Archive for the ‘anecdote’ Category

Things I’ve Forgotten

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

I was googling myself today(That’s normal, right?) and came across my old blogger accounts from when I was in Japan and before. — Musing about multicultural communication etc. I started this while in a class taught be Garr Reynolds, better known as the writer of Presentation Zen. — my first blog ever, and definitely baroque in some of its sentence structures, stylings. It clearly didn’t last very long, unlike the baroque period, which lasted from the late 16th century through the early 18th(thank you wikipedia).

Some of what I’ve written is rather cringe-worthy, but it is interesting to look back at  it and remember those heady days, playing Starcraft with exchange students, surrounded by Japan. Or, reflecting on my kendo miscommunications.

Bobcat Classic in VFF

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Start Line

August 22nd I ran the Bobcat Classic‘s 5k in my Five Fingers. 5 kilometers took me 29:50 which I think is pretty good considering I am not in the best shape.

I learned about the run in late July through an alumni association email. It sounded like fun, but I wondered if it was feasible, so I went out and jogged around a nearby park. It didn’t kill me, so I decided to do it.

I jogged about three times a week leading up to it, to make sure I was in shape enough, and to get my feet adjusted to running in my VFF. And it did require some adjustment. Even though I’ve had mine for a while, running in them is exercises somewhat different muscles than just walking around. My calves were unhappy with me until they adjusted to having to do more work.

The course for the 5k was not too bad. It passed through a parking lot and some residential streets and some bike/foot paths. These were the most annoying because of the gravel.

Gravel is about the most annoying thing to walk on in VFF. Small to medium rocks hurt a little when moving at speed. On the other hand, my feet have adjusted to that too, so while it hurts at the time, the feeling goes away fairly quickly.

Overall it was a fun experience and I would like to do something like it again.

Ah Gatorade

RubyNation Etc

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I am back from RubyNation and reapplying my nose to the grindstone, wheel to the asphalt and hands to the keyboard. I am still planning a big summary and commentary post based on my notes, but as I started working on that, I realized it might need more than one night to see to completion.

So, I give you this:

Hyatt Ceiling Pastry and Me in My Hat

Carrot Cake(Thanks Hyatt catering)

Mmm Carrot Cake

And Lys, the cat who is strangely fond of white ceramics.

Lys, Sink and You

Tune in some indeterminate point in the future for a fuller update. Or, you could just read this guy’s take.

Pete Seeger is stuck in my head

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Up Down, Down Up and down the river. Going…

Also, I’m going to see Up.

Labor: A Labor Saving Device

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009


I did some chores today. Laundry, cleaned kitchen counter tops. I really think about these things more than they are worth. Usually I just grumble about it, or read books on time management. The problem is I spend so much time thinking about and avoiding it, it would have taken less time just to do it.

It is a sort of zen, or yoda thing. About mindset.

Do or do not, there is no try.


Does a dog have a buddhalike nature?

The answer is Mu. In that the question is stupid on the face, and there is no valid answer. It isn’t a “Why is the sky blue” sort of question.

“Would it be better to do A or B?”

The answer is either if you are not doing anything yet.

I feel accomplished today.


Uncool am I?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

I was, as a nonflickr user up until 5 minutes ago , apparently uncool — tragically even. A situation I have just fixed.

Honestly though, I think I had an account before, years ago and just didn’t get into it that much. But looking again makes me realize how many cool pictures I have that I could have shared with the internets by now. For example, those I seeded my account with.

I would like to think that I am pretty hip to the social networky awesomeness that is the modern social network, but lately I find my self spending more time on simpler mediums.

Part of the reason why I got a flickr account is because I have tried to put images on my own site, like Brendan talks about and I have experienced the pain of trying to build my own or use others gallery software. It would be easier to let someone else maintain that stuff while I can focus on making and uploading the pics.

The other thing I like about the modern flickr, which I noticed adding the pictures, was how easy uploading new content has become. Compared to other services, like deviantART, which I have an account on(dead, mostly), it requires the least effort and thought on the users part.

That I think is part of why more sites will move to using technologies like OpenID and OAuth, even though implementing them can be annoying sometimes(just use a library, or middleware). They are better for the consumer of the sites services. Less passwords to remember, more control over your information are awesome things.

Oh and if you were wondering, the shoes are still awesome.

2009 hairdoos

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

So, now that I have been posting semi frequently, I am starting to get a bit of traffic. Like ~10 hits per week, but that is better than any previous point. But, the weirdest thing was this one search term,’2009 hairdoos’. Now I know from doing some web analytics stuff at work, that weird search terms are not particularly unusual, but–huh?

Blogging is hard

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

The problem I have is pretty typical, I imagine. You start with the goal of writing something witty and hopefully interesting, and you sit in front of the screen and wait for ideas. The problem with this approach is that there is no context. The solution space is too big and you find yourself stuck, looking at a continuum of possibilities that is truly challenging.

When that happens, I write about writing.

I have never felt that I was particularly good at writing. Except for a brief period around middle school where I wanted to write science fiction. I started a story, wrote something like 11 pages, but I became bored with it, or maybe just felt I was at the point where I needed more structure.

It is always hard to come up with new things to say. It takes time or a spark, but once it starts and you get in the flow, it just comes. Programming works like that for me sometimes too. It is like writers block. I can see the problem, but it is just a cloud–an abstract set of possible needs and uses for the application. And, when the problem space is ill defined, so is the solution space.

Part of the problem is my knowledge of my abilities with regards to building software. I know that I can build almost anything( we build compositions of thought stuff), given time and a good plan. But, being able to build anything is different from building the right thing. I get caught up in the good that it is nigh impossible to build the good enough.

I figure I am not the first to face this issue, after all isn’t that the point of YAGNI, and things like BDD. Divide and Conquer yes, but first and formost start!

So this is a problem I have had with writing for longer than coding, and I deal with it in the same sort of way. Just start. At some point I find that I know enough, or I have the first word(or leaf of a synatx tree as it may be) and I just start working.

This not knowing enough to narrow the options is a problem that stops me from doing as much testing on my code as I would like to. I want to use BDD, etc, but I have a tough time discerning where I should use acceptance tests vs specs. But, I am dealing with this, by reading more docs and by reading more code. I don’t really like the tutorials that I see about testing for the most part because they don’t have any real meat. So, I have been surfing github looking for projects tests and reading them to get a feel for how others use them.

As a side effect, I am reading more code and becoming more familiar with others styles, which is never a bad idea.

Music, Well Learned

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

I got a harmonica for Christmas. The first thing I did, after blowing enthusiastically for a bit, was to try to play some scales. That got me thinking. I first learned about scales probably in preschool when I was in the ‘oh, aren’t they so cute’ chorus. We’d dress up in greens, reds, blacks and whites and make loud noises following Mrs Caroll’s playing the piano. We had fun, made a lot of noise and were not particularly musical.

Later I took piano.

I didn’t really appreciate it at the time, but learing to read music was probably one of the better things my parents made me do. I liked to mess around with my mom’s guitar and the piano we had. But before taking those lessons, my ability to do much more than bang on the keys was rather limited.

I quit piano after, I think, a year or two. I don’t really remember, I didn’t practice enough. I stuck with singing though.

I continued to sing in chorale through high school and College, practicing here and there but mostly relying on my ear and my sense of music to get me by. That is until I started voice lessons. The thing about individual lessons at the University level is that they expect you to practice. And they expect you to get better and will tell you if you aren’t cut out for what you are doing.

So, I practiced everyday and I got better. I spent thirty minutes every afternoon running through my pieces, finding their hard parts practicing them and folding them back into the piece as a whole. Ater discrete math one semester and japanese another I would cross campus to the music building, sit in a practice booth and play my parts.

I intentionally and methodically worked my way through two years of voice and at the end I found that playing piano was easier than it had ever been for me. Becoming good at the piano was a side effect of practicing my voice music everyday.

That sort of relates to my as yet unstated goal for this blog, which is to write a post in it every day. The truth is, I need the practice. And, I wonder what kinds of things I will learn along the way, through writing and publishing something everyday.

Besides, trying to keep my qwerty and dvorak straight of course.

guitar hero, undo, cellular automata

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

So, I finally broke down and bought guitar hero for my Wii. It is the new one, world tour. It is fun, but I have noticed some problems. It is kind of slow to load new things, like hats, hairdoos guitar knobs etc on the customization pages–er screens.

Speaking of slow, sometimes the menus will freeze while they load something without telling you anything about it, until–bam–a number of things have changed. I think this is a problem that most developers who build interactive systems deal with (hopefully successfully) from time to time.

My favorite bad behavior of the slow to respond sort is where all the users actions queue up while the system is thinking and something bad happens. Then you WISH the silly developer had implemented undo.

Back to what I was talking about to begin with: Guitar Hero.
Pretty awesome as is. Rhythm based gaming finally making it big in the states.

I had a weird thought while playing through La Bamba today. I wonder if you could map a cellular automata to an interface like guitar hero’s a rhythm game. Sort of like the musical computations in anathem, only with rock.

strange idea.