Wednesday, July 31, 2013

sink or swim

wow! how did another holiday weekend disappear so fast? without me blogging at all? i must have been busy :D

i'm currently uploading my mars one application video after an evening spent with an ice pack on my leg and stuffing myself silly on a really good salad and dessert...

---
friday night:

the wolverine! just what i like in a comic movie. very, very cool and a lot of fun :)
we did nothing after that but crash in front of the telly until braindead.

---
saturday:

we got up early in the morning to join some friends of SxS's on a boat. i wore a peak cap for the first time since childhood, and i'm told it suits me.

we began the boat ride drinking gin and tonic. fort lauderdale's really impressive when you travel past its houses on the water! it's also pretty cool from the ocean. has it really been that long since i was last in the ocean? damn. we stopped for the perfect swim (my first since the operation), and the captain had just finished attaching the tube to the back when the storm broke. massive, threatening black clouds swarmed the inlet accompanied by drenching rain and lightning. driving into that to get to a dock was pretty damned intense! and quite fun ^_^

after half an hour eating and drinking to while away the time (yuca fries and bottomless iced tea) the skies cleared and we continued back. suddenly we found ourselves amidst a group of anchored boats blaring pop music and sharing jello shots, so we joined them for a beautiful afternoon in the water tossing around a hefty coconut and playing fetch with very cute dogs.

afterwards we went to a raw vegan restaurant. raw vegan restaurants are not my cup of tea. they're definitely not SxS's :P

we returned home exhausted. i watched some ufc before my cousin picked me up for a cup of coffee: i haven't seen her in twenty years! we talked for hours, and could have talked more but she had to get back to her family.

---
sunday:

SxS and i were both broken after the previous day, so aside from shopping for sports equipment and eating a large and delicious meal at chipotle, we spent sunday on the couch with a friend of his watching americans playing soccer and enjoying moshe kasher's stand-up.

my israeli apartment: not only did i want pg's agent to manage my apartment's rent and sale, but my tenant woke up at the last minute and realized that he needed a couple more days. those cost me a lot of email time typing in hebrew on a canadian macbook. not exactly fun.

we ate take-out and watched pirates of the caribbean (the third one) to round out the nothing day. not good for the eyes, but definitely good for the soul :)

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monday:

monday was such a beautiful day! i *had* to go to the pool. i was on my way there with my hands full of towel and book and keys, thinking to myself that i had better remember to take my cellphone out of my pocket before getting in the water.

i didn't.

iphones can't swim.

i enjoyed the afternoon in spite of this, continuing to read kevin mitnick's memoirs and alternating between feeling like a complete imbecile and laughing at myself and the world.

[oh, man! i just realized that i scanned a photo my cousin brought of twelve year-old me and her kids and it's lost now...]

i picked up lunch at 4th generation, which is a pretty cool place. putting a veggie patty on a bagel surprised them, but it was absolutely delicious.

the drive down A1A (i wasn't allowed to put on ice ice baby but i really wanted to) was cool, that's one impressive stretch! i arrived at the airport on time, the only surprise was having a tsa official look at me and go "eh, what's up, doc?"

i hoped he wasn't talking to me, i looked away. then down, and realized i was wearing my bugs bunny shirt. i looked back up at him and signaled that i got where he was coming from.

"yeah, you looked at me like i was crazy or something."
"sorry, i forgot what shirt i was wearing today."

he wouldn't be the only one to comment. otherwise, boarding was smooth and we paid for it by waiting on the runway for over an hour. the delta staff were very careful to explain that the connecting flights would be made aware of the delay without even insinuating that they'd actually care enough to wait for us. this happened a few times, including just after landing.

detroit is beautiful from above in twilight.

we ran (with me flap-flapping my flip-flops) to get across detroit airport in time. we had plenty of time. that sucked.

after arriving late and close to midnight, it only made sense that they'd park the plane on the side of the airport furthest from passport control. i made it out just in time to not be able to make the metro home.

---
tuesday:

it was late, and i made a terrible decision to take the bus and then night-bus from downtown. the bus took forever and without google maps i couldn't find the right bus stop so i ended up taking a cab anyway. all told i lost an hour and saved $5. not exactly worth it.

...

no phone meant no alarm clock, but i woke up at alarm time on the dot this morning.

wr is dating a friend of scrappers?!?! how did that happen? [she's one of the slow couple which i guess broke up] i was most amused by the background check i was asked to provide :)

my new old iphone (refurbished) isn't ready, so i was given the same galaxy that made me love iphones more before. on my way out i was given its big brother, which might be better but i think it's too big to be a phone :P

---
the big meeting: our cto didn't like what i had to say at all, and megaman backed him up.
"no, we're going to do it this way. it's a fact, it's already been decided."
"oh, okay then."
... everybody else talks until they finally arrive at the same conclusions and suggestions i'd offered in the first place...
"oh, so all i had to do was agree with you guys to get what i wanted in the first place?"

i realized that wasn't necessary the second those words left my mouth. i'm very glad my "i told you so" was ignored.

---
i've been mixing the creatine and the protein powder, and while it doesn't taste bad it does make me feel a bit sickly. i can't explain it better than that.

---
finally - back to training! my skipping was horrible, i kept managing to somehow smack the back of my head. my legs weren't responding correctly to kick signals. my back and neck were a bit sore. there were only two of us, so we got an ultra-light sparring session which proved to me that i have a long way to go. it also made me think about the fact that sparring involves being hit in the head, even if not at full power.

hmmm.

the other guy wasn't satisfied with the intensity level when we were done and so got sent back to the punching bags to do a hundred roundhouses with each leg. i decided to join him, and while i'm really proud that i finished them i'm not so proud of my technique (directly related to that lack of a kick response). i also managed to connect on the wrong part of my shin a lot - i didn't count those - so that's what the ice-pack (frozen peas) was for.

i had to go shopping afterwards, and in addition to the usual i picked up fairly cheap microwave stir-fried veggies: *that's* how i'm going to make my salads from now on!

i can't believe that i've spent more than two hours on this post and my mars one application. i've got shit to do tomorrow!

---
prosthetic advances usually inspire me, but everyman advances really make me happy. for this message i'm proudly south african ;)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

cyberpunk day

it's late on a friday afternoon as i begin typing this all up. i have spent the afternoon glued to my monitor, catching up on comics and news. mostly gaming news. two items are particularly exhilarating.

1. shadowrun returns came out yesterday, and it looks really, really cool!

2. satellite reign's pitch gives me goosebumps. shut up and take my money!!!

also, bionic contact lenses? pretty rad.

---
wednesday:

wednesday morning was cloudy with the sun peeking through and a cool wind blowing. it was the perfect morning to skip work to hang around coffee shops and comic book stores! but that's not what i did. i went to work.

after long hours in a design meeting with all of the developers getting excited about quickly and correctly getting out of the mess moonlighter's left us, megaman vetoed with a "fuck it, nothing's going to change on such short notice". "anguish" is a word that accurately sums up my feelings. we eventually managed to compromise, but on this topic we are not playing the same game.

aota has turned wednesday into "office wellness day" by bringing in a massage therapist / acupuncture specialist. usually skeptical, and always cheap, i went in for a half hour session. that woman took little time figuring out what was troubling me and how much pressure she could get away with applying, and after a severely painful experience (through which i almost fell asleep, i had to explain the concept of lekker-seer to her) i floated out of there feeling like my neck and back were made of jelly. it was nothing short of blissful!

strangely, that didn't motivate me to work. ceh's job was to migrate a server setup from windows to linux, and i babysat him through several headaches until very late. it was only after he left that i'd begin to understand just how sloppy he'd been, and we'd spend almost all of my working thursday dealing with that :(

---
a reflection in my monitor made me spin around just in time to see the cleaning lady throwing the paper bag containing my eye-drops in the trash. jesus!

---
i went to my favourite chinese restaurant for dinner, which would have tasted a lot better if i hadn't burned my tongue on the first bites. why do i do that? it's not like i don't know better, and it's not like i forgot. my brain can be so stupid sometimes.

i watched about half of kung fu panda 2 when i got home, then went to bed early. i was too tired to pack.

---
thursday:

a morning of epically long dreams involving bullying and tribunals. i woke up with my eye behaving strangely: was i treating my eye okay? could the way i'd had my face pressed against the massage table done any damage? were my sleep goggles protecting me?

after my ordeal with leap motion, i was most upset to discover that my pre-order had failed anyway. they sent me a code to re-order with the pre-order conditions, but i'm not satisfied by my experience. i hope *this* attempt doesn't get screwed up.

packing was fairly simple, work was super-stressed. only because i was trying to get everything together before leaving and not a lot was going right.

---
megaman's made me feel a little uncomfortable by splitting up the team and assigning me to web development. he has a tendency to pigeonhole and aside from not wanting to be left out of our core tech i have a feeling that if that's what happens we're going to end up in deep shit.

having said that, it's not my company and it would be a relief to have less responsibility. i want the company to succeed and i want everything to be great, but most of my job is hand-holding and that's tiring and not very exciting.

---
aota played chauffeur and drove me to the airport, allowing me an opportunity to vent before flying. everything was smooth as all i had to worry about was my backpack. i had plenty of time to finish this month's wired and begin reading mitnick's ghost in the wires. walking through the airport in atlanta with pj harvey - when under ether playing was pretty surreal.

it only takes one asshole to ruin your day. or flight. the well-dressed gentleman sitting next to me turned on his ipad as the plane was taking off. now i know there's talk of dropping the rule, but in addition to it being a rule it made me quite nervous. i turned to him and told him that, asking him to please wait until we were in the air.

"i'm just going to continue reading," he told me, quite condescendingly.
"thank you," i responded, immediately wanting him to die a horrible death. the exact thought was "die in a fire," but then i had a vision of that fire being caused by us hitting the ground and instantly regretted it. i hated him for the rest of the trip, at least whenever i wasn't transfixed by kevin mitnick.

SxS arrived to pick me up just as i left the building and it was a long, chatty drive to his place. it was quite late when we eventually called it a night. i put in my drops for the last time before going to bed.

---
today:

i woke late after non-stop dreaming. entertaining dreams! i took my morning slow, beginning an internet catch-up that's interminable even if i have found myself at the end of the day with a much clearer to-do list.

one important part of that list was making contact with the agent taking care of pg's apartment. pg left for europe after scaring my tenant off. the tenant will be leaving in a few days, and pg's brother and mother will be handling the hand-off. my mum and i want to sell the apartment, but until it's sold we don't want it to stand empty. so if this man can make our lives easier or organize a buyer, that would be pretty neat.

---
SxS took me to whole food market, and my mind was blown. not only by the selection - vegan heaven! - but by the quality of everything available. everything i've tasted from their prepared foods has been delicious! i haven't stopped snacking all day :)

we went out for lunch and i ordered a vegan burger, not realized that "pepper jack" is a type of cheese. all the other ingredients were listed! so it was a vegan burger with cheese. which i had to scrape off, leaving me with just a patty and buns.

*sigh*

the weather here in florida has been surprisingly comfortable. i've been indoors and air-conditioned all day, but those moments outside have been decidedly pleasant. this being on holiday thing is pretty cool, too.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

humble pie

i bought into the humble bundle last week, and while i was waiting for my follow-up exam on thursday i began reading wil wheaton - just a geek. i've been reading it on and off, finishing it this evening. the first time i ever heard his name was on the big bang theory. the second time was on the guild. i'd already seen an episode or two of tng, but i had no idea he was wesley!

the story he tells is insightful and interesting and personal, and i'm now unreservedly a wil wheaton fan. not of the actor, not of the writer, but of the actual wil wheaton. he really does deserve his break.

---
in this book, wil's done what i was intending to do with all of my army posts: use extracts to tell the surrounding stories. it's inspired me to attempt to return those posts to this blog - i cannot for the life of me recall why i removed them in the first place, but i've kept backups. let's see how this goes...

second-hand nightmares

i suddenly remembered one of the weird dreams i had this morning. my forearms and hands were constructed in an alien fashion, human-shaped and fully functional but with a lot of gaps, kind of like a crustacean's exoskeleton but with less meat keeping everything together. i woke up soon after becoming frustrated by insects that were flying into the cavities i couldn't scrape them out of and being forced to bang my arms on corner surfaces to get rid of them as if emptying the contents of a tin of beans.

---
our project manager (darn) was a bit shaken up this morning, and i had to get the whole story. we began with confusing excess political correctness, as he felt so uncomfortable saying "handicapped" that he used "special" instead. he proceeded to explain that he'd been travelling on the metro when a mixed group of mentally handicapped and blind people filled the car he was in. one of the mentally handicapped threw up on the floor right next to him, and he wanted to get out of there but didn't want to seem like an asshole. i think that it's perfectly alright to leave if you feel uncomfortable, but he felt guilty. someone working with the group came over with a towel and cleaned up so he felt a little better about it... but then they arrived at his station and began shuffling out.

he tried to quickly slip through a gap in the doorway, and as he stepped outside heard a sickening noise. he turned around to discover that he'd tripped up one of the guide dogs, and in turn caused a chain reaction that resulted in a whole group of the blind falling on the floor. they were all lying awkwardly, very confused, and he felt terrible and ashamed. while their helpers set about picking them up... he ran away as fast as his legs could carry him.

---
today was a pretty good day, although there were a few incidents with the network. hopefully it'll all be over soon. we have a contractor helping us out with our backend, and i was embarrassed to show him a piece of code that moonlighter had written that was causing weirdness. i explained the fix and confirmed that we were ready to put that kind of thing behind us...

a very strange and sad incident occurred today: aota made a mistake and the cfo dressed her down disproportionately harshly. this is the man who called me out for my tone of voice when dealing with cam2's incompetence? apparently aota didn't say a word, and the cfo was so embarrassed when he calmed down that he left early.

i understand he's been stressed of late, but damn.

---
my father was a complete bigot, totally racist and a hardcore homophobe. i once tried to convince him that i was coming out the closet with "dad, my boyfriend's nigerian so i'd appreciate it if you dialed back the racism a notch".
there was a moment of dead silence, absolutely ruined by my mother's laughter when she realized that i was talking shit.

...

okay, so maybe i didn't say it as cleverly as the way i just quoted it. either way, thanks, mom.

---
israel brain gain? a representative tried to contact me and i checked out what appears to be their mission statement. if they want skilled israelis to return to the country, perhaps they ought to work on making the country an attractive place for smart people to live?

just saying.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

closing monday

as a busy bachelor, buying fresh produce is a bitch, it's not cheap and it has a frustratingly sisyphean short shelf life. i've reached the conclusion that in addition to meal replacements and supplements, eating out every night is not only more convenient and satisfying, but financially responsible too.

or at least it would be if eating out was less complicated for vegans.

---
today began with my purchasing two weekend passes for otakuthon for myself and scrapper. i can't wait ^_^

it looks like we're wresting control from the cto. it also looks like our network troubles aren't over yet. it looks like i need to go to bed early tonight.

i felt monday today, i took a contractor out for lunch and i'm not sure if i ate too much or if the punjab palace's food is as bad for me as it is delicious. this is the third time i've walked out of there in dire need of a siesta.

i've been given a galaxy phone for the week and promised a new (refurbished) iphone next week, but i'm not doing anything until i can figure out how to backup my contact data to gmail. the internets has advices.

Monday, July 22, 2013

what sundays are meant to be like

how did we go from hot and humid back down to 18 degrees and chilly in four days?!?!

i'm not really complaining, by the way.

today was awesome. from pacific rim to piknic electronik to shakespeare in the park... *this* is how sundays are supposed to be :)
1. *nerdgasm*

i think i've been waiting my whole life for pacific rim. in 3D. on imax. i may have drooled a little. and giggled too much ^_^

2. piknic

dubstep and groovy beats with yang. i wasn't there for long, just long enough to be disappointed that i had to choose between shakespeare and mat the alien.

3. a midsummer night's dream was beautifully executed in such a manner that had everyone laughing out loud throughout the production. the acting, most notably the acting of bad acting, was superb and while the changes to characters and script were noticeable they weren't distracting at all.

vfmp and his boyfriend took me through the village - i've never been - and we sat chatting until it was time to call the weekend to an end.

i'm exhausted, i don't even have the energy to eat anything. it's been a perfect weekend!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

peak to trough - part iii

[... continued]

i've just returned home from an hour and a half of non-stop chatter with vfmp.
1. my suspicion that he's gay was confirmed.
2. my worries that he'd see this as a date were allayed (i've been through that awkwardness enough).
3. i was pleasantly surprised to discover he's into shadowrun.
4. i was completely surprised to discover that he's studied literature, is an aspiring author and is into shakespeare.

meeting a vegan like-minded geek the same age as me at tristar? what the hell are the chances?! so i'll be joining him and his crew at a midsummer night's dream at la fontaine tomorrow evening ^_^

---
friday:

it was a stormy day, and blessedly cooler. the workday was sensible and relatively relaxed! what a pleasure. megaman came by at some point to inform me that we'd acquired a few more cubicles, and i moved to one of the new window cubicles (!) to make room for one of the core developers who'd been left on the other side of the building.

scrapper's coming to visit on the 6th! i'm really looking forward to seeing him and introducing him to montreal. heavymtl: two two-day passes acquired ^_^

my new cubicle was the perfect place to see the weather suddenly flip from pleasantly cloudy to crazy storm replete with tornado warnings. after megaman sent an email warning of potential sharknados, the office atmosphere immediately switched to weekend mode. we would have gone out to happy hour, only the rain and the wind made that idea seem rather unattractive.

while debating venturing outside, i discovered that jock hadn't completed a task i'd assigned him and so i informed him that he would be finishing it before going out for drinks. it was only then that he made it clear that the instructions i'd given him had gone way over his head; i'm always surprised when an engineer(ing student) whose primary (academic) focus is logic and problem solving doesn't *get* something fundamental to software development. and this is jock, who has been teaching our qa manager the basics of software development.

huh.

i went into mentor mode and started at the very beginning. i taught him the principles of comment-driven coding and i introduced him to the art of deconstructing problems into their simplest component parts. knowing a programming language is not enough, one needs to know how to use it effectively.

i'm not sure if i've mentioned this before but jock's attitude towards the world is nothing short of inspirational. in particular his dedication to figuring things out under the gun. on a number of occasions i offered him the chance to go home and continue on monday - i knew that he was going to be driving a lot last night and i didn't want to mess up his plans. he refused, he was going to finish this. i was happy to oblige, and a couple of hours later we were done. he was done, i should say. and i was satisfied.

so was he. he was very grateful, filled with praise and insistent that i do what i did with him with every intern as they arrive. in addition to being flattered, two things really hit home during that talk before we left the building:

1. the interns, regardless of their academic tracks or their previous experience, will not be prepared for the level of work that i consider to be absolutely basic.

2. my academic qualifications aside, i have a lot more valuable experience than i give myself credit for. not in terms of what's on my resume - my resume is a vague summary that's too high level to really appreciate. what really counts is the generic methodology i've developed through the years, and what has become natural to me is actually counter-intuitive to most people in the industry and almost every new graduate.

jock's words combined with my mother and the cto both praising me on my patience and teaching ability this week have inspired me to create a blog (not anonymous, so i won't link here) to share my methodology.

it was a cooler evening and i walked into a cooler apartment, i spent the next couple of hours working on the blog (and the first post, but i need good examples before i actually put it up) and then i watched an episode of tng to see wil wheaton in action before going to bed.

---
saturday:

a long wake from a mad epic dream involving a driver's license exam in an ontario swamp at 3am and being offered career assistance by a teacher with worse connections than i already had.

after posting the first part of this sequence i did some shopping, watched another episode of tng and some ufc before resuming with the second part. then i went to godmother's for dinner.

---
godmother went for a run today with yin (who's healing well, she can now walk a block / run a block). it's the first time godmother's ever run in her life, and she was complaining about her muscles being sore.
"just stretch a little whenever it hurts, " i said, "it's your body adjusting to new demands."
"nah, if it keeps hurting i'll just take two advil."
that totally cracked me up.

---
it was a perfect summer evening, punctuated with occasional unpleasantness that peaked with my uncle proudly expressing his bigotry and unable to understand why we were all upset. just before i left, he goaded me into button-pushing: i told him i'm an ordained pastafarian minister. i think godmother and yin thought i was talking shit, but either way their attempts to change the subject were so synchronized that they couldn't have been planned better.
"hey! look at the moon! it's so beautiful!"

godmother and yin had made me rather self-conscious about wearing my sunglasses at night. not that i needed their help, but i left feeling so stupid that instead of wearing them i tried just keeping my eye closed. i hope i didn't squeeze to hard, because i was specifically warned about that and squeezing becomes automatic when you're holding only one eye. after getting off the bus i discovered that my eye's not quite as good as it's been the past week. i'm a bit disappointed. or perhaps my eye's just tired or something.

speaking of which, i've spent far too much time in front of a screen today and i've got a big day planned for tomorrow. it's time to crash.

---
meytal cohen's slipknot - duality cover is a lot of fun to watch.

peak to trough - part ii

[... continued]

so after a long day i was tired to the point of feeling ill, and slightly wired to boot. i babysat the cto through a big two-part integration, with the second part being delayed until the following morning. i got a ride from our qa manager because a crazy thunderstorm was brewing, and all i wanted to do when i got home was crash.

unfortunately, i had laundry to do. i kept myself occupied with stargate sg-1 and jackass 3 while it ran, but then had a problem: it was too hot and humid to sleep. seriously. i've been living in the middle east, the ultimate hot and humid, for twelve years and this here felt way worse.

i guess i'm a winter person now.

to my mind it's plausible that a part of the heat came from within: even hours after my laundry came out the dryer it was still piping hot. perhaps i have it the other way around. whichever.

---
i'm picturing a future civilization figuring out how to play an unearthed copy of jackass 3 and treating it as a cultural artifact representative of the times. if it's a choice between jackass and cartoons, the cartoons would make me proud of my species. they're kind of the same, only one's a little more focused on bodily functions.

---
thursday:

after a sleepless, uncomfortable night i got up at 6am to complete the integration. it took an hour and wasn't at all fun*, plus i pissed him off because i made a comment about some badly written code and it apparently wasn't my place to do so.

* although i was praised for my patience and my ability to teach

i did manage to pass out for an hour after that, which made dragging myself to work all the tougher. as i stepped outside the building i found myself refreshed! if the apartment's worse than outside, i need air conditioning.

the quote of the day came from newk'd: "the internet connection is up and down, and i've come to accept it. it's like i've been born into poverty".

i was super-busy in the morning, i had a lot of hands to hold and some big decisions to make; at noon i needed to put my eye drops in before heading out to the clinic for my follow-up appointment. at noon i was called in for a surprise urgent meeting with the cto (who was supposed to be on holiday, which was why we did the integration at 6am) to go over a bunch of things we've already gone over three times. i was not amused.

---
technician: "oh! what happened to your eye? that doesn't look so good."
me: "actually, i like it."
technician: "ha, ha! you're very funny!"
me: "no, seriously. it's grown on me! i'm going to be sorry when it gets better."

i don't know why she thought that was the funniest bit. afterwards i saw the surgeon, who asked me how i feel. "so you're good? and you've just come to confirm? excellent."

i began reading wil wheaton's just a geek using the kindle app and i gotta say, i'm quite surprised at how entertaining it is. he's basically done what i wanted to do with all of my army posts. erm. with his own blog posts, i mean.

i had some personal meetings with a few developers in the afternoon and it became a good boss day for me: i'm sorry i didn't do this before. i learned some very important things, in particular i discovered a monumental miscommunication between megaman and one of our remote workers that changes our game significantly!

i entered an email time warp, slowly catching up to the present. jock was kind enough to take me to the walmart - he needed something and i wanted an a/c. walmart was a total failure, not just because they were all out of reasonably-priced units but because comms were down for the area so it was all cash only. we then went to canadian tire, where the units either required permanent installation (heck, no) or were way more expensive than i'd like for something i'm hoping is only short term. i eventually walked out with a window fan, which isn't the same at all but it's still pretty cool. it also makes a loud humming noise, which i find helps me sleep better :)

i had a long chat with my mother in the evening, and it looks like we're both managing well lately. this is good!

late night shopping wearing sunglasses is weird.

hovek olam - star sounds orchestra popped up on my playlist and i had to share the smile. i haven't heard it in a looooooong time...

i was a much better night, i declined posting in order to get into bed quickly.

[continued...]

Saturday, July 20, 2013

peak to trough - part i

well! i cannot express just how much of a relief this weekend is for me. i mean, i've just spent most of my day today either reading or contemplating where i am and how fascinating it is that all of the things causing me to stress in life are in the niggling details while the big picture is looking fantastic.

the past three days have been intense; i'm supposed to be healing, and i spent them suffering sleep deprivation (partially due to the absurdly uncomfortable weather we've been having) and a pile-up of responsibilities that pushed me to a new level. i'm really proud of how i managed to keep it all together!

---
wednesday:

i got up stupidly early for an appointment i've waited over a month for - which was set for tuesday. how did i screw up the calendar entry?!?! this was a really good start to the day. there wasn't enough time to get some sleep before work, so i got in to the office an hour and a half earlier than i usually do.

everything was quiet and peaceful until cheshire cat lady rocked up. i don't particularly like her at the best of times, and to have her suddenly popping into existence behind me while i was trying to focus on bigger issues didn't push my sympathy buttons. i dismissed her, telling her to let me know when imperieux became available.

instead, she brought imperieux over to my cubicle which was not what i asked her to do, once again disturbing me and giving me a sense of having my personal space invaded. fine. i locked my computer and walked them over to her space.

i have a job to do, and that job is to solve problems. the first part of solving any problem is determining what, precisely, that problem is. so i began the interview. cheshire cat lady is not one for precision, in fact she's one of the least technical / rational people i've come across. i have no idea how she ended up in the field of technical writing and i'm pretty sure she's the worst possible candidate for the job.

her first claim: "the interface is terrible and it doesn't do what i need it to do." the sad part is that she participated in the design and its iterations. as i drilled down in an attempt to uncover the underlying causes of her distress, i began to pick up on specifics and offered her solutions to those so that we could focus on finding the rest of the problems. it was terribly frustrating to have her repeatedly return to the resolved issues, and just as frustrating having her instruct us on technical aspects of a solution that wouldn't actual help anybody.

my job is to solve problems. my job is to determine underlying causes and then to figure out how to resolve the issues in a manner coherent with the big picture. the user is always right, but that extends on so far as to say that the user knows when something is wrong with the experience. it doesn't mean that the user knows what needs to happen behind the scenes and it certainly doesn't mean that one user's needs can override any of the others'.

so i pressed on in my quest to put all the pieces together, and she pressed on with complaining about everything being wrong (there were three issues in the end, the rest of this rather complex piece of machinery was designed perfectly adequately). not only was she repeating herself and constantly returning to the already-resolved issues, which was frustrating, but the more she repeated herself the more frustrated she became and the louder her voice got. very soon this escalated into her screaming at us, so loudly that the entire building could hear full well what she was thinking and this upset a lot of people.

now, i'm no angel. i kept my voice down, but as much as i didn't want her to shout i cannot say that my dislike for her and her idiocy didn't extend to my holding back on making her feel cared for and appreciated. it's hard to refrain from gently pushing someone over the edge when they're highly unlikable and talking utter rubbish. i was on a path to being entirely dispassionate, and while i knew that this was upsetting her i wasn't about to begin pandering to a fool. i don't play nice when i'm being shouted down by incompetence.

i say i was on a path to being entirely dispassionate, but the shouting soon devolved into personal attack. i went from cold to super-heated anger in a flash, at the same time keeping an iron fist clenched around remaining professional.

"i'm trying to help you, " i said behind gritted teeth, "and you're antagonizing me. it's very hard to think straight when you're doing that."

just then, megaman stepped up to the cubicle. he stood for a moment, while cheshire cat lady screamed on, and then made a quieting motion with his hand. what happened next made me do something totally unprofessional; i simply couldn't resist such an appropriate response to her (perhaps unwitting) moment of clarity. she continued her rant in her loud voice, this time directed to megaman and with me behind her back.

"... and i'm sure everyone thinks i'm mad..."

and in full view of imperieux and megaman, i opened my eyes comically wide and nodded my head furiously in agreement.

megaman invited us to join him behind closed doors, and with all of her perpetual noise it took the better part of fifteen minutes before he understood what we had already homed in on a while before. i explained my plan of action and told him how and when we'd execute it, and once he had ever-so-sweetly managed to get our message across to the idiot, imperieux and i made our escape.

i needed a few moments to explain to everyone else what the drama was about in the most politically correct "we just had a miscommunication" way possible without sharing my true thoughts on the matter. when it was time to get to work on the fixes, i took imperieux for a game of pool first to put us in a better mood (he won) and i sat with him the entire time to make absolutely sure that there was no way for any more miscommunications to interfere.

it took an hour or so, but by the time he was done i knew that this was everything cheshire cat lady needed. i called her over for an acceptance test, sighed deeply when she approved and then went back to my otherwise pretty busy day.

...

a few hours later she approached me again, with that extra-special super-sincere cheshire smile of hers.
"everything's great, thank you. now, is it possible to have all the items in the menu listed in alphabetical order?"

fuck you.

"i don't know, but it's really not a priority right now. i'll discuss it with <imperieux>."

boy, was i ever pissed when she approached imperieux directly and he made the changes on the fly!

petty? sure.

---
the qa manager came up to me later on to inform me that he was buying sports supplements in bulk if i wanted in. l-carnitine was on sale, i don't remember if i ordered it or not. i just found out that l-carnitine is bad.

[continued...]

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

stretch

over the past two days, we've discussed replacing the it guy and ceh (he's arrogant, difficult to work with and hates communicating). the development team now has access to a rubber chicken (that squawks, it's funny but i didn't know about that when i ordered it). i have received my vegan creatine, and it's not bad at all! i have discovered that one of our clients is an ex-soldier with stories up the wazoo and friends who've served in the idf, so we bonded over funny catch-22 tales.

two days now that it's been so hot that i've been happy to stay a little later off the clock for the a/c; yesterday to be regaled with tales of snowboarding (and photos) and today updating my macbook and watching paths of hate which is stunning.

megaman can't look me in the eyes with my red background, and i find that hysterical. i really, really like the way it looks.

i joined vfmp, his brother and a friend last night for magic: the gathering. the cards and the rules have changed (a) little since i last played, but it was a lot of fun :)

quote of the day: "i pay one life and look for an island"
all i could think of was "isn't that what we're all doing?"

i was surprised to be on the winning team (two on two, it's possible) and left around midnight to catch the bus. the one i needed was a no-show (!!), but a couple of minutes later another one went past and the route worked out in the end. i did a dance of showering, putting drops in my eyes and eating, finally getting to bed around 2am because there was so much going on on facebook.

that shit be dangerous. especially ma. ma is beautiful. ma is borne of great intentions. ma deserves support.

i woke up exhausted this morning.

today was a long day of meetings and of assisting the cto with our integration procedure. there was something odd about doing an on-the-fly code review for my superior and hearing him promise to fix the things i pointed out :P

i'd ordered delicious chana masala yesterday and couldn't finish it so i packaged it up and put it in the office fridge. usually that's the same as putting it in the trash, but on my way out this evening i suddenly remembered and it made a great dinner the second time around! i started watching stargate sg-1 before joining jock and his girlfriend at the dollar cinema to watch pain and gain.

what a crazy film! comedic horror at its finest, i'm really glad i didn't know the real story before watching. the only thing that wasn't enjoyable was sitting in such uncomfortable seats...

i did say that my left eye has become dominant: i was wrong. it's just that the change in visual acuity makes it appear so.

---
the current humble bundle is brilliant!

Monday, July 15, 2013

red eye

i'm absolutely adoring the look of my iris with its bloody background. i may not be ready to risk an eyeball tattoo, but i'm certainly going to miss what i have right now.

principles of recovery

i don't know what made me change my mind, but i was right to avoid alcohol. i was so focused on watching young frankenstein that i may or may not have absent-mindedly scratched my eye.

i may also have enjoyed the movie without finding it particularly funny.

functional

well. i slept alright last night, and began my day meeting another illustrator. i think we had a meeting of the minds, we're going to trial run two weeks after which she'll tell me more or less how much work she expects needs to be done and how much money she'll want. we can take it from there.

the afternoon kind of whiled itself away, i've been doing some actual work and just took a break to watch an episode of misfits. what a fun series!

now to decide if i should go out for a walk (and shopping mission) now or later.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

these lenses! so scratchy!

i had a nap early and didn't think to wear my goggles. since then my eye's been a little irritated and i'm hoping i didn't touch it in my sleep :(

amusingly, my right eyelid's begun twitching. the hell?

i spent a large part of the afternoon giving my mother telephone support (well, skype) to set up her iphone. the iphone's not the problem, obviously. my well-intentioned sister overcomplicated her gmail and itunes accounts while helping her out; when you're introducing someone to something new, you don't show them the most unwieldy parts first. the whole point of an iphone is its simplicity, if you want more out of it or if you want to cheat the system then that's your business. i wouldn't have jailbroken mine if it hadn't been for the network lock... and, quite frankly, my little phone and i are paying the price for the jailbreak every day. the performance dropped noticeably and i can't upgrade my shit...

as we're putting our apartment in tel aviv on the market, we're looking at apartments here in montreal. good lord! cheaper than tel aviv, and that's for beautiful apartments in hip areas! sounds like a good deal to me :)

when i said something about training she stopped to ask me which gym i'm at. one of her colleagues was really excited when he heard that i was doing mma in montreal: "is he at tristar??"
my mother didn't know, but yes, yes i am. and that's why i'm so damned excited all the time :)

i did a little shopping which was a great excuse for a short walk outside. it's such a beautiful evening! and it's so weird to be seeing it in such sharp relief. within two days my left eye has already become dominant. mind-blowing.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

chiba city

early thursday morning, i paid using the same credit card machine they use for take-out before removing my shoes and donning surgery cap and booties. a technician sat me down and told me what to expect afterwards. a few minutes went past, then the surgeon came by and i followed him into the operating room.

a small, sterile room furnished with two large machines separated by a table that felt like a padded stretcher. the procedure was explained vaguely and the lights went out. in the dark, with my eye beneath a circle of yellow light with a flashing red dot in the center, i imagined how it must feel to undergo back-alley surgery, whether abortion or body upgrades. this was an upgrade, for sure, trusting this stranger and his machines with one of my optical sensors.

"look straight up, don't move" was the mantra he chanted. over and over and over again. a metal hoop of sorts? to hold my eyelids open? no. i'm moved to the other machine. "look straight up, don't move," he repeats, and i try to relax my body as it stiffens against the hoop pressing into my eye. that pressure increases and i'm almost gasping for breath. "look straight up, don't move," he says, as i think of that hoop being pushed straight through my eyeball and brain and grinding into the back of my skull. my vision pops into blackness, have i fainted? oh gods, i forgot to tell him i have a syncope. is now the time to tell him? no, it can't be. i say something, he misunderstands and i have to explain that it's okay, everything's okay, i just don't know when to be alarmed. can i see again?

i'm back under the first machine, a circle floats between me and the machine. "look straight up, don't move" over and over and over again. i'm trying not to move, i'm trying to focus. what am i supposed to focus on? it hurts, my eyeball flutters involuntarily, am i messing this up? am i going to blind myself because i can't keep my eye still? "look straight up, don't move," he repeats. the machine is whirring to life and then backing off, over and over. "look straight up, don't move," and he counts down. he's doing it, the laser is shooting into my eye and shaping me and he's counting down and i'm focusing everything i have on not moving but what if i move? what if my eye flickers? am i breathing? am i moving? should i relax? should i tense?

suddenly the mantra stops and the machine stops and the lights go on and a technician gives me a hand. i stand up, disoriented, and i stumble outside in a daze. the first technician is there to greet me and show me where to sit for the next hour, to tell me that it'll be hazy and it'll burn and scratch and that i need to tell them if anything's going horribly wrong.

i sit down, blinking rapidly. i don't stop blinking, am i blinking enough? can i look out the window? the sunlight bounces off the cars in the parking lot so i try not to stand where it'll reach me. even through the haze and fog and blur i can see that my eyesight's improved - it's improved so much that for the first time i can tell just how bad my "good" eye is. can i use headphones? or will the bass cause my eyeball to vibrate? silly, i know, but i have to ask.

time flies, i sit or i pace and i appreciate this little miracle. upgrade complete, installing latest device drivers. it's feeling good, it's not hurting like i was warned. when she told me about the burning and said "you'll see", she was wrong about the burning but right about my seeing. i do see. it's beautiful.

...

my one eye now sees far and my other near, so depending on what i need to focus on i just close the inefficient one. this is fantastic!

---
aota picked me up and we stopped for veggie burgers at harvey's down the road. a bit of office gossip as well, and she informed me that i wasn't missing anything as megaman wasn't in and the office comms were down. if i'm not working, nobody's working.
she dropped me off at home and i spent the next several hours using the computer or my phone in short bursts (so as not to forget to blink enough - that's the real reason you can't read or anything) and enjoying the greatest nap in the whole world. me and my sleep goggles.

leap motion's pre-order form is a bit of a mess, and they're aware of it. after getting my knickers in a knot because it's almost go-time and no matter how i tried i couldn't get my details correct, i requested phone support. they came through, and the agent was pleasant, and i ended up satisfied. i can't understand how a company with such an amazing product can fail on a web form, but whatever.

vfmp shot me a mail inviting me to a magic the gathering / vegan eats evening. now that i can't train for two weeks, this sounds like a good alternative :)

my first eyedrops sessions were frustrating, but it takes fifteen minutes every six hours so at some point i'm going to become proficient.

aota and newk'd took me out to an indian restaurant in snowden, it was a fun evening. what wasn't fun was my mom repeatedly trying and failing to get hold of me because i had no signal and newk'd telling me a story about yang that was so ugly it was embarrassing to hear. rule number 1: "don't be an asshole". calling the cops on peaceful protestors because you don't agree with the protest is not okay.

---
friday:

between my goggles, the hot, humid night and my neck i had a terrible time sleeping. i felt horrible in the morning.

in general, waking up for my early drops sucks.

on my way to the follow-up appointment, i was embarrassed to get off the bus and discover that i'd been sitting next to one of the technicians and hadn't recognized her (she said hi to me). i'd arrived too early so i crossed the road to the tim horton's to pick up a doughnut and coffee. i didn't cross in the most legal of ways and two cops stepped out of the coffee shop and began to walk in my direction... [they ignored me, i was grateful]

...

i live in a strange building: the apartments have heating during winter, and the building has a/c during summer. that means that if my apartment gets too hot and humid i can just go sit in the corridor where it's cool and dry.

it was a pleasant afternoon of naps and inconsequential things. i took a bath before dinner, which was a mission and a half. godmother picked me up and i was surprised to find myself allowed back to her house.

my uncle is now only too happy to have me over any time! it's because i am jésus-christ de moustique. he always thought he got everyone's mosquitoes, but that was until last night. he also thinks that my green oakley jawbones are the greatest joke ever.

...

on the metro home i sat opposite a well-dressed woman who coughed non-stop without covering her mouth. typical, when one needs to protect one's eye.

i spent the next hour or so voting on soundtrack styles for shadowrun online. then i took a muscle relaxant and went to bed.

---
today:

i suspect that i shouldn't have taken the muscle relaxant. it didn't really help and it made me feel horrid when i got out of bed this morning for my first drops.

i've so far done nothing much today, and i don't care. i've really needed a few days of nothing, i'm only too glad for the excuse!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

the other part of the day

the previous post covers the bit of the day that really interested me. the rest follows:

it took forever to get my post-op prescription filled out. i mean, like, i was the only customer in the pharmacy and it took more than twenty minutes. the hell?!

when i strolled up to the counter i threw my headphones over my shoulder. i can't explain the logic behind that move, but i was late for work and almost at the metro station when i realized that i couldn't find them. what a waste of $20! i was really upset about them until i realized that i'd put them in a place that made no sense and forgotten it.

work: a long day of meetings. towards the end i tried to help our cto with the svn and due to an unfortunate series of miscommunications i put him into fight mode. it took a while before i could calm him down and get him on the same page, from there everything was friendly and smooth-sailing but i ended up leaving much later for the gym than i'd intended.

note: there's nothing i appreciate less than a surprise visit from a client who's not supposed to need our help with what he's doing and who changes the rules of the game at the last minute.

as i crossed the road illegally i found myself looking directly at a police car. i felt awfully exposed, and went through that for nothing as i just missed my train anyway.

...

now preparing for a couple of days of nothing. i've stocked the fridge and cupboards, now i just need to make sure that i have a way to listen to my french audio lessons because apparently i won't be able to read, use the computer or watch tv.

first withdrawal

1. i've just completed my pre-op training, and already i'm missing it! i'm totally addicted.

2. just like last week's post-trauma kickboxing loosened my leg up and had me feeling good, tonight's double muay-thai and boxing has drastically improved my neck and back. if this doesn't tell me that i have the body of a true masochist...

3. between the muay thai and the boxing i don't think i've ever managed so many proper (explosive) pushups in one day.

4. the guy i worked with in muay thai taught me the basics of defending against punches! it's the first time i've had some kind of clue what to do :)
that didn't stop me from tasting one of his feet, though.

5. after muay thai i was sweating so much that even the instructor was shocked. at the end of the class he made me fetch a mop and clean up. i couldn't resist shouting "wax on! wax off!" with every stroke.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

warp-spasm

quick! before the day actually begins and i head off to the pharmacy to pick up my meds for tomorrow's surgery.

yesterday was another great day (today, not so much). great news for the day was that my uncle came through surgery in a decent state - he'd fallen a short while ago and had developed postsurgical psychosis...

anyway, the day was fairly uninteresting with quite a lot of administrative tasks. an email from pg made me laugh out loud, in addition to arriving at the conclusion that purchasing hats is easier than making them she's decided that bournemouth is like eilat: hot and dry weather and chavs (arsim).

infinity - techniques is awesome.

---
training.

jiu-jitsu: there was only an advanced class. the techniques we learned were nothing short of mind-blowing; especially as a beginner it's hard to wrap my head around some of these ideas. i learned that my rash guard on a hot day gets me producing an insane amount of sweat. i also learned that i need to train with a box.

it is a really, really intimate sport.

everything was great, though, and i felt like i was making real progress! i even stayed behind to spar with my partner (vfmp) at the end. that was fine until i found myself being flipped over my neck right off the mat.

that was bad. very bad. my neck and back muscles all spasmed in unison, and the rest is suffering.

kickboxing:

in spite of not being able to turn my neck left, it was a solid kickboxing session. not only was i supremely proud of myself for being singled out to the beginners as the right form to follow, our punching bag session went well and i chose the duct-taped boxing bag. this is the bag everyone stays away from, but my shins have toughened enough that i could handle it ^_^

all in all, it was a most satisfying three hours. except, of course, for my neck. i had a hot bath, then sat with frozen peas over my shoulder while drinking dinner alongside a couple of slices of toast.

i went to bed early, but i can't say that i really slept last night. it was more just lying there rearranging my neck.

---
guantanamo bay supporters: you're right. years and years of madness, and still going strong.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

it's not stupid! it's...

[this posting backed by sundance - psymorocco]

today was my first lesson in advanced boxing. for the first time i understood what our instructor meant by "you need to relax": it's not my shoulders, it's that "every jab you throw is set to 'destroy', you can't throw knockout strikes every shot".

... or can i?
}:D

damn, i'm now so pleased with myself that i can't decide if i should listen to him or not, and i'm *pretty* sure he knows better than me.

...

oh, the second handle of my cheap skipping rope broke today. each time it gets a little shorter, so the first break made it perfect and now... i don't know how i feel about it. but i do think that my footwork and rhythm are getting on track.

---
i always thought it was a cape town thing:
"what do you call great weather after two lousy days?"
"monday."

well, turns out it's a montreal thing as well - today was absolutely stunning, warm but not sticky with the sun shining and the birds singing.

---
the day began with a disturbance in the force: ceh was unimpressed with his mandate and megaman was equally unimpressed with ceh's strategy. these two are old friends, and about halfway through i recognized their professional relationship being similar to that of mine and spot's. megaman's giving the guy a break, the guy's smart but out of sync with his role, and for a moment i almost saw sparks flying. i felt super-weird getting involved, and almost made a joke along the lines of "now, now, children", but instead took an arbitration position and managed to get everyone playing the same game.

i was very proud of myself just then. we actually managed to take something positive out of the bad, i snuck in a little of my agenda at the same time (which is kind of in line with what ceh wants) and megaman was satisfied.

...

later on i'd get megaman and the cfo considering investing in a decent videoconferencing setup instead of having employees / executives flying regularly between offices. it's 2013 already, you know? just saying.

---
i spent most of my morning resolving issues with our recent ip change and trying to figure out why godaddy never stops sucking. the first support agent i spoke to was a moron, the second was sweet but essentially blew me off. i hope her advice was on point.

the best part of dealing with them? prior to being put on hold while waiting for an agent, an option to not hear muzak was offered. good show!

---
i spoke to the laser clinic and they've assured me that it's only one eye and that they know which one it is. so it looks like we're on for thursday!

i didn't get to take lunch until 2pm, and never had a chance to drink my morning coffee either. this was fine, great even, until about 3pm when i suddenly developed a withdrawal headache :(

i'm intrigued that nystire's considering the possibility of working in montreal. i don't see how he could possibly go wrong doing that, but then we've never seen eye-to-eye when it comes to making big life decisions :P

a friend of a friend sent me his resume to pass on for an opening we have. i sent it back and told him he needs to run it through a spell-check. wtf?! do people really not realize that these things matter when you're trying to make a good impression? i suppose spelling errors are better than wrong-word-chosen-by-spell-check errors, though. i've seen some funny ones lately.

i was exhausted by the time i got on the metro home, so much so that i could barely stand. what a pleasure to walk into a clean apartment (the cleaning lady's leaving the country this week for a month), quaff an energy drink and head out to boxing!

...

it's been a very relaxed and unproductive evening. i think i'm ready to go to bed early again. i have dreams to catch up on.

Monday, July 08, 2013

slipping

oh, gods - i just managed to pull myself out of bed, i could've stayed like that forever! i was so perfectly comfortable with the dulled sunlight and the whirring fan and in a state where each alarm snooze brought a new dream.

real world, you are cruel today.

sweat test

why is my apartment even muggier than outside? i would've opened my balcony door but there were swarms of gnats about.

why can i not update my leap motion pre-order details? and why won't they get back to me? i feel like i'm about to miss out on something that i shouldn't be missing out on.

why did i not get anything productive done all day? why can i not wrap my head around sails (the node.js framework)? why did i remember games like star control as being much more fun?

...

i was *really* tired the whole day so i napped a fair amount.

to be fair, i did sort out my fan which broke last night. i couldn't take it back to walmart if i wanted to because i've lost the receipt :(

and i did go through a whole lot of work emails.

and i did give my mouth guard another try. i believe the problem was my following the instructions to the letter and it needing a few more seconds of boiling. i'm also sure that i should try again with the new one i bought or go with a single-sided mouth guard. i headed off to the gym for about twenty minutes on the punching bags with my mouth guard in to practice breathing and my el-cheapo rash guard top to see if i can handle sweating in it.

it's fine, they're fine, i got a bit of a workout and i have a sparring partner for when i return from my two weeks post-op.

---
i'm so excited every time i look in the mirror! narcissistic, perhaps, but i've worked hard for this.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

20s and 30s

there are two things i have a problem with when i hear why 30 is not the new 20:

1. the idea of having to settle down for life with the same partner is overrated. single parenting and shared parenting might be tough in some respects, but it's a lot easier in others. human "mate for life" is a religious imposition and not a normal natural tendency. in other words, you don't need to be worried about finding "the one" during the prime of your life.

2. i've become convinced that having kids is not something that needs to wait on one's career. a basic level of responsibility, yes, although that doesn't stop a hell of a lot of people from having kids they can't support. if you have kids early on, you can then start your career with maternity / paternity leave behind you. less pressure, no?

3. nobody has any clue what the future holds. the trick is to live each day like it's your last while still preparing for the long journey ahead. not every job you do needs to be serious, but any opportunity that you get to move towards a desired future should be given top priority.

most people spend their whole lives doing what they have to instead of what they want to. who defines success and failure? we're humans. we make up the rules as we go along.

you probably won't be able to figure out where you need to be until you've already stabilized yourself financially and found someone you might have kids with. that's irony!

consumption junction

have you heard from johannesburg is an excellent documentary, very touching. i supplemented that with card hunter and random stuff. then i decided it was bedtime and got seriously stuck in to californication.

right. *now* it's time for bed.

eyes on a little nothing

thought for the day:
the tragedy of life: it's too short not to invest in everything that interests you, but too short to do so much and still become amazing at something.
---
yesterday:

a good worker never blames his tools. but i've just been complimented on how professional i am because for once my macbook didn't fail me when i needed to do something remotely? i don't buy it.

it was a relaxed, easy, superheated morning. i woke up exhausted, though, needing at least a few more hours of sleep. that feeling only strengthened as the day progressed; when i eventually found myself halfway through my first cup of coffee i realized that that wasn't going to cut it. it would take the pre-training rockst*r to get me out of the red... and that kept me going until 2am. perhaps i should replace my second coffee (usually right after lunch) with the energy drink?

---
i went to the eye institute for my pre-op examination. my appointment was for 11am because there weren't any other times available, and 11am is a particularly inconvenient hour for someone who starts work at 10am. i arrived on time, i was told to have a seat. i'd been waiting for twenty minutes before i was informed that they were running late. there i was, half-asleep (occasionally waking myself with a soft snore) and unable to so much as check my email. what a waste.

after about forty minutes they finally called me in, by which stage i'd lost patience and wasn't particularly friendly. on the one hand, i felt bad for them because a technician hadn't shown for work and so there was one doing the work of two; i was also irritated because if they'd called me in the morning i'd have happily rescheduled and not lost a full three hours of my work day.

i thought the tests would take, like, half an hour or so. however. in additional to redoing every single test on both eyes - after i'd told them that i'm only undergoing surgery on my left - there were problems with almost every test. my fault, to be sure: i almost gave a false report on one of the tests just to get the damned thing over with. that would have been decidedly stupid, of course, but the thought did cross my mind as i could tell that they don't normally take so long to find the right correction.

amusingly, one of the tests took forever because my left eyelid is too weak for me to "open wide". i wonder if it's related to my astigmatism? after five minutes of frustration the technician called in the secretary to hold my eye open with her finger. the two of them were both embarrassed and apologetic, although i found it interesting that the secretary rested her hands on my shoulders between attempts. at the angle that my neck was at, i wondered if perhaps i could ask her for a massage while she was there :P

at the end it turned out that the reason for both tests is that i was registered for surgery on both eyes in spite of what the surgeon and i had agreed on my first visit, but we're going to sort that out on monday.

---
metro was supposed to be ready to begin on the comics this weekend, and i was quite excited. yesterday she sent me an email explaining that due to personal circumstances beyond her control and an uncertainty regarding her ability to go the distance she's bailing on me. i'm very disappointed indeed :(

i did, however, receive another email later from an amazing artist who i contacted a while ago, and while he might not actually be able to work with me (something about a potential conflict with his publisher) he's happy to talk to me about my project and perhaps advise. i won't say no to an offer like that.

in addition to that, a co-worker told me that his friend's wife is unemployed and looking for work as an illustrator, so i'll get in touch with her tomorrow. the fact that she mainly speaks french would provide a unique challenge... either we'll figure something out and i'll be able to practice a little french, or not. beggars can't be choosers.

---
the three hours that i was in the office were not relaxed at all, and i was still out of it. in addition to a couple of big bugs that i'd have to somehow sell to our client* our it guy switched out our network connection. this would have been amazing except that we weren't given any warning and most of our critical systems weren't ready to be reconnected on a different ip address. so that kind of screwed everything up.

* who arrived just as happy hour began, which did not impress me. the reason he was so late did, though: the woman working at the desk got the company wrong but managed to call someone with my name. boy, were the two of them surprised when he eventually arrived at the front desk instead of me.

---
the beers i had at happy hour were much needed. we had fun, mostly, and i was asked to retell my porsche and modelling portfolio stories to the new guys. reactions to those stories always entertain me.

i was careful not to drink more than two beers and to leave an hour and a half for my system to clear for training. it was an excellent boxing session, i was told to work with a guy that i've promised to spar with - as soon as i get my gear sorted out - and he's ridiculously powerful and fast. he made me work really hard and the class was a perfect end to the week.

...

i feel much bigger now. my weight is an almost constant 190lbs (i prefer pounds because it's a round number), but i've gotten to a point where i feel ripped (i'm not "ripped", but i'm a lot more muscular and in much better shape than ever before). the way i carry myself has changed. i'm *pleased* with my body ^_^

---
i watched ufc 124 - gsp koscheck 2 and thoroughly enjoyed it. except for the end of the main event. having watched the ultimate fighter - team gsp vs team koschek i've come to think of koscheck as an uninspiring fighter and an intellectually challenged schoolyard bully. at the end of the fight the two of them seem to have neutralized their enmity, which is great. what's weird, though, is gsp talking about koscheck "playing it up" to drum up support.

1. there was no need to do that, that's very wwe and to my mind cheapens the ufc. i don't know about anyone else, i watch it because it's real fighting. i'm just as impressed by fighters "keeping it in the octagon" as joe rogan seems to be.

2. did he do that? or was gsp just trying to cover for his being an asshole? i think he could have just complimented him and left it at that.

---
i chased that with a couple of episodes of californication. i can't recall quite how many times i've been told i should see it and netflix thought so too. i was in the mood for quick and light entertainment, and i find myself adoring the show and wanting more! it's great fun and balances the cerebral with the carnal: it's totally writer's porn.

---
today:

happy jamaican day! i had no idea, and downtown was closed off for the crazy parade. i was only there to get a haircut (and have lunch and cash a cheque), if not for that i would've stayed at home all day (on such a beautiful day?! too tired for anything else).

i'm shocked at how happy i was to way up early enough to get my laundry done without interference.

awkwardness of the day: my forgetting that godmother's in china... and it was the middle of the night... and she doesn't have caller id... it took about a minute to figure out why she wasn't being very friendly.

after my mission downtown i came home, showered and passed out for a couple of hours. i've noted that the pool is open for business! i'll have to find out when i can go, i do hope it's a "whenever you want" thing.

now preparing to watch have you heard from johannesburg: vimeo has a 72 hour limit on watching their video on demand, and i had no idea because it's fine print. they've agreed to refund me if i purchase it again...

Friday, July 05, 2013

anguish sandwich

today was an exceptionally good day. grand, in fact! the exception to "exceptionally" only lasted about half an hour and it was cheshire cat lady. that woman is not only deranged and creepy, but she's bloody annoying and not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

that tone i got into trouble for when i used it with cam2? that's my i-can't-deal-with-your-incompetence tone. it came out in full force today and i'm not sure that anyone in the office didn't hear it. i'm pretty sure they all heard precisely what was causing it, too. her idiocy is relentless.

after trying to explain to me why i should make design calls when it suits her and not bother with our lead designer (hmm, perhaps she thinks we should fire him?) she then finished everything with a bang: "you always have to have the last word!".

this is not a bloody domestic argument about who's doing the fracking dishes. i'm in charge of development and everything we do needs to make sense in context of what we produce. my fracking job is to get the last word and to make sure that that word is the right bloody one.

what an asshole.

---
otherwise, it was a very good morning. everything was operational, ceh and i are both enthusiastic about node.js and i showed megaman and our qa manager how real qa is done (i broke something during a dry run and my method totally took them by surprise).

i finally, after much deliberation, made an appointment for laser surgery. it's next week! in a few hours i'll go for my pre-op eye exam and get my prescriptions.

megaman and i seem to see eye-to-eye on our organization chart and on seating, which was a little worrying for a while. and he acquiesced when i suggested that the project manager he's bringing on board should not be lumped together with his previous teammates* but rather be dealt with according to his functions.

* have i mentioned my conspiracy theory?

it was a late afternoon of successes and hand-holding (it's what i do), followed by back-to-back kickboxing that was killer but excellent. well, the advanced class was tough but i had to work with the slow dude again (way before it's relevant he comes up to me to ask me personally, and i don't feel comfortable saying "no" even though i really, really want to work with anyone else). the class ended and i still had pent-up aggression from cheshire cat lady so i decided to join the beginner's class too.

hardcore. i worked with a new guy who's come from a traditional martial arts dojo and is crazy-polite to the instructor and to everyone else. he's also an absolute beast and after delivering full-power strikes non-stop for seven minutes he pushed me really hard to deliver the same.

i returned home soaked through and feeling amazing. i had a quick, hot bath (my back was hurting) and then sat down to... try out the card hunter beta. shit, it's fun! great concept and beautifully executed.

it's almost 2am. i've got sleeping to do. oh, crap... i didn't really eat dinner...

Thursday, July 04, 2013

a quick note on node.js

node.js is awesome. really, really awesome. i'm a believer.

level up

LEVEL UP!

ZOMG ZOMG ZOMG. after three months of hard work, i finally made it to the next level in boxing! now i *KNOW* i have to get my mouth guard sorted out.

is there a way to emote :D with a missing tooth?

---
i almost missed my stop this morning because i was so into my comic script. why does it take me forever to get around to something i love so much?

there's nothing less professional than having to explain to a client that nobody in your organization has any idea what's going on with your product. our build automation was on hold, there's no backwards compatibility for what we needed to showcase and the latest code (thank moonlighter) is full of bugs. our network was up and down and our showtime developer didn't have access to our file server* so by the time we entered the meeting we had zero experience with what we were going to teach the guy. and then we discovered that the code he had wasn't just incomplete, but contained a showstopping bug.

* i made him send out an email to all the other developers repeating how important it is, lines-on-the-blackboard style.

in addition to all that, we went out for indian food to welcome a new guy and i ate so much that i was falling asleep during the meeting :$

...

it was not a good work day. it ended alright, however, as moonlighter gave us what was missing from our tool chain at the end of it (so we can now control the builds again), research that jock was doing for me came up positive and the world didn't come to an end. even though montreal lost power for a while and everyone thought it was going to.

---
it's been a while since i left the office last. the power outage had disabled the metro so aota offered to give me a ride home, and we detoured via walmart where her daughter helped me find exactly what i was looking for! i now have a cheap equivalent of rash guards. very cool.

i arrived home with a lot less time before training than i'd attempted to engineer.

1. why the hell does rockst*r "punched" taste so damned good?! it's weird to enjoy the flavour of an energy drink that's essentially good for you (it has guarana, b vitamins and ginseng in addition to the caffeine and taurine).

2. as i was walking out the caretaker's wife served me with a rent increase notice. boo!

i arrived late for the boxing warmup and joined another guy doing 50 pushups and 25 burpees. it was humid as hell and we started class feeling like we'd just stepped out of a swimming pool. the floor was slippery and by the end it was ridiculously difficult to gain traction for anything.

i cannot describe in words just how proud i was when the instructor came up to me to quietly invite me into the advanced class. i am deeply satisfied today.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

meeting seating

i woke up today with my leg hurting even more than yesterday. locking up and burning, but not a skin sensation. considering it was worse than the day before, and the bruising is black, i decided that i needed to take it to a doctor. i wasn't panicked because the black skin is warm to the touch, but i'm unable to know what's going on a few levels down.

i didn't want to be the first person who was kicked so hard his leg came off.

i caught megaman to address any potential issues so that i could arrive late, and headed to the clinic. when i registered i was told i'd need to wait about 45 minutes, so i went out for coffee. my inability to answer a simple french "how are you?" from the barrista made me uncomfortable. the lack of internet access through the wifi even more so, though after friday's experiences i'm almost certain it's my macbook and not them.

i returned to the waiting room and proceeded to wait another hour and a quarter before finally being called in to see a doctor. a nice man, he was pretty thorough and after five minutes had determined that my leg's healing well and that i've got nothing to worry about.

i was satisfied to hear that, upset about waiting two hours to hear it.

---
our cto was in, and i spent the next six hours with him and megaman in various meetings. the weekend misunderstanding was glossed over and everyone was cooperating despite some disagreements about our corporate road map. i think it's all going to be fine.

i spent some time with moonlighter, who'd been given instructions by the cto that didn't fit with our requirements. i'm *sure* he'll remember to discuss things with me next time </sarcasm>

---
kickboxing was great, in spite of my being paired with the guy who the instructor doesn't feel comfortable kicking out of the advanced class. as sweet as he may be, he's definitely not advanced in any way but the zim way, but he's been in the class since before our instructor took over from the previous guy...

i haven't done a lot this evening... yet... short of talking to my mother, hearing that the company that wanted me could only take me as a canadian citizen, and performing a couple of menial work-related tasks... also getting high off house: ron hagen & pascal m. - take you there (1999) lead me into a large pool of classic uplifting tracks.

but the real thing i need to do is node.js. there's no time to get coding done when you're managing.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

just passing through part ii

[... continued]

i met up with aota and we stopped for amazing chinese (where k-twang and his fiancée took me in 2010). we then arrived just in time for lorraine klaasen's miriam makeba tribute. which became a madiba tribute. aota "informed" me that he'd passed away, which shocked me because i hadn't heard anything. which makes sense, because he hadn't. either way it was a very moving performance and made me a bit homesick*. it was really nice to see so many people visibly captivated by makeba's music.

* i guess that's a part of why i finally got around to watching some of have you heard from johannesburg. it's well worth the $5, especially if you don't know much about apartheid.

we walked on to some bloody good blues by steve strongman, who made sure to let us know that he'd won a juno this year. the crowd was fantastic, loads of people dancing and good vibes all round.

i returned home on the metro with my laundry basket. that felt weird. i didn't want to work on a saturday night so i ignored the urgent emails in my inbox.

---
sunday:

a peaceful start to the day. i caught the caretaker's wife and paid my rent early, did a quick shop at walmart which demanded a highway walk that was very pretty indeed. i learned about 1 dollar scans and i think i'll give them a try.

interested to hear what the headhunter has to offer, i spent some time updating my cv and answering her questions, then proceeded to fail to get the urgent work done (our systems are a mess at present and my macbook's not making anything easier) and upset the cto in the process. i was really upset about that before remembering that i don't need to stress about any of this. i've done my best and if it's not good enough then screw it, i'll walk.

so it became a $#@% everything day. i went to piknic electronik and thoroughly enjoyed the "guru" floor - pursuit grooves makes serious magic!

the moog floor just wasn't quite as fun as the previous week. the highlight was a cute girl trashed on e (but, like, classically, like we used to get once upon a time with the jaw exercises and everything) who was excited by my tattoo.

so i left early for an easy, early night watching ufc fights.

---
monday:

another slow morning (oh, happy canada day!) started with ufc's gsp vs condit. WOW!

i tried to sort out my mouth guard. "boil and bite" my ass, three tries following the instructions (and a few youtube videos) and when i open my mouth the guard sticks to my lower teeth. fan#$@%!tastic >_<

---
i've been wondering about this for weeks now: why do i make onomatopoeia-ic sounds when i strike? why can't i just hiss like a normal person? imagine me kicking you. now imagine me shouting "POW!" as i do it.

i do that every time.

---
i spent my day getting into node.js. i've definitely got a handle on the basics, but there're some elusive concepts that i need to get my head around before i really get my teeth into it. like, for instance, the relationship between file names and objects.

i went over to horseman to play a board game with him and nocence. and teach them a bit about beat construction. the board game was cashflow, and it's more fun than monopoly :)

---
scrapper sent me a link to rat park, it's very good indeed. please read it! it's not only well drawn but educational too.

just passing through part i

"it's raining, it's pouring, the old man..." wishes he was snoring. and he's definitely got an old man's legs.
funny how it's july already and the weather still isn't summer yet.

as for the legs: it took three days for my injured one to begin bruising, and some of the bruising is black so it terrifies my hypochondriac that it might be necrosis. but it's warm to the touch, so i suspect i might just be unnecessarily paranoid. it was feeling great after training, then stiff, then fine, and since this morning it's been pretty sore. i hope it heals correctly...

---
friday:

a relaxed morning. botswana wanted new features after i'd already explained how the process works, and why his approach has cut into time we should have been spending on other, higher priority work.

network difficulties + dedicated server issues + no wifi at the coffee shop (i think it was my mac's fault) + jira's web interface being useless for mobile devices made me want to break or throw out all our tech and start again. a bad workman blames his tools? we're an internet-based company with no internet and all my devices are failing in different ways.

i had less beer than before so that i'd be sharper at training. our instructor didn't arrive and for the first time there wasn't a replacement, so the couple of us there warmed up and hit the punching bags. i'm happy with the workout i got.

for the first time in a long time i ran an actual hot bath just so that i could soak my legs. my back needed it too.

i watched american drug war: the last white hope and then kick ass. the former was good, a different angle from the union: the business of getting high and highly recommended. the latter was as awesome the second time. brilliant. absolutely brilliant.

---
saturday:

i had a sleepy start and then went out with godmother and yin for lunch. that was a bit complicated because yin's barely able to limp and struggles with crutches, but we managed and it was pleasant. i gave up trying to defend my style when they told me "you have no style". i have a style they don't appreciate, that's for sure, but that's like saying "this isn't music" when you don't share someone else's taste in music.

i almost lost an important office key when doing laundry. i count myself very lucky indeed.

---
an important realization: i've been calling myself a supplementarian since i coined the term, but now that 70g of my protein intake per day is from supplements i guess it's for real.

[continued...]