Nearing fruition

My coworkers don’t know it yet, but the unification of information project has already seen stunning success. Soon people will refer to me as Mr. Carpenter, and those especially close will call me Joker.

Damn it’s been a long year. I’ll be glad when I finally have something to show for all my effort—even though that just means that people will ask even more of me. (*sob*) This is the last time I ever have a bright idea.

Extreme Bad Luck

That title just about sums me up (while simultaneously implying that I’ve read a bit of the Kodansha Bilingual version of the Love Hina manga… but that’s neither here nor there). Work is going to put the big pain on me in the next two weeks, which will allow me lots of time to prepare for going to Japan. Tomorrow I implement the database I’ve been working on for ages (slight exaggeration), and so tomorrow I figure out how many bugs I’ve yet to squash. I’m betting that will be a non-zero number.

Tomorrow is also the last day of work for the cute gal at Subway. *sob* Cute gal, I hardly knew ye.

I’m already tired and stressed and grumpy, so by the end of this all I should be some sort of demon of vengeance. The first target of my rage will be Sony, as it seems my camcorder will no longer start up without use of the “reset” button—and it’s not as if I’ve been using the heck out of it.

Damn you, Sony!


Well, it’s officially two and a half weeks after my artificial, self-imposed deadline for finishing my programming project. If this project were a progress bar, it would now stand at about 95% completion; once it reaches 100%, it’ll then change into an indeterminate progress bar and cycle for a while longer. If this project were a process on a computer, it would be the one using 97% of system resources without any terribly good reason.

Fortunately for me, my office won’t have everything it needs to implement this program until next Monday; busting my hump over the last two weeks means that meeting the actual deadline is physically possible.

I do take breaks from programming—which is to say I’ll poke around on the web every once in a while (off the clock, of course). One of the blogs I’ve discovered more recently is the DrunkenBlog, which tends to cover Mac-related topics in between talk of alcoholic beverages. Specifically, drunkenbatman recently posted an article about the lack of quality coming out of Apple—especially with respect to Mac OS X. I’m not sure what I can add, other than that I agree with him.


It’s apparently not bad enough that I have a deadline to meet—that deadline had to be pushed back, allowing for an extra week of torture on my end. (Nothing annoys a procrastinator more than a deadline that moves after (s)he has started working on whatever is due.) Consequently, this week is now crunch week. I’m optimistic that I’ll actually have a finished (defined as “working without making a total mess of itself”*) product by the end of this week.

[*Power tip: keep expectations low, for the win.]

In typical Brent fashion, I’m also sick during this deadline. I know exactly who to blame, too: Eric wasn’t doing so well on the evening we went to Nick’s wedding. I missed the second wedding I was to attend (gah), and ultimately wound up sleeping the entire weekend.

One of the few sources of entertainment I had last week was from Marin poking around and reading funny slogans to me as I coded away. The best one, by far: oh my gods, it’s a Marin!


The impending Japan Trip managed to be enough to get me off my duff and order an image-stabilizing camera. I’m now the very happy owner of a Canon Powershot S2 IS.

As I’ve mentioned before (albeit long ago), I have an intention tremor—my hands shake whenever I try to do something with them. It’s far from debilitating, but the gals I dance with frequently ask if I’m nervous (I’m not; I’ve been dancing long enough), and I can get mighty frustrated when I need to do reasonably precise work with my hands. Changing a calculator battery causes me a bit more consternation than most.

This tremor also means that the quality of any picture I take is a crapshoot. I never bothered with film-based photography—that would be like me lighting twenties for the sake of watching them burn—but I decided to take the plunge once digital photography emerged. After all, you can just delete the picture if it doesn’t turn out, right?

I did delete pictures. Lots of them. I’d occasionally get something that was usable (or, if I was lucky, downright nice), but most of my shots turned out mediocre: when my composition didn’t stink, my focus did. After a while, that gets kind of depressing.

When we visited Craig in San Francisco, I basically gave Brian my camera for the entire trip. It was a good move on my part; we got some nice pictures out of the deal.

Flash forward to now.

These pictures aren’t anything special—but they’re a frickin’ miracle to me. These were all taken at 12x zoom. Taken by me, none the less, without any real effort to keep my hands still. (The second image is actually a closer look at the text on the controller cord in the first image; they’re from the same picture.) The camera isn’t infallible—I can still screw up a shot, image stabilization or not—but this is the first time I’ve had significantly more usable shots than not. (In fairness, the uglier ones were mostly taken while ignoring low light/bad focus/etc. messages from the camera.)

I now grin like a loon every time I take a picture. It’s sweet.


There are definite perks to working from home. The main one I’ve exploited, so far, is the ability to listen to The Beat Of The Bay (via internet streaming) while toiling away in front of code that refuses to work. I do like myself a strong backbeat.

The downside—if you’ve outfitted your home properly—is that there are a whole lotta distractions ready to entice you away from putting time on the clock. (Actually, I’m one-track-mindeded enough to not have difficulty focusing on work once I dig in; it’s that whole “getting started” thing that I’m not so hot at.)


Summer is the best time ever to watch character-driven, slice of life anime. Two summers ago (or thereabouts) I enjoyed Kimagure Orange Road; this summer the treat is You’re Under Arrest. (The catch to this is that I only have the first twelve episodes of YUA.) Sooner or later I’ll get around to watching Patlabor and Maison Ikkoku, which are two other shows I’d lump into this group.

There’s something about these shows: each episode seems to take an eternity to end (despite being thirty minutes each), yet it’s not that the time is dragging or unenjoyable… it’s just slow. They also have a sort of goodhearted nature about them—something that you wouldn’t necessarily know you were missing until you found it again. They’ll put a quiet smile on your face, so long as you don’t expect action action action.

The first four episodes of You’re Under Arrest were originally OVA episodes, and played the lives of two female traffic cops rather straight; the TV series that followed/engulfed those episodes elected to take a much stronger comedy bent. As a result we were introduced to a cross-dressing police officer, the crazy “super-hero” Strike Man, and a whole host of other, borderline-idiotic-yet-somehow-hilarious characters and/or plots. The worst crime committed has been theft, and the thieves are almost always stopped by unfortunate run-ins with other crazy (non-police) characters (e.g. the aforementioned Strike Man).

The episodes Marin and I watched this evening fell in stark contrast to the news we learned afterwards: police have charged a man (who’s currently awaiting trial in New Mexico) with rape and aggravated murder in the Brooke Wilberger case. Though—assuming he’s guilty—that’s pretty much the best outcome we could hope for after all this time… it’s still depressing.

Japan Ho!

It’s settled. There’s now money on the table, so I can say with certainty that Brian, Andy, and I will be heading to Japan in September. We know just enough Japanese to get ourselves into horrible, horrible trouble.

All the anime I’ve watched has prepared me to talk like a drunk, mentally disabled, sixteen-year-old Japanese schoolgirl. Andy’s planning to go around saying HAIIIIIIIIIIIII all the time. Brian’s planning on ditching us ASAP.

Of course, if I’m going to be out of the country for a few weeks next month, that means that the mega-project I’m working on for my office needs to be up and running (and debugged) before I leave. And that means that I’m going to be busting my chops from now until that program is finished. “Real developers ship,” they say. I’m presently in the middle of a giant triage process, trying to determine what absolutely must get done, and what we can deal without if I don’t have enough time to get around to it.

And then there’s the little matter of the third actuarial exam. This one is actually supposed to be difficult, and it also costs a non-trivial amount of money to take. Going into it without being prepared would be expensive folly—and I’ve barely cracked the first of its multiple required readings.

I am not wanting for tunes, however, now that I’ve been reacquainted with The Beat of the Bay. I first heard San Francisco’s dance remix station while visiting Craig, and I couldn’t get enough of it then—and I can’t get enough of it now. Go go phat beats!

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