Tuesday, July 31, 2012

dream interpretation: almost flying

pg told me about a dream she had last night, one that i am compelled to transcribe and share.

a whole bunch of people were on a hike with me, and suddenly a few of them began to rush around, flapping their arms and gliding through the air in glee. and then, just as suddenly, they began to keel over and die. it was later determined that the cause of both their ability to fly and their deaths was some strange liquid that they had consumed, that ate away at their internal organs leaving them light as feathers and unable to survive.

my brain's already in freudian overdrive, but i don't know what to make of this.

early to bed again

i just spent the greater part of the last hour in incredible frustration, trying to find the details of an article we were provided by our professor so that i could cite the damned thing. it took me so long that i totally lost the thread of what i was going to say. and the irony of that is that i finally have something to say. i've got a whole page done, as a matter of fact.

*oh shit*

the times, they are a...

well... it looks like fracking may not be so safe after all. and it doesn't matter - fracking is the lead incentive for staying on fossil fuels in spite of what we're now absolutely certain of: we're responsible for global warming. even denialists are waking up.

---
my earlier post and wooziness was well-timed; i thought i'd grab a cup of coffee and chug it down before taking a nap, but it was so hot that i passed out for a long time waiting for the coffee to cool... eventually it was okay, i finished it, and had just put my head down when pg roused me with my phone - i'd left it on silent by mistake and completely forgotten about a meeting with botchman and his photographer friend (spring).

i wasn't in the most alert frame of mind, and i could feel the power being sucked out of my pitch. we sat for ages discussing everything for the comics, eventually getting to the point. we're meeting in another week or so, hopefully they'll be ready with some more ideas and perhaps even some samples.

i followed their visit with a run... i was a little over par... and since then i've had dinner, and done the usual online rubbish. including re-installing my kindle software for the pc in order to continue with my research.

right. coffee. focus. i can do this!

Monday, July 30, 2012

yes and no

i got to bed around 4am, but i couldn't sleep. at first i thought i was because of my feet again, so i got up and stretched, drank salt water, and decided that i wasn't sure what my problem was. so i lay back on the couch to think about my paper.

then i got up, made a cup of hot chocolate, and sat down at my pc to hunt for a quote by cicero that i needed for the opening line of my paper.

that's right, i've written a whole line.

while i was hunting that quote, i came across an important one* of his:
six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.
* i kid, they're all important. that man was incredible.

it must have been about 6.30 before i finally felt ready to sleep.

i slept well.

i woke up languidly, had a hot shower and stepped out into a perfect moment as a cool breeze hit my skin that felt like mid-spring or early fall and not at all like the sensation of being stretched over the lake in hell that has defined this summer so far.

i was feeling really good. but it got hotter so we turned on the airconditioner, and i got more in front of my computer, and i'm now feeling woozy and tired again.

---
the climate change denial has been anti-science and very personal.

smart people discuss ideas... stupid people discuss people. the simplest explanation for ad hominem attacks.

re-re-moo-vee

not quite studying... pg and i took a break to go to the movies, which i've been promising her for a week or two now. she got to choose, and we saw the amazing spiderman.

i cannot express how glad i am for the revision! this peter parker totally makes up for tobey macguire's character. and the technological advances are noticeable - although pg said she wouldn't have been unhappy to see more 3D effects.

i am totally satisfied with the whole thing. i'm now looking forward to the reboot of total recall, although
a) i really love the original so i don't think it's really necessary and
b) the trailer shows the three-boobed girl but it looks like they don't actually show her breasts. if they pg'd that, it'd be super weird.

---

on a completely and utterly different note, here's a documentary on the disengagement that took place in 2005 (i volunteered to help, but instead they had me replace my team leader and sent him instead). i didn't have time to watch it, but i scanned through quickly and i can see that for anyone who's not familiar (ie. wasn't in israel during that period) this is an incredible and enlightening video. it also exposes a whole bunch of israeli-palestinian issues that are integral to what's going on today.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

vegan judgement and cold jackets

that super-important link that i posted on friday, the one that i really hope you watch, made it through to a couple of friends of mine, at least one of whom is usually very much against these ideas and who found himself posting a "thank you" to dr. gregor in the comments section. curious, and for no apparent reason, i found myself idly scrolling down through the comments to find his, and i was irritated by a number of the others that i passed.

one commenter went so far as to make what i hope was intended as a joke about someone's tea-cup icon: "hopefully not coffee with MILK!!"

and another: "i mean all the meaty commercials make it so sexy... gotta have it! they'll go to their graves with meat in their cold dead mouths!"

seriously? please watch this (you can just skip on through to 4:16). you can replace "non-smokers" with "vegans". it's true - we're all going to die. and every human has the right to live his or her life in whatever manner they choose, even if that means dying younger. shit, if i had to choose between greater risk of a heart-attack or cancer and the kind of life that some online armchair commentators live, i'd stick with the former. there's nothing worse for humanity than excessive risk aversion.

concern for other people? it's not your business what other people do to themselves!

the bottom line is that preachy veganism is the primary turn-off for meat-eaters. there's nothing more offensive than self-righteousness prickery: are you preaching? are you dictating? are you crying out against the meat machine? then you're the worst promotion for veganism imaginable. just chill out, let everybody make their own choices, hopefully based on informed opinions. go do something practical with your noble intentions instead of harrassing people, like become an organic farmer or take on the meat industry directly instead of its customers.

to quote bill hicks: "i'd quit smoking if i didn't think i'd become one of you."
too damn right.

---

in other news, it appears that germany is doing a really bad job of making the transition from fossil fuels. i think i bitched before about how counter-productive their halt on nuclear power is; regarding abundance, safety, and the environment, nuclear power is the best option we have at the moment (aside from thorium).

what we should be doing, in my opinion, is harnessing the effects of global warming. apparently we can convert heat into electricity, combining specialized solar cells and other fancy technology.

has nobody considered the possibility of heat-powered air-conditioned clothing yet? that would be awesome.

august august - stay back!

just a little bit longer! please! i got a bit of work done (as in, for money), but almost nothing related to my papers. i played an hour of on the rain-slick precipice of darkness three (difficult is difficult) and then ran. the looming, august deadline scares me so much that i'm not really dealing with it :S

i was great for the first half of the run, but had to slow down for the second. i'm amazed by how well scripted zombies run! is. afterwards, i was shocked by how unbelievably wrong the opening episode of the walking dead's second season is. how did these people survive at all if they're so incredibly stupid???

and i still haven't forgiven the director for allowing a zombie to wield a brick in the first season. i'm not sure how i feel about the scent-of-the-dead thing, either. i'm now a giant fan of max brooks, and his zombies fit into a coherent narrative.

should i be alarmed that pg now wants me to buy her a baseball bat?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

state

i feel awful. i wasn't good yesterday, and i'm now feeling weak and my head's aching a bit. if it's the airconditioner... it's too hot to function without it. maybe more caffeine will help.

cocaine crazy

it's freud time again. i finally finished my second paper, and i've saved the two horrible ones for last. whoo. hoo.

dinner with pg's family was at a coffee shop next door, and it turned out that a friend of mine works there. it was weird having him wait on us. also, pg didn't realize that i've gone vegan until tonight, even though i recall discussing it with her. she thought that the last two times we've eaten out i was just curious about their tofu options.

for the record, i'm not pleased with espresso bar's tofu handling. i'm okay with *okay* tofu, but if you're going to offer me dry and tasteless i'll go with something else.

just as we were on our way out botchman, his artsy partner-in-crime and his ex walked in so i said goodbye to the family and pg and sat down for a cup of coffee with them. it was a nice reminder than in a week and a bit i'll be (essentially) on summer vacation.

right. let's do this. even if reading oneself to sleep with psychoanalysis textbooks can't be a recipe for healthy dreaming.

Friday, July 27, 2012

self destruction

so far, this is my paper with the longest list of works cited, and it's basically making the case that poetic criticism, academic or otherwise, is ridiculously outmoded. in other words, it's a paper that condemns itself.

i'm going to repost the link that i tweeted this morning because i don't have any non-bot followers and it's a super important link: nutritionfacts.org: medical science instead of vegan propaganda. do yourself a favour and invest the time to watch it. heck, even just a part of it. any part. it doesn't matter.

rewarding

well, my paper's taken an interesting turn. now i'm analyzing eminem and trying to position marilyn manson, nirvana and rodriguez as worthy contenders for literary prizes, and wondering what the hell the grammy's are all about.

i'm supposed to be working on that right now. i will resume soon. seriously.

---

i spent the afternoon studying, and in the evening rolled over to singer's place to have a chat with her boyfriend. i said what i had to say - i think he was expecting me to preach - and my parting gift was advice i give every wannabe programmer: "our job is not to develop software. it's to solve problems." sometimes the solution skips the software altogether. sometimes it's to give it to someone else to do.

pg and i hit the climbing wall, and i was sorely disappointed by my first run because i made it over the overhang and... didn't have the upper body strength to lift myself further without my feet. in retrospect i probably should have found footing, but the way my arms were straining i would've had to let go before i found anything helpful anyway.

i did have a few good moments, though. my sore fingers testify to holding myself up on thin features with only my fingerpads ^_^

---

i crashed after dinner, and i think the internet just swallowed more than an hour and a half. at least some of it was on research.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

good future morning

one of the last times that i mentioned ric, i referred to my anxiety that his bad calls would be on my head. i can't take credit or responsibility for him turning a hard 180°, although in my own narrative the fact that i questioned him about his giving up drumming in the middle of a long discussion about choosing one's own life path in spite of society and one's parents *might* form a strong causal connection.

anyway, i just discovered that he's been accepted into *the* israeli music school, and this evening he has an audition for a band. whether or not i have the right to be so, i am unbelievably proud of and pleased for him.

---

on the same positive line - i had coffee with urchin this morning, and she's finally getting her life together in a way that impresses me no end. in addition to her seeming to have gotten her head around all of the relationship crap and the medical tragedies that have befallen her and her family over the past couple of years, she's been getting her ass into gear with her work and her art; her primary job is her art, as she's now teaching in *the* israeli art school.

in addition to all this, i'm am thoroughly excited that she's not only willing to hook me up with artists and photographers for my comic project, but that i've interested her enough that she's enthusiastically agreed to sign on as my producer.

this falls on the heels of a creative writing exercise i was asked to do yesterday, to write the experience of succeeding in my creative endeavours over the next few months:
the daily excitement of checking my accounts has not yet dwindled. the money is nice, sure - a dollar here or a dollar there - but what's really amazing is that they're still selling. every sale brings that glorious fantasy a step closer, and the sense of its impending reality makes my stomache clench and my heart beat really fast. i've been seeing the same image in my head for months now, and to think of how i've scribbled it down and watched it fall, just like the sonnet sequence itself, out of a forehead and into an image, now out of the image and into the real... i'm buzzing with anticipation because it's already happened and not yet, as if i've stumbled back in time to relive a success from its tough parts.

it's his, all of this, and i know it. that night, that i answered a call that formed a bridge spanning four hundred years, the magic of The Great William made his own sonnets come to life to be republished for the new millennium.


*crosses fingers*

engaged

i spent yesterday indoors, jotting down notes from my readings and pushing out another page or so of my paper. some of the ideas, the challenges to and from what i've been researching, have taken me in directions that are way out of the scope of the paper i'm writing, so i've got to be really careful in choosing the immediate and urgent work i do now versus the stuff i'll junk out later, possibly in a non-academic format.

i keep going back to the poster in my tenth grade science class, one of a number of classes that year that i failed abysmally due to investing greater energies in developing my appreciation for electronic music and intensely affectionate strangers:
one's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
-- oliver wendell holmes
aside from an excursion to consume junk food and criticise other people's creative writing, and another to watch a documentary about the excess of unnecessary noise in israel's urban environments, i was relatively focused and studied long into the night.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

pension?

it took me two hours to get my papers sorted out so that i could send them off to an insurance rep who's supposed to get me back on track. two very long hours. i took a break for lunch, and had to make an effort not to choke because pg had me giggling hysterically non-stop. i'm beginning to suspect us both of suffering a weird alternate form of cabin fever in which we're both restless and will do anything to avoid working on our papers.

like blogging. i think it's time to move rooms. at least when i'm working on my netbook i *feel* like i'm supposed to be focused.

zombie birthday to you

right now my brain is wired for nothing more than feeding, shambling and moaning.

pg and i didn't go rollerblading last night because we weren't feeling up to it, instead we watched the first season finale of the walking dead before i sat down until 4am to punch out half a paragraph.

it was at that hour that i realized that i was too tired to function, but unfortunately i wasn't able to sleep, even with a melatonin tablet. i don't know what time i did finally stop tossing and turning, but waking up started about an hour and a half ago and i'm not sure that the process is complete.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

dial down the weather

it's not as bad as last week, but still about ten degrees too much. waking up early this morning for a meeting at microsoft didn't make the day easier - it was two hours long and i started to feel terrible about halfway through.

the boss made faces at me when i informed him that i've already made my 100 hours this month and that i'm behind on my papers. tough shit.

i had a great salad for lunch, then joined the guys for three hours of great anime - minus twilight of the dark master which was mind-bendingly bad. in a good way, perhaps, but only if one's properly high on psychedelics.

i came home through the insufferable heat and hid myself in the bedroom with the air-conditioner on; i felt terrible when pg woke me up for dinner.

both of us feel terrible after the "traditional" food and shopping, and right now are trying to decide if we're going rollerblading or not...

teenage american distraction

i got a few sentences out this evening. it isn't enough. truth is, i didn't want to work in the study (i'm using my netbook in a more comfortable environment), but pg's watching gilmore girls and the stupid* is as distracting as a train wreck. or twilight.

* not a typo

i find the idea that someone has engineered a jellyfish from a rat comforting.

Monday, July 23, 2012

indoors

i woke up at a reasonable time this morning, and proceeded to study.

studying's hard sometimes. i forgot how weary reading loads makes me.

aside from a ten-minute interruption by my boss (it turns out the documentation we received from the company we're integrating with was faulty*, so i had to add a couple of new options), a nap in the afternoon that was as difficult to rouse myself from as i'd anticipated, and after the first few minutes and some solid trance beats i fell into a good rhythm on my evening run.

* software developers need some method of automatic documentation. something that the compiler produces without the need even for comments. perhaps a compiler that adds the comments into the code and publishes documentation to relevant wiki pages?

---

it looks like my partner on the new venture has gotten cold feet. that sucks.

it looks like the number of the artists who want to collaborate with me on my graphic novel is increasing. that doesn't suck at all.

dream symbols - freud would be proud

i just dreamed that three men in suits were robbing me while i was at home. when i realized what was happening i punched the first guy, who laughed and struck me back. they began walking out, telling me that they were from the municipality, and had come for very specific items that were rightfully theirs. they were actually convincing enough that i found myself apologizing for attacking them. suddenly i noticed that one of them had my ipod in hand, but by then it was too late and they got away.

it got me too

i finally realized that there are many things less worthy of blogging about than tweeting about, and i've combined the two [look! to the right! no, the other right!] in an attempt to cut down on the amount of text i attempt to capture in this format.

...

i went in to work with an express, simple, ultra-important mission and informed all and sundry that i was only in for two hours and that they would be consumed by said mission. instead, i didn't get anything done about it except for an hour-long strategy meeting, and spent the following five hours transforming another service into a worker role and discovering all sorts of weird and wonderful "features" along the way.

it was very late and i had a headache*, and i'm glad that i got home in time to go climbing with pg. the place was crawling (literally) with young kids, so it wasn't a good time to be there, but we made a good evening of it nonetheless and i almost (!) managed to pull myself completely over the 100% horizontal overhang. that was enough to satisfy me, i'll be hitting that again first thing next time.

* i had an argument with one of the guys that got ugly. it began with me trying to reconcile something that had gone wrong during a brief meeting, and i was quite upset to find that i'd made it worse. afterwards, scr told me that it wasn't me who'd gotten him all riled up and that he was only taking out the other frustrations, but either way i feel shitty about it. and i feel shitty about feeling shitty about it, because it was an argument about office politics and i know i don't want to be there dealing with all their bullshit. i wish i could turn off my "care" feature sometimes. thanks mom.

after showering, having it out with co-worker (it was friendly and peaceable and we achieved understanding) and quickly patching the new worker role, pg and i went out in search of dinner. we ran into karnaf on the way - it was only a little awkward - and eventually found ourselves at a sushi place fairly close by... my tofu noodles were decent. pg's sushi wasn't so delicious.

it's now something like two hours since we've been back, and i've been in touch with another artist, filed all my hours (i've just about reached my quota for the month, so it turns out that i was as busy as i felt), and now that i've mentioned it i haven't the slightest notion of where all that time went. i'm gonna study myself to sleep now.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

to the office

i don't want to go, but there are some things that really need face to face contact. like, everything with my boss :S

i sort of finished my first paper yesterday, and while i'm not pleased with it i know i can always resubmit it with corrections afterwards. i finished it just in time, too, before some of the guys came around and we finally watched iron sky.

iron sky is wonderful - terrible, but wonderful. beautifully made, funny story, and the whiteface thing after my paper about blackface made my head spin. it was enjoyable watching in a group that had important info to contribute; important, like physics in space and finnish politics. i definitely recommend this movie.

---

between the movie and bed, i found myself highly agitated and sending long mails: i'm dealing with someone working in a direction i've specifically instructed him not to (co-worker is messing up the UX for sorter's project and does not understand why i don't want him to waste time incorporating backwards compatibility for internet explorer) and with someone else who thinks that building a product that allows for future expansion is a deal-breaker (and he has the opinions of friends and family to back him up... opinions about a type of product that does not exist yet and so nobody can know how people will think to use it).

*sigh*

---

i was woken up early this morning by a phone call from an electric company technician on his way to disconnect my tenant from the grid. that was unpleasant. it took two unanswered phone calls and two long sms'es before he got back to me to apologize and let me know he was sorting it out :S

thinking big

someone is trying to secure real rights for dolphins and white. i hope they win.

google is also trying to do some good: but in this case, i just hope they don't make things worse. getting regular mexican civilians caught up in the drug wars just doesn't sound like something that will help. if they really wanted to stop the insanity over there, they should consider stopping it at the source: the united states of america, and its ridiculous war on drugs. if they could sort that out, then the drug wars would be vaporized.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

just in case...

just in case anyone needed another reason for taxing drugs and regulating their production instead of criminalizing them, the glasgow anthrax scare should suffice to demonstrate that not maintaining oversight over the supply chain is a very bad thing.

(do i really need to remind everyone that portugal let go of the war on drugs, and have not suffered as a result? probably.)

and speaking of regulation: artist manipulation is rife in the music industry. the producers are not being rewarded fairly for their works, and it's not because of piracy: piracy has recently been correlated with higher revenue. we really need to wrap our heads around the internet.

---

after a run yesterday evening, pg and i went to the bloom bar to hear mindless echoes perform, stopping on the way at yamisan for dinner. both were delightful.

now that i've slept late - the last hour or so in bed spent trying to make my mental block (possibly caused by stress) explode with a failed attempt at meditation - and fired off a bunch of important emails, i think i'm about ready to get stuck in to finishing a paper that just doesn't want to go anywhere. i think my biggest problem is brevity: i tend to say what needs to be said in about half the minimum length of the paper. so instead of trying to say more, i'm about to give up and stretch my text. hopefully it won't make it completely crap.

Friday, July 20, 2012

incendies

i had a terrible day yesterday, partially caused by the intense heat that i had to brave to my mum's bank and then to work, and mostly by azure sql being completely unscalable and inept. i discovered that it's been dropping the ball for a week (and we don't have centralized error reporting for that system yet), and i spent the day trying to solve a problem that has little to do with us.

that kinda ruined my day. and i didn't make it any easier on myself because i spoke to my "customer" (one of the guys in marketing): i feel a responsibility to explain to him that things aren't working and that he should slow down on increasing system load. unfortunately, he has a responsibility to report to his boss who's very aggressive, and all of a sudden a shitstorm was raining down from above, and my boss was very upset because i'd tarred him with the same feather even if the issue wasn't our fault.

i was stressed because i wanted to go and see incendies on a friend's roof. the screening was due to begin at 8pm and it's the first time he's held a screening on a day that i could make it. at 6.30pm i'd done what i could and needed to get going in order to catch the bus... only the boss was unsatisfied and he kept me there for the next forty-five minutes, hurriedly running load testing to prove that everything was as i'd stated.

so much for trust. so i was running late, and the evening was still hot and sticky, and the buses were completely packed with smelly people (as usual on those buses at those hours)...

the bus dropped me off at 8.05pm and about twenty minutes walk from the apartment. i picked up a bottle of coke and a box of pringles, and only registered after i'd left that i'd paid NIS 27 - that's such a ridiculous price that if i'd stopped to think i would've rather gone out of my way to find another source. that pricing's just offensive, and i fell for it :S

i arrived about twenty minutes later, finding my way even though google maps failed me and the neighbourhood doesn't believe in street signs. i walked up the many flights of stairs to find about seven people on the roof. it would take another half an hour at least before we began the screening...

*sigh*

why is it that after twelve years in this country i still believe that an agreed upon time is not just a polite suggestion?

...

anyway, the movie is unbelievably good. i was blown away, and its theme and its gut-wrenching drama is still sliding around my mind. the bonus is that we watched it with english subtitles (on a surprisingly high quality projector) and it's primarily in canadian french; i found myself getting quite comfortable with it - it's one hell of a way to practice :)

---

i took pg out for waffles, and we had an early night (2-3am counts). and a late morning filled with dreams. my day began with a shopping mission, picking up pg's mom's dog, and then doing almost nothing of value. i've tried to get some of my paper done, but it's not really happening.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

2am troubles

so little time. so... little... time. i took a break in the evening, for the weekly creative writing workshop, which was nice - but i think i was a little too tired to enjoy it. i thought i'd crash when i got home, but pg put my time pressure into perspective and i've added a paragraph in the last couple of hours.

...

the terror attack in bulgaria that killed seven people: what a pointless, senseless waste. and it just deepens my regret that the world is buying all the popular palestinian propaganda, because in addition to it being almost entirely bullshit the israelis have no propaganda machine to speak of. there's a prevailing attitude that the world *must* see through all the lies.

which is a shame. because people are stupid and gullible and lazy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the big groan

microsoft's azure services made my day today. my hours were filled debugging a reported exception that didn't actually happen. it was caused because some of their SQL database features are incompatible with each other.

...

pg and i watched the second episode of walking dead over hamburgers for lunch, and those groans? that's what you could be hearing from me right now.

azure qa

i feel trapped by my pc. i worked long hours yesterday, and ended the day on the frustrating note upon which i've begun the new one: debugging a worker role that runs perfectly locally, and throws weird exceptions in the cloud :S

and every now and again i have trouble with the internet. usually it's just the browser, but restarting that doesn't help so it forces me to either restart the computeror the router instead. it's very annoying.

---

pg seems to be sick, and i'm starting to feel a bit better. the rollerblading route last night was cool, although a lot of it was spent in a shouting match with one of the guys - it began with a misunderstanding, and then turned into a conversation about misunderstandings that was completely lost on him. at least there was a sanity check at the end, someone else had overheard and wanted to know what we were talking about, and he understood what i was getting at.

the bottom line with religion is that it's always a war. if you're not religious, you can say things like "live and let live". but that's because you don't care about cognitive contamination, you're (relatively) happy to discover that you've been wrong all along. but that attitude doesn't hold for a religious person, because any possible contamination is an obstacle to their belief. so every time you present an idea that's somehow incompatible with their worldview, you're forcing *your* beliefs on them. it's a perspective thing, and there's no non-violent way around it (in the long run). this global interconnectedness is anti-religious by nature, because we're constantly exposing ourselves to other opinions and points of view.

in the war of ideas, we cannot achieve zero casualties.

---

it bothers me that i sat online for three hours this morning, until my vision blurred, doing something completely useless and not particularly enjoyable. i could have been sleeping, or working on a paper. why do i make such bad calls?

---

it bothers me even more that israel has formally authorized a university across the green line, effectively ruining any chance for a two-state solution and pulling more funds away from our other, already underfunded establishments. very smart.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

professionalism

sometimes i experience a moment of clarity, and then pride. i was having trouble solving a problem, and i milled around aimlessly in what is the equivalent of winnie the pooh rapping his paw on his head, and eventually a simple solution popped into mind.

once i'd sorted it out, i noticed something else, then something else... and i've made no headway on the specific task i was meant to be focusing on but overall the project is in a much more stable position and what follows will be much easier. and the next project will benefit from this too.

the reason this is of interest to me is that earlier today, when i went out to get lunch for pg and myself, the boss called to interrogate me about my work logs. what i later discovered is that the ceo has taken an interest because we're still not done with something that was supposed to be delivered months ago, and my boss didn't have a clue how to explain it to him.

what particularly bothers me is that every month, prior to billing, i hand him all my logs and ask him to authorize my hours. and he never actually checks.

don't get me wrong - i appreciate the fact that he trusts me and i won't take advantage of him. what i don't appreciate is that he never actually bothers to go over them. i think that's as irresponsible as not updating and keeping updated via email. and now i have to justify all of these moments collectively? to a man who doesn't like hearing technical details?

i'm very glad that pg has "authorized" my quitting at any time. the new project that i've been getting excited about couldn't begin soon enough.

out of the oven, into the oven

it's the story of our people. the weather outside is intensely hot, and sticky, and unreasonable. it only takes about three steps out the door to realize that leaving air-conditioning is a mistake. it's uncomfortable, searing, mind-guttering domination.

"mummy (nature), please can i come out of the oven now?"

"no, my child, not until i hear the *ding* sound that tells me you've learned not to play with the settings."


i left the apartment yesterday to meet with a friend and pick up my copy of desolation jones (which i loaned to him a year or so ago), and aside from an outrageous (and educational) political debate, i discovered that he's interested in becoming a comic artist, *and* he pitched me an idea for a script that i already started working on about six years ago. the world is a strange and wonderful place.

at work, i spent most of my time pressing F5 (i had to reset data before running a new program), and that's something that i really could have done from the comfort of my own home.

i left for a meeting with singer's boyfriend, and within a couple of hours we pretty much closed on a full system spec. looking at the numbers for similar-yet-inferior kickstarter projects, i got the feeling that we might make a ton of cash.

this is all very exciting.

i then returned home, watching a weak episode of romeo x juliet with pg, and went to bed early. i actually slept, all night, and truth be told i could have happily stayed in bed another few hours. instead, i got up a couple of hours ago and have been messing about with small issues, and am almost ready to get serious.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

why fire?

what's really messed up is everyone taking a "left" or "right" stance on this. this is not a left extremist who set himself aligh. this is a miserable man who's given up on a system that's screwed him. the protest is not for left-wingers only, and it's a shame that that's how the media portrays it. the only reason the left-wing parties are the only ones promenently displayed during all the marches is because the right-wingers decided not to join from the get-go.

i'm not saying what he did was a wonderful thing, but it's a clear indicator of ultimate distress and desperation and to judge him as reckless and inconsiderate is not "wrong", rather "irrelevant".

i'm not a socialist - far from it - but i do believe that the way things are being run isn't clean capitalism either. if they're going to take so much of our money, they need to give us something back for it.

and i'm not blaming right-wing governments, either. i think all of our parties, left, right, and right down the middle, are equally guilty.

gco: it's not the way to do things in a non-third world society, that's all it boils down to. even if the government doesnt budge at every tel aviv resident's wish (which they shouldn't anyway), it's still not an acceptable way to do things and make points. it shows the weakness of the protests and the desperation. if the people had so much faith in the protests then there would be no need for this. the protests are lame, pathetic and will change nothing.

a) this is NOT a tel-aviv only thing. it's not a left-wing only thing. anyone who continues to perpetuate the whole left / right thing simply doesn't get what these protests are about. our government, and it doesn't matter if it's this one or the next one, doesn't give a shit about its citizens and that's not democracy in action. WE HAVE NO INTERNAL POLICY, which means that education, health, environment are being neglected. if that's a left-only thing, then everyone on the right is a masochist.

b) it shows the weakness of the protests. that is PRECISELY the point. the protests are useless, voting is useless... so, umm... what exactly is anyone who cares about this country supposed to do?

your comment about the third world is pertinent: we should be living in a democracy, and that's supposed to be a system with representation. not everyone gets what they want, but the majority get a fair deal. if you feel like you're getting a fair deal, you're not the majority. shit - i'm not the majority, but i'm aware that i'm paying taxes that aren't going towards our own infrastructure, and that we're on a downward spiral with governments who don't understand sustainability.

if you think that this dude, after so much frustration and shafting, should have crawled into a corner and quietly offed himself, then what you're saying is that you don't want to hear his voice. did you hear it before?

i didn't.

ground

an hour or so after my last post, after chatting with my mum, i went to bed. it took hours to get to sleep, specifically to remember that i could take a melatonin pill. the night was hot and unpleasant, and my ambitious attempt to wake up early and get some more of my paper done before going to work was disrupted by a dreamathon that went on for about three hours.

i just couldn't get up, i was certain i'd come down with something, and the entire time i was dreading getting a call from my boss.

that call never happened, and eventually i got out of bed and sat down at my pc, actually getting some work done.

---

last night, a protestor who has suffered all manner of indignities and has finally given up, set himself alight. the police were caught lying about it, at least one of the newspapers censored it. the prime minister has promised that someone will look into it, but even if they do, it'll be too little, too late. we're human beings, we're well-behaved, hard-working* citizens. we have lost all faith in these bastards.

* well, most of us.

---

here's another example of why regulation is bad: new drugs are too difficult to test and use.

ownership: i think it's a bit premature to be decrying the end of ownership, but we're certainly beginning to relax our grips on things that don't matter. i have faith that transcending to a virtual economy can improve our society to unquanitifiable degrees.

another week less

dinner on friday was pleasant. if a little awkward. there was a lot of food. and a cousin of pg's who needed a talking to vis-a-vis the scientific method and why bad science isn't a reason to completely 180o from all science, specifically on issues such as antivax idiocy and cellular radiation paranoia, but also touching on nutrition (which is a tricky subject).

i was absolutely exhausted halfway through the dinner, but i still had some gaming left in me. it's kind of like that extra stomache space one saves for dessert. then i went to bed. and then i got up, a while later, deranged by my aching feet. the salt-water didn't work immediately, so i chased it with generous spreading of the contents of a packet of muscle gel that we received as a promotional offer from the marathon (so long ago).

that seemed to work almost instantaneously, but it's hard to tell if that wasn't just the salt finally kicking in :/

---

i spent today working on my paper (still the first of four), and a part of that was watching bamboozled. that movie is as brilliant as it is horrifying, providing the other side of the same coin that makes tropic thunder so amusing. i now have at least a fifth of my paper done, which is a far sight more than was complete this morning.

in the evening i went for a run - i've been tired these past few days, and i think a large part of it is the psychological effect of being unhappy with my work and feeling pressured to write these papers that should be fun. if i search deep, i'm pretty sure i've been through this every time since i rejoined "the academy". anyway, that tiredness affected my run, and i spent most of it thinking "i'm unfit".

damn - it's 1am already. where does the time go?

Friday, July 13, 2012

a waste of shame

[inspired by authors' immortality]

on the one hand, i've done none of what i'd planned to do today. on the other, i've made someone from our department really happy by faithfully performing my webmaster duties, and i've practiced a bit of french, and i've played some more on the rain-slick precipice of darkness.

now to shower and go to rishon lezion for dinner.

late for bed again

i meant to get to sleep hours ago...

but writing scripts takes time...

and manipulating images in paint with noble intentions takes time...

so let's go back in time for a second, so i can clear my inbox a bit. on wednesday, there were a few items that made wired's news list that fit a pattern of sorts...

us looks to build hypersonic aircraft, seeking technology suspiciously like skylon's, which is looking good. on a personal note, igor sikorsky would have been pleased to know that personal helicopters are finally feasible... interesting, no?

also, the japanese can run electricity through concrete and phd gamification is becoming a "thing". all positive.

stiff or tender

my neck and back... shit, my whole body aches. i've been uncomfortable for a lot of the day - specifically my chest, which leads me to suspect a pulled muscle.

i guess i thought that the climbing wall would help loosen me up. i actually performed really well, in spite of the aches, although halfway up the second attempt i felt faint and it took a few minutes before i was capable of supporting pg, let alone climbing back up myself...

... but eventually i felt better, and did well. until the walk back, when i began to feel really old.

---

i woke up at a surprisingly reasonable hour (noon-ish), and tried to get into a paper. then the boss called, and then i got stuck into work for the next hour or two... after finally getting my table storage wrapper class functional, i discovered that my original plan for this project was the only feasible one and that letting my boss talk me out of it was really, really bad.

after a quick chat with scr, who understands my frustration, he spoke to the boss who called me back later to discuss possible solutions. we're going to scrap our attempt to use table storage, and i've just fired off the long, detailed and often snarky email he requested listing the issues and concerns that have plagued me these past months.

i'm now stuck with having to rewrite huge chunks of code, and the boss is beyond desperate. i finished off the email by explaining that my studies have taken a back seat and they can wait no longer.

---

i went to singer's place to return a book i once borrowed, and invited her and her boyfriend to help me realize a sample of an idea i once had. as it turns out, he's just finishing a degree in computer science with a focus on precisely what we'd need to get an app up and running, and the more we talked the more they understood the scope of what i've been talking about, and the more enthusiastic they've both become. so we're now talking about producing a promotional video and raising capital on indiegogo, and if we raise enough... fuck it, i'll reduce my actual work hours to a minimum and focus on flipping the world around instead.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

what a wonderful...

my vision's a bit fuzzy. the bugs (primarily moths) are having their way with me. it took me four hours of tweaking, fiddling and debugging to get my project communicating with azure's table storage in the exact same way that i'd already done it in another project. i can't for the life of me figure out why adding debug code would make a difference.

after four hours, when the code still wasn't running, i began to write a lengthy email to scr and my boss explaining why i wasn't making any headway. as is my wont, i did a final double-triple-quadruple check on my code before firing off the unretrievable, and lo! i found a bug. that without having to sludge through those four hours of nonsense i would have found quickly and easily.

the sun has not yet dawned, yet already i fear i may not have the easiest day ahead of me. this is entirely unreasonable.

---

the creative writing workshop was pretty cool tonight: my answer to the weekly "exercise" got everyone excited for more, and one of the group's poems was really, really good. the long political debate that ended the evening turned out to be fairly edifying:

democracy and capitalism are totally entangled, and can only function when both exist in a close-to-ideal state. but there are no true democracies, and there isn't any "free market" that isn't interfered with.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

which side's to blame?

so ACTA... we thought we'd seen the last of you...

from wired

from michaelgeist

...

i - am - very - disappointed.

graphic-y

on thursday night, i bought and read the first lookouts episode on my phone. aside from it being a great comic, i'm very much impressed by the quality of the app and its web interface counterpart. i heartily advise giving them a look-see, they have plenty of free comics to try it out with.

---

after the rollerblading last night i joined up with botchman and a couple of friends to discover what graffiti in tel aviv is all about. it was a weird experience.

---

when we met up, i was on blades and went into a supermarket to buy water. i was asked to leave because i wasn't wearing a shirt... i live in tel aviv, not bnei brak. what is this?! it's not that it bothered anyone, "it's just policy". i think the main reason i'm irritated by it is that the policy most likely stems from religious concerns... and in judaism, "modesty" is a personal thing that the religious have turned into a social thing. the problem is that the non-religious don't know any better, and it's only a sense of guilt that makes them pander to these foolish demands.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

the end of the weekend

on saturday night, pg's parents dropped me off at home minutes before the first gaming guests arrived. we spent the next few hours on the roof, beginning with fluxx and going two rounds of thunderstone.

thunderstone: the randomizers were cruel, and we played with a couple who refused to plan their moves before their turn. the thing about thunderstone is you have everyone else's turns in which to figure out what steps to take. it was very frustrating.

on sunday, i woke up early to get some work done, then joined pg and her family at an italian restaurant (rustico) for a delicious meal to celebrate her father's birthday. then i was off to work.

i really didn't feel like going to work.

---

between azure's failings and git's, this week has been really shitty. i actually called the boss for a private meeting to explain to him that although there are many advantages to having moved to azure, it creates almost as many problems as it solves. every time we manage to make progress with one of their tools we begin to discover undisclosed caveats, and that's really not a good way to work.

as for git - it's supposed to be by software developers, for software developers. it appears to be geared more towards those masochistic asswipes who believe that gui's are for the weak and that we should never have devolved from coding in assembler. the idea of git is great, and the underlying design is excellent, but in practice it's a mess. there's nothing worse than having git identifying changes that haven't occurred and blocking (blocking!) synchronizing or branch switching until they've been committed. and you can't uncommit, and more and more frequently even committing isn't enough. i can't access code that's sitting on my own damned computer, and i can't share it, so what the hell is it good for?!

not as bad as clearcase, not nearly as good as svn. and i've now read all the documentation... i didn't learn anything helpful. just like everything else in the global code ecosystem: broken.

---

drinks on sunday evening at barbara frye (pg's friend's birthday) were late, and i woke up yesterday feeling the night before. i "worked" until git had me so upset that i couldn't focus, and then spent the evening / night getting started on one of my papers. seriously? the deeper i go into tropic thunder, the more dazzled i am. i can't tell how much is incidental and how much is sheer genius on ben stiller's part.

...

today was almost as bad as yesterday from a work perspective, but i managed to get a fix done in spite of azure's table storage issues and git. they were collaborating, i tell you!

the good news of the day:
1. i got a groovy grade for my french exam! i don't care how much of a curve they graded on, the important thing is that i don't have to take it again.

2. i just flipped my wheels, and it turns out that they weren't ground to the core - that was an illusion. only three were really shaved, so i've flipped them all around and they should be good even for another of the same :)

snow roll

this last weekend i joined a group of rollerbladers who go on "roller hikes" every few weeks during the summer. pg's parents were going (although pg wasn't interested), and they picked me up from my cousin's kibbutz along the way.

travelling with her parents was an experience: not only did it take me back to being a kid dragged along for the ride, totally focused on playing games on my iphone being the equivalent of being stuck into my gameboy back in those days - only every now and again raising my head to look out the window - but driving with them taught me a heck of a lot about pg. we had a good laugh when i eventually got home to tell her about it :)

the trip consisted of two parts: rollerblading on friday evening, and an actual hike on saturday afternoon, with camping and a barbeque in between.

---

the rollerblading:
the route was amazing - 40km that almost entirely consisted of downhills. steep downhills. windy* downhills. on roads that, aside from occassional stretches of "snakes" (rubber filler that can catch your wheels and throw you head-first into the asphalt), are well-constructed and smoothly paved.

* meaning both winding roads and being blasted by strong winds

it's not quite like snow, but it's pretty damned close. unless, of course, you fall.

the first incident occurred when we passed a herd of cows. the first group to pass startled them, and they began to run along the road... but as we (the second group) approached, some of them panicked and ran straight across our paths. in a match-up of a rollerblader versus a cow, it's not difficult to guess who's going to come out on top. we were terrified, and i stared helplessly at each one i passed in the hope that that wasn't the moment that it would thrust itself in my direction with explosive force.

i was a bit shaky after that, and the next downhill was a little longer and a little steeper than i'm used to. by the end of the route i'd find it laughable, but at the time i tried to keep my pace "reasonable". i was coasting behind a guy attempting to use "wings" to slow himself down (to little effect), and just after i passed him i was treated to the sight of the girl in front of me wobbling... then sliding... and then losing her balance completely, flipping sideways and landing solidly on her head before rolling to a stop. i "slammed on the brakes" (a combination of snow-plough and t-stop), watching her for any sign of life and seeing none.

at least by the time i got back up the hill to where she lay i could hear her moaning, and within a minute there were six or seven of us trying to sort her out before loading her into the escort vehicle. she had a nasty gash near the top of her head - she hadn't been wearing a helmet - and when i continued on i was feeling a lot less sure of myself.

what a crap way to begin the route! she barely got to enjoy the beginning... although considering what the rest of it was like, perhaps that's a good thing.

the roads got steeper and steeper, our speeds faster and faster; later, we would discover that we'd been averaging between 50 and 70 kph, which on rollerblades is pretty intense. it *felt* like we were on snow, that rush of high-speed and less-than-perfect control, and it would take me about half the route to understand three important things:

1. real downhills demand commitment. you either do, or you don't. slalom isn't really an option.

2. on lesser hills, crouching forward is a technique to increase your speed. on steeper ones, it's absolutely crucial for maintaining stability.

3. just at that moment where you're flying across the asphalt, barely keeping it together and contemplating the value of your life that you see passing before your eyes, your ego is completely vulnerable to watching your potential mother-in-law coasting past you and looking quite at ease.

pg's mother is one tough cookie.

the last downhill was the craziest, and twice i braved t-stopping because i wasn't certain i could handle the bends. those two attempts to slow down were enough to shave my wheels down to their core.

...

in the final analysis: it was beautiful, it was terrifying, and it's something we really should be doing every week or two!

---

the camping and the barbeque:

the group's not really that interesting, with the topics of conversation by and large being stuck on the trivial. also, there weren't a lot of vegetarian options. so i ate meat, because if it's already bought there's no point in letting it go to waste.

after a horrible night (it was too hot in the tents!) and a stupidly-slow morning (my brain felt melted), we struck camp and went out for a 3km hike with a swimming break in the middle.

---

the "actual" hike:

there was an awkward moment before we set out in which one of the girls boldly stepped up to me and wiped sun-cream that had been disloged by sweat from my chin. i'm very glad that i managed to express the inappropriateness of the action without having to speak, and she apologized and made herself scarce. see, i want to live in a world in which we can all be that intimate with each other without it being a sexual thing, or even in which it being a sexual thing doesn't negatively affect one's other relationships, but we don't. it was a moment that should've meant nothing and instead caused tension :(

overall, it was a fun hike. it was really, really hot though, and the only relief was the natural pool which was a nightmare of hot stones to get out of. the hike ended on a positive note, with pg's father throwing me the keys to his car (woot! i'm finally out of the dog box!) to fetch ice-creams, followed by a long drive home consumed by angry birds.

boring feet

i don't have time to post about my magnificent weekend all at once, so i'm going to do this in bits.

on thursday night, i mentioned to my kibbutz cousin the difficulty i've been having with my feet cramping up at night. to my surprise, she told me of her memories of my great-grandmother, who she'd often find pushing her toes against a wall in the middle of the night.

as it happens, she's friends with a couple on the kibbutz who both suffer the same thing and who have apparently found a solution. for the long run, they make sure to drink a glass of either bitter lemon or tonic water (both amongst my favourite drinks) every day. for immediate relief, a glass of salt water does the trick.

i've now been doing that for a few days. and it works! the only explanation i can think of is that our bodies are sweating out too much unreplenished salt during the summer (it doesn't happen in winter), but i don't think that explains why those drinks in particular help.

Monday, July 09, 2012

ground out

wow - three hours of wrestling with git has me so frustrated that i can't think straight enough to work. on the one hand, that means i don't have an excuse to not get started on my papers that are due all too soon. on the other - i'm taken back to the days of fighting with "rational" software. all i want to do is ignore irrelevant changes!!!

i have a dream... of a day in which human beings are in charge of software development, and develop with other human beings in mind. as opposed to i-miss-my-command-line-and-working-in-assembler-or-binary weirdos.

not that i didn't enjoy assembler, mind. but it's just not a reasonable option now. we've moved on.

---

and another wow - i haven't blogged about my crazy weekend yet. i hope i get a chance soon.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

a little while later...

... on the rain-slick precipice of darkness, in spite of the cut scene issue, is a lot of fun. hooray!

fiddling. imbalanced.

it was a day of "slow and steady" - right until i discovered that the emergency worker role i put in place on sunday was broken: apparently a rather important chunk of code disappeared. or i didn't write it because i got distracted? either way, i was going crazy trying to debug it (hurriedly, of course), and eventually asked my new teammate for assistance.

he reminded me that i was working locally, with a debugger, and could set breakpoints. how bizarre! (o_O)

the other project that i'd put into production before going to bed turned out to have a different problem; another half-a-job that i can put down to a lack of concentration.

i... need... a... holiday. also, the shot of rum when i got home was desperately consumed and vital to my being able to leave for the theatre immediately afterwards.

fiddler on the roof was magical. i absolutely loved it - and it made me consider the wandering nature of the jews: i believe that's the problem that living in israel creates for our identity. if the central theme of being jewish is being the other, then living in a country in which we aren't the other kinda rains on the parade.

my teeth are super-sensitive, and i believe that's from the extreme heat of yesterday's soup and the pre-theatre coffee this evening; or it could be the ice-cream coming off the stick and being too large to spit out. that was a very awkward and gargly minute of my life.

i've just spent the past hour and a half fixing up my projects, because between tomorrow and sunday i don't want to know that they exist.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

blistered

today... was really tough. it was harsh and tense and frustrating, so much so that a couple of times i found myself jumping out of my seat in case i literally smashed a fist through my beautiful monitor at work...

breakfast with my aussie cousin was a bit weird, because they were packing and the kids were in serious whinge mode. i wouldn't have minded if we weren't in a coffee shop - but these parents at least make an effort to keep them calm. unlike the patrons i'm used to.

after that i went to the post office, which was a madhouse. the numbers weren't working and the teller couldn't give a crap, just sitting there and waiting for people to approach her. seeing as we were all holding on to our numbers... apparently, none of us had anything better to do. i sometimes wonder... if *i* had a job as demanding as a post-office teller, would i be as friendly and considerate of my customers? do they send these people to special training to turn them into such inconsiderate bastards?

i grabbed my copy of bizarro heroes to the bus stop. [i'm punting him because he's funny, clever, and kind of needs the sales boost]

i looked at my watch just before i got there, and it was 11.15am. by the time i walked into the office it was 1.30pm. i don't know what the hell all the traffic was about, but it was nuts from the centre of tel aviv all the way to herzeliya. more convincing evidence that human beings (and israelis in particular) shouldn't be allowed to drive cars.

the sweltering heat didn't make the travelling any more comfortable.

i spent two hours going crazy over github: everyone uses it, it's widely touted as being a best-of-breed, and yet the forums are filled with people like me discovering that some of the fundamental things just aren't there. or don't work properly. after about two hours i gave up, because i only had two more hours to go before i had to be on my way to a meeting.

bonus motivation: once again, trouble with my paycheck :/

i began carefully putting my integration plan into effect - it was a complex plan, because i had to modify a lot of sensitive and fragile production procedures. the extra caution was warranted, because i *did* miss things in my planning phase... and those things made me check and re-check that everything was functional at every stage. so this took a long time, and was very tense, and i was not impressed when my internet connection suddenly died (and only mine) and wouldn't come back without a restart. a number of development environments and remote desktops were behaving badly too, lagging and so on, and the combination of it all was driving me demented!

finally, at 6pm - the time i had to leave - i uploaded my worker role to the azure platform and set it in motion. it registered just fine... and then nothing happened. i had no time to debug, and it cost me fifteen minutes to determine that it really wasn't working and that everything else was fine; then another fifteen minutes to explain (not very calmly) to the boss that i had to go and that we weren't finished yet.

just then dropbox's service went down. convinced that my computer was continuing to harrass me, i tried restarting the application multiple times before giving up and restarting the computer.

all this was the universe's way of making damned sure that i'd be late for my meeting. i arrived twenty minutes late, with a desperate need to pee, and drink alcohol, and not necessarily not at the same time. once i got settled and we'd ordered the world began to make a bit of sense. at least until my soup arrived, when i scalded my lips and tongue (i'm right now trying to avoid anything like teeth contacting the inside of my lips, and failing miserably).

the meeting was intriguing.

after dinner, i bussed home to make a desperate attempt to debug before going rollerblading... we were almost late, but in spite of badly behaving software (at home? at work wasn't enough?!) i managed to find the problem and get things up and running.

---

the rollerblading route was fantastic.

---

sunday:

the morning was great until pg and i had a tiff that came out of nowhere and was really silly. that feeling bled into a long*, ugly day at work building an unrelated worker role because of some service issues instead of deploying the one i'd been constructing all weekend; it finally went away when i got back home to watch the new star trek movie with pg (who hadn't seen it). i'd forgotten how much i'd enjoyed it!

* essentially a 9 to 5, only shifted three hours

in the middle of the night i found myself with a new recruit (he's going to build one of my projects for me while i mentor him) and finally getting around to scripting the comics. i got a first draft of half an episode done before finally hitting the sack at five in the morning...

---

monday:

... and waking up at 10am with pg because i had Stuff to do. i began by firing off my cv to a number of companies and getting in touch with an important person i got excited about a month and a half ago (he got back to me later in the day, on a positive note), then went off to work.

instead of spending the two hours at work integrating (the stuff i did today - good thing i didn't, in retrospect) i spent it "collaborating" with my new team-mate. at least we're finally turning the same pages.

the heat was oppressing and the sunlight was painful, so leaving the air-conditioned office to meet pg at the cinemateque was a crazy thing to do. even crazier? watching redline on the big screen! it's amazing. and apparently i didn't miss much even though i had trouble reading the hebrew subtitles :P

i had a bit of a narcoleptic episode in the middle of it though... haven't suffered that in a while.

while still mind-blown when we walked out, the boss called to describe a new customer that required urgent patches to be made to one of our critical systems. the man just doesn't learn :(

after being struck by the sudden, terrifying realization that i have four weeks to put together four papers and no direction, i took a short nap, quaffed an energy drink, plugged in my headphones and zombies, ran!. i'm now convinced that it was a worthy purchase, but i sent them an email to tell them that their pricing is stupid.

i also asked them about the zombie pursuits. they kind of *forgot* to let us know that the zombies are always behind us, and that evading them demands increasing one's previous thirty seconds' pace by 20%. now that i'm armed with that data, i don't need to wonder if i'm running right into the horde :S

either way, their detailed breakdown of each run is excellent.

i spent the evening coaching my new recruit, animus, and getting some of the teamwork work done. i tried going to bed early, but it was too hot to sleep. i turned on the air-conditioner and that only helped a little... i ended up lying in bed, huddled over my iphone scribbling notes about paper topics. at least it was something productive, the rest of the time until i finally passed out at 5am was spent tossing, turning, getting up every so often to stretch my legs...

---

this month's wired makes a number of strong cases for ridding ourselves of regulating bodies. in particular, the interview with peter diamandis. in case you're not planning on reading it, here's the quote of the day [select the text in order to read it, i just didn't want to spoil it for anyone who clicks the link]:

how do you maintain your optimism amid the deadening barrage of bad news from around the globe?

diamandis: our brains are wired to look for negative information. the amygdala is the danger center. our senses are routed through it before they get to the cortex. when we heard a rustle in the branches, we thought tiger, not wind. that’s why, in the news, if it bleeds it leads. but the facts are absolutely clear. the world is getting better at an extraordinary rate. the technologies available for solving problems are becoming more powerful and empowering more people. will there be problems? disasters? pandemics? terrorist attacks? of course. but humanity picks up and keeps moving. in this country, lifespans nearly doubled in the last century. per capita income more than tripled, and the cost of food, energy, transportation, and communications have dropped exponentially. that’s my source of optimism. that and a realization i made early on that if there’s a problem, i’m going to solve it. once you see the world that way, it’s a different place.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

busy or not

i dedicated today to work, and i did spend a couple of hours productively. i finally succeeded, too, and i'm mostly certain that i've covered all the bases.

that was part one of the project.

as for the rest of the afternoon, i spent a lot of it in front of the pc but doing other things. like watching that video i posted about earlier. it's actually been a good saturday, especially with the run and the shopping (in particular, the weight-training return with the overloaded bag), and i'm now deciding whether to get cracking on part two or... or do something else entirely.

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industry-related links:

wordpress founder endorses distributed workforce - it's not just me preaching this!

quora: what's the single most valuable lesson you've learned in your professional life?

quora: what are effective ways to assess if someone is good at "getting things done"?

bezos knows about quitting

artistic links:

this little bot isn't real... yet. but it's on the cards.

Darwin and the Wasp – A Sceptic’s Sestina - Camille Ralphs is exquisite!

the gaming

firstly, it must be said that the steam / hero academy crossover is incredibly appealing!

secondly, my second zombie run was much better. what's really cool about it is the tracking (viewing maps etc. on the website post-run), but for some reason it only began to register the start of the mission halfway (although it was monitoring the time just fine :/), so i have this crazy diagonal line through buildings and a river for the first thirty minutes. i'm pretty certain that was when i unlocked my phone to monitor the distance of the fast-approaching zombies, because i wasn't sure if i was running towards them or away from them (it's actually pretty scary when all you have to go on are audio beeps).

thirdly, i've installed steam and the third installment of on the rain-slick precipice of darkness. i'm so far disappointed, but only because a technical glitch is making the cut-scenes bug out - otherwise, it's looking absolutely brilliant.