Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Things to be thankful for:

- Pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Or, put more simply, carbs, carbs, and more carbs.

- Everything ended up cooked at about the same time despite the absence of a Gantt chart.  (However, Patrick had a pretty impressive Gantt chart for his four burners at his Thanksgiving dinner. Understandably, K-poo was on the hook for bringing bread. I'm sure she slaved away all afternoon baking it. Or not...)

- Jeff didn't end up in jail or on some CPS list when he pulled down his crying 8-year-old son's pants in a public park to check the damage after a scooter accident.

- Eric had just enough chairs for everyone to sit in. I'd make comments about the lack of furniture in his house, but that would be beyond the pot calling the kettle black.

- Eric gets the "Tacky Neighbors Award" for the people next door who put up three inflatable Christmas lawn ornaments on Friday.

- The cheap table that my parents bought forty-eight years ago in El Paso (because there weren't any furniture stores in Alamogordo) is still around to hold a giant turkey and a bunch of side dishes.

- Did I mention carbs?

Mmm, carbs...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Spice Up Your Life

You know how you have those things you do that you swear that you'll never do again and yet you do them over and over again?

In this case I'm not talking about eating raw cookie dough, even though that applies. (Yes, it says in big bold print on the package that you're not supposed to eat it raw, but who are they fooling? Nobody actually buys that stuff to bake cookies with.)

No, I'm talking about doing something that you know you won't understand later and not documenting it. In this case, I'm talking about my spice rack.

I have one of those pre-labeled spice racks. It's great and I've had it for probably close to twenty years. I've depleted and refilled most of the spice jars multiple times (although not every six months as the charlatan television chefs would have you believe to be necessary).

However, over the years I've occasionally needed a jar for something else and had an empty one available, so I've used it. And every time I've thought "I should change the label" and then I think "No need -- of course I'll remember that the bottle labeled ginger really contains coriander."

So now every time I make a new recipe it's a bit of a crap-shoot as to whether I'm really adding coriander or maybe a spice blend with allspice and cloves that I made for that one Ethiopian curry two years ago. Usually I can tell based on the smell, but sometimes...

The spice of life? In my kitchen you may never know the truth...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Android training nobody can hear you scream...

For those keeping score at home, here's how the Android training went last week:

Day 1:

- Up at 4:15! Probably should apologize to the neighbors for turning up the music and lights before dawn.

- Took the dogs for a walk in the dark. Remembered too late that I should have brought a flashlight, leading to me finding poop in the wet grass by braille. (I had a bag over my hand, okay?)

- Left the house before 6am and was tailgated by at least five different people during the commute. Really people, if the car in front of me is going the same speed I am, sitting five feet behind my bumper actually won't make me go any faster. All it will do is make me squirt rancid windshield wiper fluid over my car and onto yours.

- Got to work at 7:15. That's just crazy.

- In a place labeled a "tech park", the conference room used for training twenty people (who are all required to have computers to work on) has three outlets that can be reached, located on the wall at the end of the tables. Within twenty minutes there are power strips daisy-chained all over the room. Between that and the ethernet cables (sockets located next to the power outlets) strung all around (because we don't have wi-fi, naturally, at a freaking wireless company), everyone is required to leap over multiple cords in order to get between the door and their seats. Both OSHA and the fire department would have evacuated the building on the spot if they'd dropped by.

- The instructor gets the class started by asking everyone to briefly state their experience and what they hope to get out of the course. This is normally a five day course being crammed into two days and he's trying to make sure that everyone has a solid understanding of java so he can completely skip those parts. Of course half the people in attendance take this as an opportunity to recite everything they've ever done in the last twenty years. Also, they keep starting out with "I'm so-and-so and I work for manager-so-and-so." Do we care? No.

- That one woman finally winds to a close on all of her accomplishments since Eisenhower was president and we get started. In the meantime it has become obvious that the thermostat is set to penguin comfort level. I'm wearing a sweatshirt and I'm starting to lose feeling in my fingers. I feel a little sorry for the guys in the front row who are wearing short sleeves. On the other hand, what kind of idiot goes anywhere in our building without a jacket? Oh, I see, they're from Texas. Maybe the A/C isn't so schizophrenic out there.

- Instead of following instructions and labeling the app button "Update", Jeff labels his "Fart". Just so we're clear, he's three years older than I am.

- In between lessons I try to figure out how to change the path in Windows. I'm a Linux user. I normally only use the laptop to log into my Linux workstation remotely. Turns out that you have to be an admin to change the path in Windows. How is this even an operating system? I don't have time to log out (5 minutes), log in to the other account which has admin privileges (10 minutes), change the path in a window that only shows ten characters at a time (20 seconds), log back out (5 minutes, or maybe 20 minutes if it hangs and I have to power cycle it to get logged out), and log back in under the original account (10 minutes). I decide this will have to wait until the day is over.

- At lunch time I go back to my desk and grab my parka. People make fun of me but I can tell they are secretly envious.

- After lunch the second set of thermostats, which seem to actually have some control over the room, is discovered.

- We work on an app that acts like a twitter client.

- At 5pm we stop for the day. At 6:15 I drive home. I almost make the mistake of getting in the HOV lane (open to anyone after 7pm) because my car clock is still one hour ahead. Stupid time changes.

Day 2:

- Up at 4:15 again. Definitely ought to apologize to the neighbors.

- Rinse off the Tinkle Turf in the backyard in the dark.

- Remember to bring the flashlight when walking the dogs. Naturally neither dog poops on the walk.

- Again, made it to work by 7:15. Took the extra time to change the path on the laptop.

- Question session at the beginning of class. The woman who won't stop talking keeps asking the same question (about cross-platform development and testing) over and over. The instructor keeps answering it. Eventually I want to stand up and say "YES. YOU MUST TEST IT ON EVERY DEVICE." but I don't because I am busy rick-rolling people using the twitter app from the day before. Eric keeps putting in Shakespeare quotations because, well, he had to memorize it so he might as well use it.

- By the end of the day my brain feels like it is leaking out of my ears.

So, anyhow, the instructor was excellent and the material was interesting. Unfortunately I don't work on anything where I'll actually need to use it, but no knowledge is wasted. Or something like that.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Those aren't the Android's you're looking for...

So I broke down and spent a bunch of money in the last couple of weeks. I'm claiming the iPad as a birthday present to myself, but the rest of it was clothing, and I refuse to call that a birthday present. Actually, if I could find a pair of sweat pants just like the ones that I have that are disintegrating and have no identifying tag, I would claim that as a birthday and Christmas present, but that's looking unlikely.

Anyhow, as a computer professional I could probably come up with some malarkey about how the iPad is work-related, but really it's just a toy and I'm not going to pretend otherwise. So far I've used it to watch television in bed and to list a recipe in the kitchen (vegetarian chili from in case you're curious). Other than the fact that it kept going to sleep while I was cooking, it worked really well. I'm guessing there's some setting to keep it from going to sleep -- if I were really a professional I'd figure it out. Maybe next time.

In a further test of professionalism, I have two days of Android training (whatever the heck that is) coming up this week. Aside from the fact that we have a deadline on Friday for some features that have yet to be started, the big problem is that the training starts at 8am and we all know how I feel about getting to work four hours early. Grumpiness might be evident. I realize that many of those people who work with me are asking themselves how, exactly, that might be different from normal.

Ha ha. Trust me. You'll find out.