Friday, December 30, 2011

what kind of day was it?

i woke up feeling like i'd slept enough. hooray!

i left my cds for the anime afternoon behind. bummer.

my rollerblades are utter shite, i made it two blocks before it was too painful to continue. F***-BUGGER.

of the three buses that end in 71, i picked the one that goes the wrong way. F***!

late for class. swak.

it was an awesome class wherein we learned about the origins of the minotaur and their relation to a midsummer night's dream. sweet!

not a bad lunch, and time to space out a bit. neat!

having a fellow student point out the lack of hygiene as i finished my meal... *sigh*.

more sonnets, less sanity. nice.

finding the student union's portable speaker available. excellent!

getting serious weight-lifting exercise carrying it around. cool.

an orientation class on mythology, interesting points made in a monotone. meh.

good, crazy anime for an hour and a half. sogoi!

skipping the evening lecture to go to work instead of joining the others for a pre-new year's bash. hooray :/

tons of work and not enough time. *grumble*

mother freaking out because the television interface is in hebrew and she thought she'd buggered something up. aaaargh!

forgetting that pg is staying in a different city tonight. whoops...

long arguments online about fundamentalism and extremism and whether or not it's okay. timesuck. (it's not okay, but it's understandable)

good dinner and rum and liquorice and chocolate in front of the original fantasia. pleasant.

getting ready for bed by sitting in front of the pc. what the hell am i doing?!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

thank you, ben franklin

late to bed and early to rise, makes a man slightly psychotic and a bit irritable. first class was tough, but ended with a great telling of a story about the creation of memory. i was on my way from that to the old office, in good spirits, when i got a phone call from the new office.

the upgrade i performed hadn't been functioning at all. i had to go back.

fortunately it wasn't too tough to sort out, but i wasn't feeling particularly positive about having caused them a day's loss of data. the cto shrugged, i shrugged, and i was on my way out when the ceo made my day: i suspect he reads good management articles. he took me quietly aside and informed me that they're incredibly pleased with me and my work.

you know what? that made my day.

i had a great breakfast for lunch next door with pg and my mum, and then we went together to campus. aside from a bit of touring before class, i sat down to get some of the reading done and was interrupted by pg's brother and his girlfriend for a pleasant chat until i had to run. the class was sometimes interesting, but mostly i just played sudoku between points of "oh, cool".

the event that wordsworth and co-conspirator organized was surprisingly good. most of the participants were interesting, all the items were short, and it was all done with a sense of humour and i think that it was remarkably successful overall.

my mum and i headed back home to pick up pg and then meet with some cousins for a very pleasant dinner nearby; pg has made cookies and i've now given up on the readings (perhaps i'll manage some more before class).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

yellzors

whoa. another 4am special - and it still wasn't working right. when i took it to scr, *boy* was i surprised to discover that what wasn't working was something i'd written in my first couple of days on the project, and that it shouldn't have been working at all.

eh??

another early morning, this time punctuated by an interesting chat with pg's brother and her sister before french class. the class was a bit long. i had a pleasant lunch with pg and a pointless meeting with a professor about a non-existent web page before running off to work.

it took me about four hours to get it all working, by which stage i was completely exhausted and beyond ready to go home and get some rest before rollerblading. i was most unimpressed to discover that there was a report the upgraded system needed to produce - and urgently - and having the client sit behind me sounding pushy did not make me a happy camper.

i urgently dragged myself out of there an hour and a half later after an unpleasant battle with microsoft's excel package. it was all working but i wasn't at all satisfied.

a drink at home made it better, as did a great meal with pg and my mum, and we decided to skip the exercise in lieu of a movie and munchies. the movie was eyes wide open, which was a bit more artsy than it needed to be but it definitely fueled thought. unfortunately, the argument i had afterwards with pg regarding the bible belt overheated.

---

i have a problem - i don't realize that i'm raising my voice unless someone tells me: "you're shouting". by which stage, damage is usually done regardless of my best intentions to the contrary. if i was normal, i probably would have known to give it up but if i was on the receiving end of that response i would be offended that i didn't care enough to... well, shit. the only expression i can think of it "to close the corners" because it's the hebrew version of what i want to say... i would be offended that i didn't care enough to tie up the important loose ends. the back and forth, some tense and unpleasant, some calm and amusing, eventually ended in a reasonable and reasonably desirable atmosphere.

i wish my mother hadn't had to suffer through the stages from the side...

---

vogonizing is mine. i render it unto you.

success? failure? character reports? that's inspired. i think it's an awesome idea, even with the potential pitfalls.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

just another regular day

getting to bed after 4am... waking up around 9am... two classes, a quick sandwich and then arriving at work for integration...

[the integration went smoothly, i'm well pleased. also, the boss intimated that i can disregard the vicious email from yesterday]

... bussing to dinner, delicious and extremely busy post-wedding get-together, then bussing back with pg and my mum... now about to resume working...

Monday, December 26, 2011

not the best of plans

i don't think there's a way for me to post this quickly; i have to get to bed because i have to be up soon and i've only just managed to get the barest minimum of functionality out of my code.

and i just got back from her wedding, having had a fair amount to drink.

---

saturday:

i *did* go back for a nap, and woke up in the evening *just* in time for us to all have to scramble to get to modi'in to celebrate my cousin's kid's engagement. it was dark, rainy, and *boy* were we glad that pg came with us (she doesn't like surprises) because i began to feel faint on the highway.

joke of the evening: there's no pre-nup when one becomes a common law spouse :P

the evening was pleasant, although it took us more than 40 minutes to say goodbye and i was still feeling woozy. then pg pinched me when i responded to something in a way that might drag the goodbye out even more, which led to some embarrassment.

the storm: not even a KRAA-AAACK before the BOOM, and the BOOM was right nearby. we jumped out of our skins, my mother told us later she'd done the same, and the poor dog was terrified as usual - only the dog can't be allowed to jump up on the bed (bad leg), so i had to lock her in her cage and we felt really bad for her. oh, well. it'll be even tougher with kids one day...

the 7am parking trauma will not be discussed.

i slept well, and i slept late. it was tough to get up, but i knew i had to get the work done. a few hours later i was faced with a virtual wall - thank you, transact sql, for sending error codes that aren't listed anywhere. the worst bit was that the code seemed to be working, but was sending an error code in addition to the correct output. i spent hours trying to figure it out, and had to let go in order to get to the wedding.

it was only now, a handful of minutes ago, that i figured out the issue. debugging sql is a right bitch, and i've now wasted far too much time on getting to a point only halfway towards where i needed to be by today. the pressure was only increased when the client team sent an email to all of the bosses complaining that the application i've written is utterly useless.

brilliant. i haven't even been paid yet :(

at least the wedding was great. it was actually very emotional, it was beautiful and tasteful and there was too much food. i had a great evening, and in a few hours i'm going to sorely regret having neglected my studies this weekend...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

too much, or not enough

5am waking to wait for an hour with busy children of disinterested parents and arsim; the closest one can stand is a long way from the gate, enough to blur my eyesight and cause potential embarrassments.

shopping and decaf coffee, then bed: the first call was from a friend of mother's, which i can understand. the second, from a cousin, which i can understand. the asshole repeatedly honking outside the window? that i couldn't understand, and i was so infuriated by its waking me up that i couldn't get back to bed.

bits of work, then goocha for brunch. awesome spicy crab and tasty tentacly goodness.

bits of work, then a perfect half hour sleep followed by a perfectly evil requirement to get up from it.

both my mother and my girlfriend had a go at me about my not owning enough formal clothing. with my attitude towards materialism and social niceties... why the heck should i?!

dinner was at מקום בלב (makom balev) in ra'anana. that place deserves the 5/5 food rating it received on google maps. there were nice speeches, there was a great vibe, and aside from an awful incident where i forgot two of my cousins' names, it was as usual great to spend time with everyone.

i feel greatly advantaged, comparing all of my interestingly (both psychologically and professionally) successful cousins on my mother's side of the family to all those on the other side, who are either unsuccessful or only financially so. also to all my "friends" (the use of quotation marks implies that i'm beginning to view them as "not so much", like ze germans), who are all considerably less psychologically developed and are wasting their lives on the pursuit of money.

too much good food, or not enough?

there was much discussion regarding big weddings and end-of-the-road bravery: the groom's father has just had his leg amputated and is at the end of his road, yet was nothing less than charming and joyful - and in some cases, amusingly and cheerfully cynical.

the fifth element's OST played us home - eric serra is an absolute genius. this is not the first time i've said it, and it certainly won't be the last.

finally! to bed! and, of course, the complete inability to sleep. pizza dreams? it was too hot, or too cold, my sore legs and feet causing my body to curl and spasm and knock pg about... it was only around 6am that i was finally "rested" enough (define irony) to get out of bed and stretch out, and the short sleep that i got after that was, well, too short.

hooray for early mornings! :/
after doing a bit of cool shopping (buying classical comics off book depository - kick ass!) i got my mother and myself through to the synagogue in time for me to be called up to hold up the torah (no sweat! except that i *was* a bit nervous)... the whiskey breakfast afterwards was nice, and the coffee next door, and the coffee after that, and then it was time to hunt down fuel stations in tel aviv before searching for parking.

we found the parking fairly easily - nice!

i feel like a need a good, long sleep. gonna go do that now, before returning for a night's hard labour...

---

on an entirely unrelated note, an amusing (and somewhat accurate) breakdown of the lsd experience caught my attention on cracked.com, so i thought i'd share it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

not just another weekend

sleep did help a bit, but i didn't really leave myself much time for more reading.
first class - great.
second class - made my head spin.
orientation class - way more people, i made myself useful and co-conspirator drove me nuts with her stupidity.
anime afternoon one - two episodes of ergo proxy and gundam 00. awesome.
work (old job) - productive. almost interesting.
work (new job, at home) - productive. but i gotta run across to pg's mom's place (temp home) now because i need sleep before waking up in 4.5 hours to go pick up my mother from the airport.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

real art

i can't concentrate of astrophil and stella; the words aren't sinking in, and it's deep stuff.

it doesn't help that i got caught up ogling the best of street art utopia 2011. it's all amazing - but this one in particular blows me away.

maybe if i sleep a few hours the poetry won't seem so alien.

unplanned pre-vac

the early morning was painful as usual, and i was buggered. it was an interesting lecture, although i must admit to having spent some portions of the last few classes (various classes, not this course specifically) playing minesweeper or sudoku... i don't know why...

i mean, i'm still paying attention and taking notes. i suspect that there's an element of tiredness influencing the lack of participation.

i needed to write a paper for the next class, so i figured i'd do that at home instead of in or outside the office. also, pg managed to score a massive splinter and needed help removing it, so i gallantly returned home to make it worse. i've warned her to take it to a doctor if it doesn't heal quickly, partially out of guilt :(

i was really tired, so after lunch i thought i'd set my alarm for half an hour and have a nap, only switching to my alarm application isn't the same as setting it and i only got up about two and a half hours later. panic! i kind of enjoyed writing the paper anyway, but it totally blew my plans for getting some work done before going to class.

another inspirational class! followed by the old office, doing new job work. i thought it would be quick and then i'd start logging hours once i got onto old job work, but instead of half an hour or so it took me well over two, and i had barely enough time to make myself useful before i had to leave :S

although at least i did make myself useful.

i came home in time to help out with dinner (mini burgers - the first failed and turned into tasty "meaty bits" that were spread in the salad, the second came out in the right shape and texture but not as tasty), perform serious duties as webmaster, and... and now i have poetry to read for tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

wisps of mytheme

as it was, i only had 4.5 hours to sleep this morning; i spent most of them half-awake, conscious of my body and my surroundings but stuck in an attempt to solve a problem. i barely remember fragments of the problem, but it involved four or five characters and i believe that if i had been able to recall all of their details at any given stage i would have been able to combine them neatly to form a sensible picture, but as i was limited i was unable to find satisfaction and i was distinctly aware that what i was searching for was a myth to make sense of the contradictions.

and then my alarm was going off, and even an extra fifteen minutes couldn't help me. although i'm feeling far better about this morning than any other wednesday this semester.

picked-me-up

i love bizarro, and the post i read this morning in particular. as much as i appreciate the first one, it's the second one that made me laugh out loud, and i felt compelled to share :)

---

what a difference catching up a bit of sleep makes! and spending the first few hours of the day working from home, figuring out interesting things and then heading off to work with nothing but a kindle** for an hour's meeting and some administrative tasks before heading out for the other office kept the rest of the items short and sweet.

* implementing json objects in c# isn't that difficult once you've seen it done... but you have to have seen it done first :P

** i usually have my heavy schoolbag

the other office has better coffee, and there were doughnuts. my co-worker and i had an argument on the whiteboard until i realized what he was talking about, and it was pretty much what i'd told him to do in the first place only phrased differently. after that, i had about ten or twenty minutes to hurriedly find something (i found it!) before rushing home to leave in time for the rollerblading route.

it was a great route! my blades were a bit easier to secure, although the left side bit into my ankle the whole route and the right side scraped the inside of my sole... hopefully it'll get better.

pg and i had a long an amusing debate about marriage and emigration, and while i'm not going to share the details here, suffice it to say that i can definitely see a familial future for us whether or not an actual wedding is involved.

---

someone asked me earlier how i'm doing, and it suddenly struck me that in the midst of all the craziness, i'm doing fantastically well. studies are stressed but fun and satisfying, working as a freelancer is an absolute pleasure (so far, at least) and not only is the home situation comfortable but my mum's arriving this weekend and christmas / new year's might actually feel like christmas / new year's ^_^

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

bzzzt

i was a zombie this morning. i could barely stay focused during my classes and it appears that when i shut up, everyone shuts up... not so pleasant.

work this afternoon didn't go very well; i spent another hour sinking research time down a well, took ages to figure out a shortcut for web communications in c# console applications (WebClient - it made translating php and cURL to c# really simple), and...

... today, i billed hours for the first time in my life. it was incredibly liberating. i feel like... a grown-up.

i arrived home quite late, and was just as shocked as pg when i kissed her "hello" and it was literally electrifying (one of us had been building up static, apparently). after dinner, i celebrated the continuing university strikes (the non-tenured are revolting) by doing my french homework (je serais boire rhum parce que je suis pirate). now to get to bed, i can sleep in and still get up early enough to make programmatical strides.

Monday, December 19, 2011

i realize the time.

it's late. i've done what needed doing, and i'm happy with it. also, i've discovered absolutely incredible artwork (joe fenton) and read something profoundly worrying about consequences.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

swayed

that icky feeling's still going strong - it's been one of those days. pg and i left early to join the strike that didn't really happen, i handed in my midterm assignment and then failed to do any useful work from the campus computers.

the first hour of the lecture on consciousness was a bit of a disappointment because david chalmers (who is one froody dude) dumbed his talk down. i can't talk about the rest of it because i then had to head to class.

after class i went to work, and managed to make a breakthrough in spite of how crap i was feeling. i returned home just in time for dinner, and i'm now trying to be productive but... i don't really want to be.

---

the life 2011 pictures of the year are amazing as usual. i might not have seen them all if at any stage i'd realized that there were over a hundred of them :P

floored

i woke up in the middle of the night to pee, and ended up on the floor after a fainting spell or two. it all feels... icky. and as a result, i slept too much and my day was going to be stressed anyway :/

my work here is done.

i totally forgot to mention one of the highlights of the day! it was one of the highlights of my return to academia, actually. my favourite professor, who i was certain i'd offended, appears not to be as offended as i'd thought. not only that, but my response paper that i sent in last week came back with an enthusiastic review, a grade of 100, and rather more flattery than i'd expect from a paper beginning "i found the unit on utopia fairly tough to wrap my head around, and i’m not certain that this response is going to contain anything more than ruminations on themes already discussed in class".

i'm a little bit pleased with myself, yeah.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

misplaced

nothing like spending more than a day and an inordinate amount of research time coming up with the first half of a paper, and then discovering that i'd inadvertently saved it in the wrong place and in so doing made it publicly available, in all its stages, to my classmates.

i *really* hope nobody read it. partially because it's far from polished; mostly because i'm terrified that some idiot will steal my ideas. and i'm fairly sure nobody else was going the route i am: i've spent just over a page explaining why the question we're answering is ridiculous in order to make a claim that's rather nasty to substantiate.

---

i'm so glad that pg's mum came over to check out the kindle! i was busy telling her that the one drawback is the inability to flip through books, and happened to discover how it's done. my kindle just became even MORE awesome (^_^) - either that or i just turned out to be a complete moron (>_<). celebratory brunch (pg's mum's birthday) this morning was pleasant, and an enjoyable distraction from the paper. so was watching the last two episodes of the first season of misfits. i really enjoyed it!

---

i've done no actual work today. fortunately, tomorrow morning there's a strike on campus, so at least the french homework can wait a couple of days :P

i can't believe my mum will be here in less than a week!

long friday

waking up early for the make-up french class was a bummer. the test was alright. the class was annoying, and i speak for pg too.

we had a pleasant breakfast at the new place next door - much better now that the opening excitement has died down - and then sped off to the skate shop so that i could pick up a pair of rollerblades.

on the one hand, i should have spent some time doing research. on the other, i can't be without rollerblades. so i went with nrks. so far, i haven't figured out how to tighten the tops and i've gone from less than thirty seconds to put on my blades to more than two minutes...

and something doesn't feel right on the left side, which is an all-of-a-sudden that began a few minutes before i got home now from cm's :(

the rest of the afternoon was spent in front of the computer, trying to make progress with my midterm assignment. i did - i know what i want to write about - but that's about it. i could use another week :/

in spite of that, i took off a few hours to go over to cm's and play arkham horror again. we not only finished the game, but we had a lot of fun playing it - if you play with the attitude that you're not supposed to win, then you can focus on the characters' perspectives and it can get pretty terrifying.

speaking of terrifying:

1. my blades and i aren't stable and my wheels are new, so when botchman took me up to 50kph on the back of his bike i had to call it a good try

2. the tall, well-built bald man dancing in the middle of the deserted street and trying to get me to approach him "to show me something" at around 3am? i would have called the police if i wasn't worried that they'd have given me shit...

3. i wish that somebody would tell me that this is a twisted, chain-letter style practical joke... but the petition has reached over 5500 people and the protest has been mentioned in the news: the usual idiots are now trying to turn the national electric company into a religiously run institution.

because it's not bad enough that they take most of our taxes and resources and hate us in return, provide nothing either culturally or economically, and would like to see us all head back into the dark ages.

Friday, December 16, 2011

back to sleep

so i missed a wednesday, and essentially a thursday too?

thursday: a strange day, i actually managed to sleep enough, sort of didn't really get started on my midterm assignment, had my rollerblades break on me (after six years of good usage, so i suppose it's fair) on my way to campus, enjoyed a wonderful orientation course lecture, was at work just long enough*, then returned for a great lecture on orson welles' othello. then i came home to eat soup, watch misfits, and study for the french test in the morning.

* there's a tax issue with my fees, and i was stressing about whether or not to broach the subject at all. i was given an opportunity to mention it without making it seem like i was asking :)

wednesday: i was completely buggered. practically dysfunctional. first class was tough, although now that i'm on top of things it's much easier to keep track. i returned to the neighbourhood and ate breakfast while waiting for the plumber to arrive; he only called me when he was done, which meant that i had to get him (thursday morning) to come back and show me that he really had sorted it all out before paying him.

i think i understand the source of the confusion now - he and the other guy have the same name, and both of them have partners. freaky.

i went to work for another meeting - seriously, i wasn't expecting so much administration but at least i can bill for it - then returned for an excellent evening class** before going to the old office for an hour before returning to tel aviv for a pub arrangement with a guy i used to serve with.

** that girl has actually been quite pleasant since we had our little talk.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

oh. shit.

it was 2.30am, and on my way home i discovered just how much impact wind-chill has on rollerbladers... i was wearing a ski-jacket, but without gloves under my wristpads my fingers were freezing...

... also on my way home, running into someone i study with and getting into a heated debate about veganism. it was interesting - although i suspect i cut him off a bit too harshly quite a few times - until some apparently drunk guy who'd been peeing in the bushes behind us planted himself two feet away and stared at me. he asked my classmate if he could understand a word i was saying, and when he responded in the affirmative he told him to tell me that he understood perfectly too.

now, i don't have an issue with being excessively social, or anti-social, but do you *have* to be aggressive about it? everything about this jerk suggested violence, and the first words out of his mouth were to tell one stranger to "pull one over" another. damned primitives :@

---

now that i've gotten it through my head that i'm actually freelancing, my appreciation for my time is completely flipped around and everything's gravy. i'm a team of one, and i'm the team leader fully responsible for management. i don't have an issue with putting together charts and graphs and spreadsheets when i know that i'm being paid to do so.

---

it was evening already when i received an emergency phone call from my tenant: sewerage seeping out a pipe that goes through the bedroom. NOT acceptable, less by me than him if i gauge the difference in our attitudes correctly.

the plumbers i usually call are two partners, one of whom lives close by and both of whom do decent work fairly cheaply. the thing is, these two are always bouncing phone calls back and forth and i've never been able to keep track of their phone numbers - not only bouncing, but they each have a couple of numbers so my contact list is a bit of a mess.

i can't say who i called and didn't call, and as usual there was bouncing and back and forths, but eventually we agreed that we'd meet within the hour at the apartment and i bailed on a meeting to rush home and attend. when i was five minutes away i called to make sure that everyone would be arriving with me, and by the time i arrived the guy was there and had already discovered the problem.

our tanks overfloweth - and as my apartment is on the first floor, of course it's the first to make the discovery. after a strange and frustrating non-argument with the caretaker, we agreed that tomorrow morning we'll meet (after my class) and the plumber will arrive and sort it all out. for a very fair price.

a minute after he left, the plumber called to say he would be arriving in five minutes and that he'd been delayed because he couldn't find parking.
eh?? i told him his partner had already left, surprised that they hadn't talked to one another, and was about to go back inside to pick up my bag when he called back to inform me that his partner hadn't been to see the apartment.

-- cue twilight zone music --

i haven't the slightest notion who it is that came over and is contracted to fix the problem, even though i definitely know him and he's definitely worked in my apartment before. no matter how much of the other guy's time i wasted, and no matter how much he was willing to beat the other's price, i wasn't about to cancel on someone who'd not only made it on site quicker and with whom i already had an agreement, but who i cannot even phone to inform him because i don't have a clue who he is or what his number is.

that's a bit screwy.

---

rollerblading was great tonight; i needed the exercise. although i could just as easily have slept those hours - yesterday morning's wake-up was tough, this morning's is probably going to be tougher. and i discovered, an hour before leaving the apartment, that i have an assignment due tomorrow and a whole bunch of reading i'd forgotten about...

Monday, December 12, 2011

what i've gotten myself into

well. i discovered today that i don't just have to calculate project times and costs, but i have to be able to justify them, too. also - although i've been told that they can try and speed things up for me for my first month - the norm will be that once i've billed them i'll have to wait thirty days from the end of the month in which i've billed them for payment.

it's not the end of the world, but it most certainly changes the way i plan things. also, i've realized that i need to include the amount of time i spend researching new things and making those plans. it's not the end of the world, but it's new and kinda of annoying.

---

1. my favourite professor doesn't appear to have been offended. hooray!

2. too much reading this week. it's nuts.

3. pg missed her french class yesterday morning so we met on campus and i caught her up. it was an experience; tough, but ultimately satisfying. i wish she wasn't so impatient, though. and i don't have patience for impatience, which creates tension :S

4. it was *really* cold this morning. for some reason i kept thinking of the forecast temperature and put aside the bit about it being less than that in the wee hours of the morning: i'd gotten up an hour and a half earlier than my alarm :(

5. the locker on campus is seriously paying off. i bladed to campus yesterday, used the buses to get to work and back, and after the evening class bladed to the old office and then home. i have to say, it was noticeably difficult: after a weekend of eating unhealthily and not exercising...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

gearing down

between yesterday and today, i got a hell of a lot less done that i'd planned. not that i didn't get anything done, but i most certainly wasn't in gear.

i suppose i did kind'a need a weekend.

pg and i pulled out thunderstone this evening - it took a few minutes to get it all set up and it took a few rounds to get into the groove, but i have to say i'm well pleased with my investment. it's such a great game!

final score - i won... 62 / 61. that's pretty darn close, and she had the thunderstone :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

the shape of things to have come

i'm busy reading h.g. wells - the shape of things to come, and a specific sentence caught my imagination:
the alternative to disaster, they saw even then, was not just a bleak and terrified security. that was the last thing possible. there was no alternative to disorder and wretchedness, but "such an abundance, such a prosperity and richness of opportunity", as man had never known before.
if we, as a collective, could escape the culture of fear that we have allowed to control us, and which has allowed those willing to manipulate us free reign, we could enjoy the fruits of our labours and struggles. in a capitalist age where the difference between the rich and the poor is vast enough to be disquieting, this same distance allows us to dream and lets us forget, in a strange way, that even our poor are better off than they would be amongst peers in another system.

wells is right, i believe, in suggesting that the problem with any system is its inflexibility... trial and error, and balance, are crucial devices in managing great numbers of half-crazed supermonkeys*. but in order to get to such a point, those supermonkeys need to relinquish their fears and turn an optimistic face to the possibilities of new paradigms.

* that's us

socialism isn't good, capitalism isn't good, but varying combinations of the two could work well.

i wonder if it's possible to maintain a civilization wherein anything is allowed as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others, and in which any violent acts (and only violent acts) are responded to with the utmost violence as a means of disincentive. would it be possible to protect such a civilization from the subversion of manipulative genius, from becoming a dictatorship or a police state?

Friday, December 09, 2011

while logging in to post this, i discovered two pending comments that have apparently been waiting for my approval since july... way to go, blogger!

---

it wasn't an easy day; i spent it in front of the pc, not counting two episodes of bill and ted's excellent adventures* while kipping on the couch, a quick shopping spree and super**. otherwise, it was all about not reading plato's symposium*** by performing some of my webmaster duties****, going through emails, and sending off long emails to my co-worker regarding both jobs*****.

* seriously - they arrive in china hundreds of years in the past, and everyone speaks english? outstanding!

** it's actually pretty funny, and surprisingly sweet! also - what an amazing cast! thank you, captain hammer holy avenger!

*** the first half, at least, is a serious drag

**** joomla can be fun!

***** sorter's project, too. dropbox has turned out to be the best cheap svn for single-developer projects

---

linkage for the day: nokia's mapping is amazing. but with all these wonderful, incredible, life-enhancing systems being built and deployed, i'm left with one question: what happens when the internet goes down?

good parenting advice: compromise is important. not quite "if you can't beat them, join them" but an even wiser position.

this is amazing and frightening. and not because of his connection to family guy:
lapd arrests the wrong guy over protests in los angeles.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

psy-onna-stick

it was a most pleasant day. last day of the week? einstein's general theory + my last couple of weeks seem to indicate that the more one works, the less one moves in space and the faster the days go by. the first two classes were entertaining; the last class was our orientation.

wordsworth brought in a couple of texts and we demonstrated the kind of analysis that's expected of them for their papers... i think by the end they started getting it... then i had half an hour to teach them the basics of psychology.

either i'm a great teacher, or they're really smart, or they're good liars - apparently everything i said was clear. i covered everything they'll need to get through a goodly chunk of their degrees and i even took it one step further - to the point where we are right now with our wednesday classes.

that made me feel good. then i went to work and actually got quite a bit done, which also felt good. the end of the evening in the office was a bit of a rush job (a few TODO comments in the code) because pg was cooking and i didn't want to miss dinner :P

pg and i just watched confessions, and i can see why our lecturer found it distracting. it's really good.
now, i believe, *is* a good time to go to bed.

---

the last weekend was killer, and i was concerned that i'd be burned out by the end of it. strangely enough, while i'm still exhausted i'm REALLY excited about real programming again and i'm loving both jobs. i don't even mind having to drag my co-worker by the ear because he's a fantastic exercise in coaching, and i'm convinced that the day will come when i teach him to do things the easy way :)

where? am i?

it's just turned thursday, and i have the following to report. in no particular order.
  • rollerblading slowly through quiet, dark streets while dressed in clothes i only wear around the house felt... nice...
  • i fear i may have offended my favourite professor by sending a mail slightly impolitely deconstructing monday evening's lesson of stupid
  • i'm very, very tired.
  • this morning's lesson on lacan and levi-strauss actually made sense, and was interesting. it gave me a totally new perspective on science (reinforcing my previously held views, but putting them in a much more interesting context), and brought me across the line from the side on which i'd been imagining that co-conspirator isn't a complete idiot. when she doesn't *get* something, she forces a subject change.
  • i would wonder how people like co-conspirator and the girl from monday's lesson got their degrees, only our master's forum this evening explained it all. in simple terms, undergrad is now the pay-as-you-go say-you've-been-to-college certificate, and master's studies are what undergrad used to be once upon a time, when people actually wanted to learn stuff.

    in addition, it has been made perfectly clear that the thesis track is a complete waste of time for anyone not planning on continuing on to a phd, and i realize that if i want to contribute something to the academic world i'm as well off, if not better off, doing whatever i like in my own time and publishing (or not) personally. i'd rather make use of my little "vacation" by doing as many courses as i can about things i know nothing about.
  • my co-worker: *sigh*. he's not bad, but i don't know how much drilling i need to do before he gets what i'm on about. SIMPLE code. SIMPLE solutions. THOROUGHNESS. when committing and when testing. COMMENTS AND DOCUMENTATION. useful things. in friendly format.
  • last night i got to bed early (around midnight) for the first time in a week - and we were woken up with a jolt around half an hour later by a phone call from the states...
    i didn't answer, and i got back to sleep almost immediately, but physical shock was memorable :(
  • a long chat yesterday with one of the guys i used to serve with; it sounds like we might get together to make some music - i hope.
  • the project! it's OVER! there were a few interface issues, but on the whole it's now a neat and functional application and it does the job. and a whole bunch of other jobs in the future, which means that i designed it well ^_^
    it was really satisfying to see the results of field operation. one row of data made my whole day :)
  • i didn't have the energy to go rollerblading last night. it sucked to bail, but it was the smarter choice.
  • working on contract is beginning to sound much, much better than for a salary. i can take days off between projects and nobody will give a shit where i am. i can incorporate studies and personal events into my time estimate, and nobody will panic.
    now i'm just waiting for the guys from freelancer to get back to me so that i can bill my first job.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

it's not over yet

i've just now, finally, i pray, completed the sql logic. i can't believe that in my haste i made such silly mistakes. now all that's left is to integrate it with the front-end, and then i'll be ready for bed. soon after which time i'll be getting up for class again...

... i only got to sleep around 3am yesterday (too, it seems), then got up early to do the reading and didn't have nearly enough time. i managed to arrive late for the first class because i'd gotten the rooms backwards and sat waiting for a while until i registered that i didn't know *anyone* around me...

the second class was interesting, but i was buggered, unfocused, and it took me right until the very end of class to come up with something interesting. i decided not to go to the third that i've been auditing because it really is a waste of time if i'm not doing the readings. and i was really tired as well.

i had lunch with wordsworth, who gave me a ride to the bus - on the way another netvision representative called to offer me some new deal; it's happening more and more frequently, and i've taken to screaming at them in an attempt to get myself on a "do not call" list. it's very upsetting, especially considering the fact that they've still got me by the balls with the internet services that i don't want :S

work: horrid. everything went pear shaped, and it all being down to configuration issues doesn't make me feel any better. i don't know if my chat with the boss at the end was productive; it took me a while to explain last week's misunderstanding to him; there were a lot of assumptions made about company knowledge that i've just learned the hard way, such as who to listen to and under what conditions to agree to a project. next time i'll be smarter, at least :)

slightly more positive news - my mum's coming to visit soon ^_^

it's funny, i don't listen to music when i'm super-stressed. after getting home, snacking, skipping over to pg's parents' to print and photocopy stuff so that i can sign up for a freelancing company (what a great idea!!! they take a cut and i don't have to get intimate with the revenue service), and doing my french homework, i was feeling much more relaxed.

just a little bit longer...

Monday, December 05, 2011

not. my. day.

i got to work all excited after french class, only to discover a couple of minor bugs that kept me busy until i had to run to class again. it was in the middle of class that i got a phone call informing me that things weren't working...

... it's the class that's usually my favourite. nim, the girl who upset me on thursday? [i didn't even mention it, apparently. she kept cutting off the professor, and punctuated the rest of her sentences with "uh, huh?"s and "mmms" and "rights" - a little distracting]
i had a talk with her, which i'd been dreading both having and not having - i was certain the confrontation would be unpleasant, but the alternative was more of her behaviour. surprisingly, it seems to have gone alright. but the universe couldn't let it go at that, so it had her "teaching" us the whole lesson instead.

this is a girl who doesn't *get* what the class is about. we spent two hours pouring over uninteresting things that any idiot could find online, and in this case did. the highlight? she cited "the onion" as a source, not realizing that it's a parody site.

seriously.

...

straight back to work, there until 10pm. i got things basically functional, but the boss asked me to make some critical changes and holy crap, i've just spent two hours renaming fields in the database only to discover that i'd forgotten to incorporate a couple of changes made in the other office, potentially wasting hours of work when i don't *have* hours to spare. it's closing in on 1.40am and i haven't done the readings for the morning.

FUCK. and my outcry at my discovery woke pg :(
at least it seems that the bosses are happy with me. i'll tell you how much that's worth if i survive the day.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

parkinson's law isn't always right

i'm WAY overdue for this project, judging by the amount of sleep i've lost and the fact that i haven't been out of the apartment since thursday. heck, i can count the number of breaks i've had on my fingers (although friday's few hours were good).

there's just a *tiny* bit left to do and i really can't do it without jeopardizing my day. dammit.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

both wired and tired

i have just now completed the Big Deal - the only thing that sucks is that while there's a big deal of code behind it, it doesn't actually look that impressive from the user's end. i can only hope that it's as "to spec" as i think it is. at least it's a major item scratched off the list; two more major ones to go.

i'm taking a break to do some of the readings for tomorrow; the only other break i've had was for french homework. i've just decided that i won't be joining the protest tonight... i really don't have the time.

on another note - the leftovers from pg's baking are unfortunately delicious.

ticking tocks

i worked until late, then slept, then got up early and carried on working. aside from a chat with my mum mid-way through the day, i continued to work through to the evening, at the end of which i discovered that the biggest part of the project (or most complex, at least) is still ahead of me. so tomorrow's going to be hard work again. and i have readings to do.

dinner at pg's parents' was great, and we came home just before the guys began to arrive for super-weird anime, a nasty game of citadels (i was either killed or disabled for most of the game, and - mostly - it wasn't even intentional), and attack the block. that's a fun, intriguing film but it's not quite as good as i was expecting (after the so-far cornetto series and paul, which kind of set the bar), although something tells me that there's a lot more to the movie hidden beneath the surface and that it might warrant a more observant review at some later stage.

as pg said - it's alright that we didn't see it in the cinema.

---

in terms of discourse and registers and what-have-you, it's dawning on me that pg's and my relationship has, for a while, been a lot less girlfriend / boyfriend and a lot more husband / wife. i find it a bit startling every time that we discuss future plans (serious ones, like leaving the country and raising children) that these things don't worry me; they're not overwhelming or scary, they're just the way things are and the way things should be. and that feels... rather good, really.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

break-ed

i spent a couple more hours working, then went to bed. then woke up and dragged myself back to campus. the day was great; excellent even. we got good feedback on our orientation course, too.

i scrambled home, buying olive oil on the way and wondering, once again, why the express queue is always the slowest. i mean, i know *why* - they just have to herd troublemakers over to another aisle - but i don't understand why it's not taken care of.

i did a bit of work, then joined sorter at my apartment to spend an hour or two terrified by the fact that we were working with asbestos (not directly, but the dust was everywhere and i'm not sure that our masks were really enough. it was dirty, disgusting work (i didn't do much aside from share my opinions and try to avoid the dust - not that the troublesome particles are visible) and i *really* hope we've sorted the leak out this time.

whether we have or haven't, though, we now know what the situation under the roof is and i'm going to need to set up something a little more solid.

we came back to my place for a beer, after which i showered and ate (and joined pg in watching an episode or so of invader zim, and now i'm working / playing...

oh, crap. and YAY!

i'm a bit blown. it's 1am and i've barely begun the stuff that needs to be finished this week, because every - single - time i try to do something i learn a new limitation or something else goes pear-shaped. no pressure... i'm reduced to simulating the functions that are working but somehow inaccessible by copying and pasting their live results into the code i'm writing.

this is shameful.

---

the other crazy news:
i made a serious faux pas yesterday with both my bosses, and i got the feeling that at that moment i'd blown the whole thing and had lost the job. it ate away at me all the way home, by which time i'd settled on a course of action that involved sending a long email to explain exactly what was going through my mind when i said what i did.

apparently they're both surprised and satisfied by the email, but we'll only know when it comes time to make the hiring decision...

mongoose called me up yesterday, and spoke to me in a way that i find... disappointing. i'm actually quite irritated with him, and i suspect that we're not friends anymore, nor have we been for a while.

this morning began way too early with way too much freud and lacan. i'm not entirely sure what was going on - i tried to take notes but the words blew away like wisps of smoke in a breeze. something about navels and signifiers and not knowing anything. that was all after witnessing an absolutely horrifying incident with some violent kids (and i mean, 8-12 year olds) continuing to be disgracefully rude to an elderly lady in spite of three of us (on a packed bus) stepping in; one was adamant that he was both polite and a grown man, and i'm fairly certain that his parents should be culled.

---

the good stuff:

on my way off campus last week my left ankle developed shooting pains at every step, and i suspect a bit of a sprain. it only got worse whatever i did, and then i figured out that if i forced my leg out and to the left it didn't hurt so much... it's kinda like i'm retraining my leg, only without the use of orthotics. the odd bit is that when i went for a run on sunday (forcing it outwards consciously) it was okay... anyway, it felt much better today.

rollerblading last night was excellent. today, so many birthday wishes *did* make me smile in spite of my cynicism. it made it tough to get things done! the best part of the day: cooking liver for dinner and then being treated to pg's excessively decadent personal pavlovas. small for a pavlova, giant for a meringue ^_^
every time i leave the study i'm surrounded by balloons and wishes; and pg knitted me a really funky scarf! (i didn't realize she'd made it herself, i was certain it was store-bought :P)