Random links

I’ve lost track of where I originally found these links (I’ve been storing up for a rainy day*), so my apologies to whoever pointed me to these sites.

[*This is funny, because it’s been bloody hot here lately.]

A Visit to Adobe: daaaaaaaaamn do they have a nice place.

A Visit to Williams Street: looks like another fun place to work.

OK, so I’ve been doing a half-assed job of saving links for a rainy day, too.

I used to have a life, even if it was a small one

Never let it be said that this blog isn’t indicative of my life. Lately I’ve been neglecting damn near everything.

My mind has now joined my body in failing me; more than once I’ve forgotten details of what I needed to do within seconds (no more than ten) of being assigned my task. I still remember that I should remember something, though, so—as I told Brian earlier this evening—I’m only in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or else the holes in my brain from eating mad-cow-infected meat are just starting to appear.

And while this is a cop-out post no matter how you look at it (I’m really about to fall asleep), you can’t let me forget to tell you about Skyler’s trip through the Jack In The Box drive-through. It’s a story certainly worth retelling.

Time Wars

Who will be the one to restore balance to the Brent?

Alternatively: Person X [shouting at Brent]: You were the chosen one!!111oneoneeleven

Alternatively: Time [to Brent]: It’s over Brent! I have the high ground!

Er, yes. I seem to be more stressed, sleep-deprived, and caffeine-addled than usual lately. Lots of work, little time for anything else. Meesa so unhappy.

I waste my free time these days dreaming silly computer-related dreams, as if I don’t already spend too much time in front of a computer for work. The most recent of these is the desire to learn a high-level programming language: should I pick up Ruby on Rails, or Python? Ruby’s creator supposedly wanted to “put the joy back into programming,” which strikes me as a fine idea, whereas Python is more widely-accepted and is itself (apparently) relatively joyful when compared to other languages.

A long time ago I tried to learn how to program in C, but got frustrated at how much nitpicky detail was involved in the process. (Do I look like I care where that pointer is pointing?) C and its ilk were pretty much the only game in town, though (especially if you were on a Mac)—higher-level languages were just too slow. (Actually, I really learned to program in HyperCard; it was slow, but it was so much easier to get something off the ground that I couldn’t resist.) Now, in the land of machines whose performance is measured in terms of gigahertz, a tradeoff of execution speed for programming ease seems much more practical and/or reasonable.

Over the last two days, when I’m not drooling in front of the computer for some reason or another, Marin and I have been watching Paranoia Agent. We’re three-quarters of the way through, and all I can say is that it’s a bloody weird show. It looks as if it might be an examination of various societal problems that Japan has been facing, and how easy it is to put the blame for problems on something that isn’t really relevant… but I’m not sure.

Speaking of blaming irrelevant factors: it’s all my calculator’s fault. On Friday I learned that I passed my second actuarial exam (woo); today I learned that my score was a mere 8/10. Considering that this was reputedly the easiest of the exams, and that I was/am fairly confident that I knew the material, I’m officially disappointed with my performance. It obviously was the fault of my calculator, which defaults to performing calculations in algebraic mode: if you type “2 + 5 * 4 =” into the thing, it interprets your query as “2 + (5 * 4),” following order of operations, and tells you the answer is 22.

When I type numbers into a calculator, I’m sure as heck not worrying about order of operations. I mean, why should I have to shoulder any of the blame for not switching this mode off? And there’s no way it might be because I didn’t know the material as well as I think I did. Poppycock!

Stupid calculator.

I almost let my extreme fatigue keep me from attending last week’s ballroom dance practice. In retrospect, I’m glad that I didn’t succumb: because I did attend I was able to say good-bye to Connie, who (quite suddenly, courtesy of a job opportunity) moved to Arizona (!) this last weekend. I can’t say I really like saying good-bye, but in my experience that’s better than not saying it.

I was also able to humorously insult Jenny, which is certainly a fringe benefit.

Fucking terrorists

London’s mass transit is the coolest thing about that city.

Tidbits from the Fourth

The fireworks display started out the same way it does every year: with Walk Like an Egyptian playing for the crowd. I suggested Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina as a suitable replacement.

There was the obligatory ostensibly-drunk guy behind us and across the street, who would cheer loudly at the pathetic single fireworks. He would later burst into a round of America the Beautiful, which prompted me to coin a new term on the spot: Uncore. This is to be shouted when, after a performance, you wish that the person/group would take that song (or what have you) back and never perform it again.

Care, of course, must be taken to not confuse the performer(s) into thinking you were shouting encore.

One particular firework resembled a certain electron cloud formation, which prompted Brian (on the second showing of this firework) to shout out WOOOOO! P orbital! The crowd’s reaction was pretty much nonexistent, though the guy to my right (who earlier had supplied me with a sparkler that I used to ruin Brian’s night vision) wondered aloud—as a means of acknowedgement—how Brian was sure it wasn’t a D or N orbital.

After the display (which was enjoyable, as always) we joined the hordes of people to block traffic temporarily. On the trip, we passed a guy on the ground clutching his eye (the police were already there, so we kept moving), which killed the mood a bit. People: the Fourth is all about burning everything except yourself or others.

We then ran into Scott and Carmen—old high-school classmates—which lightened the mood again. Scott’s going to work for Intel, and Carmen’s suffering from (alleged) 100 degree temperatures paired with 100 percent humidity in Florida.

I am the worst blogger ever

So, paradoxically, it seems that I have the least time to write about things when I have the most things to write about. This entry might seem like a chance for me to talk about such things, but one would be mistaken if one were to believe this. Instead, I present a simple list of these topics—although, interestingly enough, I do attain my goal of talking about some things simply by listing them.

Things I hope to one day get around to talking about, but most likely never will:

Work and databases continuing to consume my life. How much I hate bugs and other glitches. Crunch time (not that I haven’t already been crunching, mind you) nearing.

Eating dinner at the Afghani restaurant in San Francisco with Craig, Brian, and Amy (!).

Tom and Jessica’s Beanery-related disaster.

Dance practice last week (yay!) being fun, but next to dead.

Wil Shipley’s presentation slides (downloadable from that blog post) from his WWDC conference talk. He gives an interesting perspective on developing for the Mac, and is kind of inspiring as well (first seen on the ArsTechnica forums).

Lumines is like crack. (No, I don’t actually have any experience with crack.) You can play it in your head even after you’ve put the game away; the first time you envision blocks falling down, superimposed over whatever you’re actually seeing, is somewhat odd. After that initial transition phase, though, you can entertain yourself for hours.

Metal Gear Acid is hard. I have yet to sneak past the first guard… which, if I think about it, is quite similar to my starts in the other games.

I no longer know how to salsa. I discovered this at tonight’s dance practice, while trying to salsa. Ouch.

Otherwise, tonight’s dance practice kicked ass. Had fun chatting with Jenny (who still calls me her genius, after a dream she had while we were in a west coast class together) and Jon, and was invited to a triple-birthday party (three birthdays in a row!) in mid-July.

Amy (the setting is still dance practice this evening) still has difficulty with my name, after one time when she (apparently) asked me for my name, and I thought she was asking for Jon’s name. Tonight she accused me of changing my name constantly. Accordingly, my name is now Paco. I’ll get around to changing all my site references to “paco//BLOG,” someday.

I see my list stopped being a list at some point there. Hrm.

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