New Clothes!

[picture: modeling my new clothes]
So my weekend went well! Not only did I relax, I bought new clothes (five new shirts, two new pairs of pants, woo!), got a hair cut and cleaned house. I gots me new air in my tires.
No, really. My tires have new air in them. My front-left was at 30 psi; all the rest were 25. (That explains at least some of the pull-to-the-right my car was exhibiting.) The tires have a maximum pressure rating of 44, so I brought ’em all up to 30. Car buffs: does that sound reasonable? Nothing blew up anyway. 🙂
Now I expected to feel the Altima handle a little differently after getting the extra air. What I didn’t expect was that I would be noticably higher off the ground! Methinks I’ll need to check the tire pressure more often. Note to self: also get the tires rotated. There’s far more tread in the back tires than in the front. Heh. In store for tomorrow is hitting the Nissan dealership at lunch. I want to order in a couple of new sun visors. They’re pretty poorly designed: one tiny little plastic clip breaks, and you’re out $33.
Work went well today too — I’m making some progress at understanding the undocumented codebase I inherited from an employee who left the company before I got there. Yeah.
Tomorrow I meet with my manager to discuss which of the prioritized improvements we’re going to include in our next software release. This will be tricky, since in many cases I have no idea how long a particular task will take. Ah well. We’ll see. Since the release is scheduled to go out relatively soon (mid-November), I’ll be aiming for the “low-hanging fruit” — that is, those tasks which are of large benefit our end-users and are easy to implement.
Anyway. Enough work. How was your Monday?

The Essential Mix. On Radio 1.

[picture: post-haircut]
Got my hair chopped! Feels fcuking fantastic! Just what I needed. Should serve me well during the remainder of this hot, hot rainy season.
Also today: fed Patches, learned the parts department at Gettel Nissan closes at 1pm on Saturday (in God’s name, why?!?), and did a truckload of laundry. Picked up some Aloe/vitamin e lotion for my left index finger, which I burnt in no small way on the oven rack last night. Conducted my first video-chat with Mom, Dad, Davin and Neil via the iChatAV beta. There were some minor sound issues (sometimes the high-end frequencies in Dad’s voice would disappear or I’d lose audio altogether — but they were relatively rare, and could have been the result of four different blogs also being served by the same internet connection) but otherwise, it worked pretty well! I’m sure these issues will be sorted out by the time the beta period finishes (around December). Now Mom and Dad need a camera so I can see them too. (-:
Tomorow: new clothes and a little disc ack-shun. Now? Folding of the futon and settling down to watch the DVD of Sphere.

Time to Relax

[picture: my very own parking lot view]
It’s beautiful outside. This shot was taken about 10 minutes ago, through the screen door for my porch. Today, I am going to lose some hair. On purpose of course. Photos to follow.
mp3 [6:53, 192kpbs, 9.4mb]

A Big ‘Un

[No, i haven’t fallen of the edge of the earth. So much has happened in the past week! This entry was written partly when I dead tired last night, partly this morning, so if there are errors, please be forgiving. I’ve got a new domain name! Or rather, Davin, my gracious host, has a new domain. The new address is “”. Nice and short. The old “” address will be going away at some point in the future. Update your bookmarks!]
First, last Thursday my iSight webcam came in! This is huge news for my Mac-using friends — basically all you need is iChatAV and either an iSight webcam from Apple, or any DV-based video camera, and we’ll be video-conferencing. The quality is first rate. But rather than describe it, I’ll let a professional do the talking. All you Mac users out there with a digital video-based video camera and/or an iSight, add me to your iChatAV buddy list either under the AIM id “asterizk” or the address “asterizk at macDOTcom”.
[picture: ichatav main screen]
Friday was our director of New Business Development — Ron C’s — birthday, what a blast. Started the evening with the much-vaunted swivel-chair derby around the plant, which Ron won handily. Mark got some great pics of the event courtesy of Jeff’s camera, I’ll see if I can obtain a few. [Update: got the pics!]
[picture: swivel chair derby pic 1]
in preparation for the corners ahead, we lower our chairs…
[picture: swivel chair derby pic 2]
and they’re off!
[picture: swivel chair derby pic 3]
Ron crossed the finish line first, then me, then Cam, with Jeff bringing up the rear.
Afterwards we headed on down to the Paddy Wagon pub and had a grand ol’ time.
Saturday was the Orlando Hurricane Hat Tournament, which I went to with Alec and Eric. My team won! It was fantastic, though, since we won it meant I was playing the maximum number of games possible (six I think, with nearly all of them hitting their 75-minute time cap). So that adds up to… a lot of running. I didn’t sprain anything either!!! Must be because I’m in shape or something. Hah…. yeah, that’s it.
Saturday night was spent in Orlando at a hotel I booked for the three of us via Two-star hotel, $39 for the night! That included a pool and a full continental breakfast. My only complaint would be that it took forever to check out — the staff were no-where to be seen at 9:30am on Sunday morning.
Ah yes, before I get any further I should mention that I also broke my year-long petition against eating at McDonald’s on Saturday. Basically, the reasoning was as follows: the petition really doesn’t make a lot of sense, since I’ll readily eat at Wendy’s, Burger King and Checkers. So singling out McDonald’s seemed kind of silly. To break my fast-food-fast I had an Egg-McMuffin meal. Apparently the McDonald’s down here also have five or six different kinds of salad, so if I find myself in that spot again, I’ll have to check them out. Strange how we didn’t have all the different salads up in Victoria. But then again, the local restaurants probably have that market covered, and besides, we had McPizzas. 🙂
Sunday I returned Cam & Melissa’s monkey — the stuffed one I borrowed for the Savannah hat tourney waaay back in July.
[picture: alec wearing a monkey hat]
Let it be known that I feel bad about temporarily losing Cam & Melissa’s monkey. I’m sure they coped somehow though. 🙂
Sunday night saw Cam, Melissa and I down at Long Boat key, where we watched the sun set.
[picture: watchin the sun go down]
Later, we indulged in delicious gelato at Settimi’s in St. Armand’s Circle. Fantastic stuff. Cam & Melissa, thank-you for the recommendation, I’m definitely going back.
[picture: melissa, cam and i eathing ice-cream cones!]
We’d only stopped licking for a few seconds!
Monday through yesterday has largely been work-related, with me pushing the process of gathering our requirements for our next software release. I’m counting on my manager’s ability to determine the scope of the release, since there’s waay more work than resources. For each potential development task that could go in the next release, I’ve given time estimates, even though (a) I’m not familiar with the code being modified and (b) there’s no documentation for it. So it’s a bit of guessing game, but at least it’s an attempt at keeping expectations realistic. Each task also has two sets of priorities, one from the software group’s point-of-view (how hard is it to implement, what is our [naive] view of the benefit to the user?) and from our Education & Training dept’s point-of-view.
Cam & Melissa took off early yesterday morning for Vancouver for the wedding of an old ex-coworker of mine, Byron. (Those of you in Victoria may remember I used to work with him at the UVic Clearihue Computing Facility with him.) After the wedding, Melissa will be staying in Vancouver for a little bit of time in order to become gainfully employed and earn a little cash on the side. As part of the going-away festivities, we of course had a few people over to the pool for a little Tostitos and Beer action. It was Ron, Jeff, Cam, Melissa, myself, John H, Hugo and a little later on in the night, Kim P. She’d end up jumping in the pool:
[picture: kim in the pool]
That wrapped up shortly after midnight, and, surprisingly, I had only a minimal hangover in the morning. That, of course, didn’t prevent me from being tired as fcuk.
Last night I went to Ultimate practice — my first game since last Saturday’s multi-hour marathon. We played a very short game of 4×4 pickup (my team got it’s arse whipped) and then headed out to beer. Wayne, one of the Sarasota Slacker founders, had his two week old daughter Emma out. What a cutie!
[picture: Sarasota Slacker's founder, Wayne and his two-month-old daughter Emma]
Afterward we headed down to the Continental Cafe on Beneva and Webber — where the service is slow, the food is good, the beer is German and the live music is composed of teenagers playing epic rock ballads from the 70s. Sadly, the Cafe’s lease is closing on the 30th of August. Their lease isn’t being renewed. Rumor has it’s because of some overly-ambitious noise by-law. If that’s it, then that’s really sad. One of the coolest things about this town is all the little eating places that have live music playing in them.
And guess what else? I got my invitation to Sue’s wedding last night in the mail! I’ve yet to open it, but it looks rather fancy! I’m pretty excited.

Monday monday

[picture: the pull
My team “pulling” the disc (like a kickoff in football) during their first of six games Saturday.
Sorry about the lack of updates. It’s been a busy weekend! Friday was Ron’s b’day, so, to celebrate we started the night with a little goofing off. Cam’s got the details.
The evening ended around midnight; just in time for me to make the finishing touches on organizing a Sarasota trip up to Orlando for the first-annual Hurricane Hat Ultimate Frisbee tournament. More on that to come (involves typhoons and thunderstorms)!


[picture: my porch table after a rainstorm]
My porch table after a downpour at lunchtime today.
It’s Friday and I’m dead exhausted. It’s been an unusual day at work. Unfortunately not one I can talk about here (but then again, what’s new).
I can tell you that the song I’m listening to, Max Graham’s “Love The Bomb (original 99 mix)” is doing a fantastic job of lifting me out of this terrible funk I’m in. Max made it — along with lots of other good stuff — available for free on his website. Check it out!

Just that kind of night

[picture: tram at tampa international]
A view from the top floor of the Tampa International Airport parkade. The trams shuttle air passengers from the check-in/baggage terminals to the sattelites where the planes reside.
Cam & Melissa came out with me to Ultimate pickup tonight. Besides Cam clobbering Jennifer (the only woman of the 7 who came out tonight), the highlight of the night had to be after practice when Eric G, Bo, Cam, Melissa and I went out to get a bite to eat at that famous Florida eating establishment, Hooters. Melissa asked our girl — Katherine — for her shorts. “We don’t actually sell them,” came the response quickly. No, not a pair of shorts like the ones she was wearing, Melissa explained. Her shorts.
Melissa went on to explain she needed them in order to play this frisbee game, Ultimate. Katherine had never heard of it. Eric offered a demonstration of the game using Nutrasweet and Real Sugar packets. That didn’t go over very well. While we didn’t end up leaving with the shorts (I’m still trying to figure out how Melissa got her to agree to it in the first place), Melissa did give Katherine her number. So perhaps we will see the shorts on Melissa at some point after all. 😉 Outage

So you all undoubtedly noticed you couldn’t make here yesterday. Sorry about that. Turns out anyone with a “” domain was kinda hosed. Here’s the official note from the kind folks

[06/08/2003 14:23 AuEST]
We are finally back up. Due to our upstream provider’s router dying our ISP lost connectivity. We appologise for the inconvience this has caused. Everything should now be back to normal.

Since I was following Davin’s suggestion and trying out a text editor for writing my entries (BBEdit, actually), I didn’t even notice my site was down until I went to upload the image for my post.
The following entry is actually from late Monday night. And PS — no, waiting ’til morning didn’t help. 🙂 Without further ado…
Monday, August 04. 11:36 pm.
[picture: wrong way sign at TPA]
So tonight, I tried to bring work home with me. It’s been a while since I’ve tried that. It took the form of twelve 11×17″ pieces of paper. I’m halfway through evaluating 150 pieces of feedback from various sources. I’m trying to validate, prioritize and give time estimates and dependencies for each item. It’s prep work for the generation of a set of requirements for the next version of our software. And it’s a lengthy, iterative process.
The spreadsheet made it home with me, but I just couldn’t find it within me to pick it up after dinner. Too many things I had to do at home. I’m going to bed now, maybe I’ll try again in the morning.