar Land or Gray Fox? It’s all here.

Sega Fantasy VI: Amazingly/scarily in-depth recreation of the FFIII ending, rewritten with game consoles as characters. (Found via Wat’s blog, via Dom’s rant at MegaTokyo.)

Programming postmortem

Well, I think my first round with Access programming is now over. (If I jinx myself by saying that, I’m going to cry.) I’m actually rather proud of what I was able to create: my databases do a good bit of work with a few clicks of the mouse. Earlier prototypes required the user to follow a long list of menial actions, and exposed the dark underbelly of the databases; my latest (and hopefully final) versions pretty much take care of themselves, and have a nice candy coating that obscures all the nastiness inside.

I’m also impressed by Microsoft Office’s VBA scriptability: while the implementation of the language is frustratingly different across the applications, the things you can get done by scripting Word, Excel, and Access are pretty darn amazing.

While I’ve put the initial phase of this project behind me (yes, I have more days of fiddling with Access in my future), the sleep deprivation that has been associated with my work is most definitely still with me. (I’ve been coding at home, after working during the day… which can be rather brutal.) I overcame my desire to sleep in order to attend the Wednesday Night (Dance) Practice—where Jenny still calls me her genius—but my ability to think was severely limited.

Why I decided to stay up afterwards to continue preparations to move this site to its final resting host (more on that when it’s closer to happening) is beyond me.

Oh, right. Severely limited.


I live! It seems that my (work) project became inflamed over the last weekend. I think I’ve gotten over the worst of it, but doing so kept me away from recreational activities that I enjoy—such as posting to this blog.

More this evening, I hope.


Metal Gear Solid is a series that pulls no punches: death, fucked-up family relations, conspiracy theories, child-fighters, bisexuality, people having diarrhea while they’re supposed to be on guard duty, others urinating off of tall buildings, people pissing themselves in fear, your character wandering around buck naked… damn.

I heard the rabbit hole goes pretty deep in the second game—and I heard right. I’m looking forward to seeing exactly where it all ends up, ’cause I’m really at a loss right now.

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