Tuesday, November 29, 2005

We must give it time.

I am trying to grow a beard. I've never had a beard. I think I'm doing an Al Gore. I had a goatee for a while. But that's not a beard. According to this entry in Wikipedia "In the course of history, men with facial hair have been ascribed various attributes such as wisdom, sexual potency, or high status, but also a lack of cleanliness and refinement, or an eccentric disposition."

I think a beard signifies a change for me. And not all that stuff above. But I'm getting ahead of myself - I've been growing this for 5 days now. We must give it time.

Soon you will be able to buy gifts and baskets online because of my gargantuan efforts to program in .NET. But honestly, do you really want to buy baskets and stuff online? I'd rather buy a book. Or camping equipment.

Speaking of camping, I am sure Jonesing for some camping. I've been falling asleep imagining canoeing, portaging and hiking in to a camp spot. I recall the last thing I thought about last night was arriving at an interior spot and digging a firepit, and making a shelter. I want to create a shelter out of tree boughs, pine brush and leaves.

I read through my old copy of Bradford Angier's "How to Stay Alive in the Woods" a couple of days ago. Made me want to fish and cook that big fat bass over a fire on a green stick. Hot damn. Trouble is, Monty the beagle ain't in the best of health at the moment. The vet's instructions say that he has to go on short walks for 16 weeks. It's been 8 weeks. He's still limpy. Recovering, but not able to go camping. Spring hasn't (yet) been convinced of the value and pleasure of camping. We must give it time.

Speaking of time, it's late and I need to go to sleep.


According to Walter Pincus of the Washington Post (vis a vis William Arkin):

On May 2, 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz signed a
memorandum (large pdf) directing the military to collect and report "non-validated threat information" relating to U.S. military forces, installations or missions. His memorandum followed from the establishment of the Domestic Threat Working Group after 9/11, the intent of which was to create a mechanism to share low-level domestic "threat information" between the military and intelligence agencies.

It is the military's equivalent of the FBI and intelligence community's post 9/11 shift, and Wolfowitz directed the sharing of reports on ambiguous activity. This new reporting mechanism -- called TALON for Threat and Local Observation Notice -- applies to seven reporting categories:

  • Non-specific threats
  • Surveillance
  • Elicitation
  • Test of security
  • Unusual repetitive activity
  • Bomb threats
  • Other suspicious activity

I myself have engaged in some of these domestic activities recently:

Non-specific threats: "Goddamn Taxi Drivers, they should all be thrown in the lake"
Surveillance: "I've been keeping a close eye on this shifty looking figure who keeps appearing in the Music Garden on my walks with Monty - he never seems to have a dog and he is too well dressed to be a homeless person"
Elicitation: "Uhmm."
Test of security: "The neighbour's security alarm kept going off. I thumped on the wall we share and the alarm stopped. 30 seconds later it went off again."
Unusual repetitive activity: "Does biting my nails count?"
Bomb threats: "They haven't managed to track it back to me so... no."
Other suspicious activity: "No, that seemed perfectly normal to me."

Got nothin' else to write about - too frickin' busy.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Story of Sunday

While Spring recovered from her non-avian flu, Monty and I went for a walk at Cherry Beach.

At Cherry Beach there were trees blown over by the storm last week, clumps of zebra mussels washed up on shore and dogs racing around extolling the joys of the season. Monty met many a friend.

And then we came home and I worked and watched television, Spring read and Monty snored.

Anyone have more exciting stories to tell about their Sunday?

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Okay, shhhh. COPS is starting in less than ONE minute. Man, I love this show.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Interviews and Ear Shaking Dancing

I suppose it might be appropriate to begin writing again. I took a few days off there - have been busy coding and completing a freelance web project, and shuffling around at home taking care of poor under-the-weather Spring... I went to an interview Monday. I'd been for an interview with this company a month ago and had sat in front of the CEO, President and Director of Operations and referred to a particular theoretical aspect of project management as 'sexy'. The President then signalled for me to stop and asked me if I'd just used the word 'sexy' in the interview. I said I had, and that there simply wasn't a better word.

After the interview the Director of Operations pulled me aside and told me that I interview 'very well'. I didn't get the job. Someone else did, no doubt some square who didn't use the word 'sexy' in his interview.

But then I find out from my job agent that the guy didn't work out (wasn't using the word 'sexy' enough, no doubt) and so they called me back in on Monday and I sat in front of the HR lady (it always is an 'HR lady'. Not HR reprsentative, or HR professional. Or HR guy. Just HR lady.) and in front of the CEO and we spoke together for 1 hour and 4 minutes. I more carefully teased out the implicit and explicit responsibilities of the position and I was able to read between the lines that a successful reporting relationship and managing relationship with the President was important - probably why 'I don't say sexy' guy didn't work out.

This company is a software and security solutions hi tech firm - up near IBM in Markham. I would be managing the production group and doing project management. They're poised for big things (that's an oft-heard party line in interviews) in the States right now so that sounds fun. I liked the CEO, reminds me of an old boss I had who I liked. I think I'd like to work there - let's see what karmic forces have in mind for me.

On an unrelated note, I was in touch with a freelance client of mine yesterday... His domain name needed to be renewed so I worked on that with him (he's not tech-savvy at all. I am - look I HAVE A BLOG). I had worked with him in July 2004 to get his e-mail account set up for his new domain, i.e. Guy@hiscompany.com. But noticed his e-mails to me yesterday came from some generic ISP account. I asked him to confirm that his guy@hiscompany.com e-mail account was working. It was like talking (I phoned him) to a squirrel, anxious to get away and find an acorn. Finally I pinned him down and he admitted - beneath the interrogation lights - that he wasn't getting his e-mails from his site contact form or even understood what I meant by his own domain's e-mail address. So I took it upon myself to see if he had any e-mails in his account hanging out on the server.

I was dismayed to find 1007 e-mails sitting there in his POP3 box. I downloaded them all, feeling so sorry for this guy who has his own consulting firm - oh the contracts potentially lost, etc... but luckily all but 7 e-mails were SPAM. 1 of the 7 was a request for proposal to do with big machinery fitting consulting stuff - he does a lot of work with power generation companies and pulp and paper companies - which had come in the day before. Astonishing timing you might think. Well, be astonished.

This story ends well. Now he is properly set up and is sending e-mails from a new default e-mail account...

The Tylenol Cold and Flue Nightime relief gell capsule I took 30 minutes ago is causing me to feel woozy. I will have a snoozy. Soon I will be well enough to take care of Spring again. Poor thing.

JTx - please update your site, according to you, you have a gig coming up on October the 4th.
PBx - please tell me stories about your new vehicle.
Rx - please tell me a camping story
NC - please tell me Peter Street stories


Yesterday at Loblaws I bought 2 loaves of Olive Bread, 1 baguette (for me, I hate olives), 1 cheesecake, 1 box of 12 Nestea Iced Tea cans, and 3 Navel oranges. Yesterday I ate 85% of the baguette. Yesterday I didn't shave, and got the mail from downstairs. Yesterday I ran the dishwasher and put away the dishes. Yesterday I deposited a cheque in the bank. Yesterday Monty spent some time dancing on the floor. He dances around treats sometimes, hopping and skipping and shaking his ears at his treat, until he calms down and eats them. It is very entertaining to watch.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Okay - so I just took a little walk outside to get a breath of fresh air.

Then all of a sudden, Thud! I was hit in the head with a snowflake.



TASERgate and the whole Valerie Plame circus.

Is it just me or is this whole Valerie Plame Judith Miller Karl Rove Scooter Libby Bob Woodward (as of late this week!) episode really confusing? And I thought I'd read every single newspaper article on the debacle - trying to make sense of it all - because all the big papers tell me it is a big deal. I wish dramatic events reported about Washington Politicos were a little more clear cut:

Dick Cheney steals candy bar. Caught on tape. In fact, caught on a COPS episode as he was stealing the Babe Ruth. Resisted arrest by throwing boxes of Tootsie Rolls at arresting officers. Was TASERED in awesome COPS episode entitled 'Shoplifters TASERED' - continued to resist. Got peppersprayed. Apologised. Admitted his role in the shoplifting and incriminated Scooter Libby, George Bush and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found cowering at the back of the store, mouth stuffed with Peppermint Patties. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald perfunctorily TASERED. Judith Miller walks into store and claims total innocence.

Yes. That would be so much clearer. And entertaining. By the way, COPS is one of my favourite and REVERED television programs.

And Ben Bradlee voices off yesterday afternoon (about Bob Woodward): "He doesn't have to disclose every goddamn thing he knows."

Brilliant. Sometimes cursing just cuts through all the shit.

And wow - just browsing through Editor & Publisher - Another 'Judith Miller' imbroglio is threatening to erupt regarding the old Wen Ho Lee affair. Wow - don't you people have better things to do with your time?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Top Revered and Top Reviled Things Right Now.

I'm listening to Neil Young Tonight's the Night. Produced in 1975 when I was in kindergarten, it is in my top revered 5 of all albums of all time.

I had Chunky Stew for lunch - beef with potato stew is in my top 5 of all reviled Chunky Stew flavours. I only like the Chicken Stew flavour. Reviled is such a fine word - really it is to assail with abusive words. It is not like I am saying it is in my top 5 of all disliked Chunky Stew flavours, because reviled requires definite energy and action be taken against it... I'm quietly reviling it under my breath and in this blog but honestly I am taking some serious action against it - I am literally vituperating, railing against the nasty aftertaste.

Revered, reviled.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The rainy day is winding down.

It is raining in Toronto, a cold spitty rain and I can look down on the raised highway bisecting the city from the lake and see the slowed traffic. There was a pair of police cars zipping along the slicked asphalt, little cherries shining - they sound quaint from this height and through plate glass. There was a truck stumbling along with the word Train on the side of it. I went downstairs before for a walk and saw a homeless guy huddled under the walkway at this building.

My suffering is a drop in the ocean of humanity's suffering.

I have a phone interview at 4:30 today - so I'm going over to my office in the other tower. It is deserted, except for a phone on my old desk. It will help me talk with the HR person. Bye for now.


I have two and a half days remaining at this contract - I'm spending about 20% of my time here working on work projects, the rest of the time working on freelance. I have very little to do. I am getting a taste of what it would have been like had I been a project manager working strictly on interactive projects here: tastes easy. Too bad I accepted the crazy program management job sprinkled with a project management piece on a DM project. But hey, I didn't know. And now I do.

The remaining 80% is on 2 freelance projects - the e-commerce implementation, and a small web site for a children's care center in Toronto. That's fun stuff.

Was in the final (for me) production meeting today - all the project managers sit around and find their fit in the family by being witty, quiet, smart, bored, by sitting away from the group, by leaning in over the table as though they are trying to hold everyone closely, by being consistently late for the group, by being especially grumpy or especially silly or especially judgemental in the group. Oh family - how we never leave you and how you never leave us.

These Production group meetings are supposed to achieve 2 things, I think: 1. group identity building, cohesion stuff. This meeting meets this objective, albeit weakly. Nothing verbally or otherwise is done to engage us as a group or between members of the group. That should be the responsibility of the facilitator or leader. 2. Facilitate communication pieces that cannot be effectively communicated via other methods. This meeting does not achieve this objective well. 95% of the items ever raised could have been sent out in an e-mail. If I ran the meetings things would be different, yeah boy. I'd have a show and tell. I'd have a group hamster cage, I'd name the hamster Gord. Gord the hamster would sleep during the meetings because Gord is diurnal.

So the new book I"m reading is The Schopenhauer Cure by my old hero Irvin Yalom. There's a guy who is running his life as per Schopenhauer's dictums and philosophies. There's a guy trying to redeem his life as he dies of cancer. To redeem himself he tries to cure this Schopenhauer guy of his craziness by engaging in a dialectical therapy of sorts, within a group therapy context. I'm going to read it 10 more times. I love it. I love reading Dr. Yalom's group therapy stories - nothing is as good as good group therapy I bet.

I love chocolate and of late have grown to love Skor bars. I am going to get one now.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Fat Old Sun

When the fat old sun in the sky is falling
Summer evenin' birds are calling
Summer's thunder time of year
The sound of music in my ears
Distant bells, new mown grass
Smells so sweet
By the river holding hands
Roll me up and lay me down
And if you sit don't make a sound
Pick your feet up off the ground
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange
Sing to me, sing to me
When that fat old sun in the sky is falling
Summer evenin' birds are calling
Children's laughter in my ears
The last sunlight disappears
And if you sit don't make a sound
Pick your feet up off the ground
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange
Sing to me, sing to me
When that fat old sun in the sky is falling

Download this ditty here.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My next camping trip

Were I to go camping for a week I would figure out exactly where I want to go - likely Algonquin Park - see a 5 Mb highly-detailed PDF map here.

And I'd then gather my gear together and pack it efficiently in a knapsack:

  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • self-inflating mattress
  • hatchet
  • fixed blade knife
  • rope
  • jeans
  • shirt
  • jacket
  • boxers
  • 2 changes socks - I can wash them if needed
  • wind-up / battery radio - for the boring times
  • novel
  • Flashlight & batteries
  • Lantern, stove and naptha fuel
  • Garbage Bags, zip lock bags
  • Mug, spoon, fork, cooking pot, frying pan
  • paper towels
  • Dish detergent in a small shampoo bottle
  • Blanket for Monty
  • Toiletries
  • First aid items (bandaids, disinfenctant, antibiotics, pills galore)
  • Matches
  • Compass
  • Emergency flourescent light sticks (2)
  • Pencil, paper, book
  • folding chair
  • pillow

Pack my food nicely in plastic:

  • Biltong
  • tea bags
  • cheddar cheese
  • tortillas
  • lemon drink crystals
  • milk powder
  • noodle side-dish packets
  • bacon
  • dog kibble
  • dried mashed potatoes
  • chili mix - dehydrated
  • cooking oil (in a small water bottle)
  • eggs
  • tabascoe sauce
  • pepper
  • salt
  • sugar
  • Chocolate bars
  • Oatmeal pouches, raisins or dates etc…
  • Nalgene water bottle
  • Hot chocolate and coffee mix with coffee whitener
  • A nice Cuban cigar
  • Mickey of good gin

Then I'd gas up the car, drive up there with Monty in the back seat (Spring prefers 5 star accomodation), rent a canoe, canoe for some hours, portage in a little way, canoe in the rest of way, pick a good spot, and make camp in this order:

  1. Shelter - set up tent wit sleeping bags and organize kit
  2. Fire - arrange fire pit, get firewood, start fire going
  3. Food - get cooking gear out and ready - along with lantern and cooking stove.
  4. Chair - Having eaten, place chair at water's edge for a nice view, bring gin and lemon-crystal inspired drink, and cigar and match. Bring blanket so Monty can sit beside me, bring some treats for him (he doesn't smoke cigars)
  5. Relax.

Reportable Status Items and the Glorious Weather

Today the weather is glorious. The sun is warm - have just been out in the Music Garden with Monty. The balcony door is wide open, Spring's reading her book (she's moved on to the second in the series) ensconsed in the bed, and in an hour or so we're on our way out to Oakville.

Status on the web site I'm building:

Yet to complete:

  • installing SSL certificate in directory on the server.
  • SSL assets must be duplicated to /image/ folder beneath /ssl/.

  • 404 error handling page must be updated to the custom one I've created on the server
  • Make sure correct mail server settings are in the database
Well on its way to completion:

  • ensuring the header and footer - i.e. the wrap - of the secure e-commerce pages conform to the site skin (tackled a few yesterday)
  • update homepage with the wonderful news that all users will receive a 5% discount on items for the next 11 months (have .psd now)
  • Negotiate business rules handling for value-based shipping. (Have explained position - haven't heard back in 3 days)
Status on the kitchen supplies for meals over the next few days: dwindling
Status on shaving and showering today: considered, no concrete steps taken
Status on reducing my life to a series of reportable status items: underway

Eat a Peach.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Today's to-do / notes list.

To get through this day, I've developed a small to-do /notes list.

It includes the following 4 items:

1. biteme1

This is my new password for the finance/estimate intranet application. This password needed to be renewed, as mine was very old (over 3 months old - this is the age that your baby may be able to lift his head and hold it for several moments, or even longer, while lying on his back.), and I needed to submit an estimate for a docket.

The application has restrictions on password generation which I have figured out without a helpful prompt:

- Password must include a numeral
- Password must not be a dictionary word.
- Password must not be stupidstupidstupidstupidstupidstupid(I think because it is too long)

The crappy interface does not tell you in advance what passwords are valid, so after a few attempts I managed to have "biteme1" allowed. So, "bite" would not be valid, according to the restrictions. "Bite1" would not be valid, according to the restrictions. And so "biteme1" is it.

2. update redemption allowances information.

I don't know what this means. So I will move on to the next item, which reads:

3. Exhaustive product matrix required!!!

This relates to the items that the web store I'm building must include. I don't have all the items, despite assurances from the client... This is one piece of the puzzle that remains - the rest of the puzzle includes simple formatting issues like (which I haven't included on the list because I've included them in an Excel issues list:
  • ensuring the header and footer - i.e. the wrap - of the secure e-commerce pages conform to the site skin).
  • installing SSL certificate in directory on the server.
  • update homepage with the wonderful news that all users will receive a 5% discount on items for the next 11 months ( "your baby now talks in conversational gibberish.")
  • 404 error handling page must be updated to the custom one I've created on the server.
  • SSL assets must be duplicated to /image/ folder beneath /ssl/.
  • Negotiate business rules handling for value-based shipping. I have it working just fine. Don't mess with success.
  • Make sure correct mail server settings are in the database.
and the final piece on my to-do/notes list is:

4. white-gas lantern

Which means I want one for Christmas, so I don't have to lug butane/propane mixes around in the bush. I can use naptha for both my stove and my lantern...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Meditations on Habits.

I had sweet and sour pork on white rice for the 5th work day in a row today. When I like and get used to eating something for lunch, I keep eating it. I am feeling a bit queasy about my meal though - I get these ideas in my head about what's good and partake in it and then forget to actually ask myself whether I truly want it or not.

I suppose it is a mental laziness thing - some habits are.

Some basic habits are important - like tying my shoelaces in the morning. I don't really think about it, I just do it.

Some more sophisticated habits are comfortable - like sitting down on my sofa, pulling up a cushion, and flicking through the TV. I don't really think about it, I just do it.

Some habits are very basic, but unexplainable (to me): Biting my nails. Slouching as I walk in an effort to appear headstrong. Drinking Coke all the time. Flushing the toilet before ending my pee - that's so no one hears the end of my pee. And then flushing again. Trying to get the orange juice uncapped, poured and returned to the fridge before the fridge door swings back shut - without touching the fridge door again. Robbing banks (just seeing if you're paying attention - I don't rob banks).

Dr. Tory Hoff, my history of psychology professor at U of T - at the time on loan from the University of Saskatoon, wearing cowboy boots, a big buckle and who introduced me to Julian Jaynes' The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (referenced somewhere in an earlier post to this blog) - taught me that the word habit is etymologically derived from Monks' habits - something one wears all the time. We wear habits, we are draped in them - they are, to all outward appearances, of us.

Habits - by my estimation - are easily related to compulsions. Compulsions are repetitive behavours driven by an impulse (if behaviourists will allow me that behaviours can also be internal thoughts) - a dark, forbidden impulse. I'm not saying all habits are driving by dark impulses, but rather that compulsions are habits driven by dark impulses. Yeah. And I mean sad, mad, bad, and glad (if that's not allowed in context) when I mean dark - the emotions 'on the other side of the curtain' beyond conscious ownership. I'm not mad. I'm NOT mad. I'M NOT MAD!!!

Compulsions are a clever and bolstered and sturdy way to deny ownership of the emotions on the other side of the curtain. I read about an architectural draftsman in the 60's who refused a simple company directive to draw extensions to boundary lines on blueprints - to give them a jazzed up, funky look. He just couldn't do it. It was a very visible refusal that fit with his own private refusals to go beyond boundaries in his life. Analysis revealed the hurt and pain he'd experienced in Dachau, and his visceral fear of breaking any rules or going beyond boundaries, on fear of immediate execution. Once he connected the dots, he was able to draw the squigglies. Actually, he left soon after, I suppose he no longer needed to control his mental world with blueprints and drawings.

No more squigglies.

I am not going to have sweet & sour pork on white rice for lunch any more.

Monday, November 7, 2005

What I'm up to today and no wonder they make cheese in Wisconsin.

Given that my contract is running out, the project is shutting down and that they're tossing me a bone occasionally with little pissy tasks/projects (yes I wrote Pissy), I have decided to spend some of my time working on a freelance gig - in the downtime of course (lunch, etc...). Yes.

It's that ASP.NET project I've been doing - this weekend I really got into the code and realized it ain't much different from classic ASP stuff. I found some efficient ways to code classic ASP sites over the last couple of years that basically save me time and effort. ASP.NET seems to capture these practises, I don't know what it is called (Object Oriented or something? I dunno, I studied Psych.)... So basically it isn't all that difficult to code this stuff. VB rather than VBScript, but tomatos, tomatos. Or is it tomatoes? I forget.

I love this coding so much, maybe I should be a coder. Anyways... Spring's in Wisconsin - it is really big. She's got a 3 hour trip ahead of her, and I think another 3 hours back or something... Crazy big spaces in Wisconsin.

No wonder they make cheese there (non sequitur)

I'm getting back to work now. Later folks. Thanks for all of your good cheer.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

He described her as 'hot but flaky'.

We ate at Red Lobster tonight - due to circumstances beyond their control (according to a sign taped to the front counter) they regretted that they could not serve alcohol. The maitre d' told me in an irritated tone that someone at head office had forgotten to renew the liquor license for that location. This is probably the busiest Red Lobster in Toronto.

Someone is going to be in trouble on Monday.

As an experiment I bought some Labatt Maximum Ice on the way home. This advertises itself as Biere Forte. I am going to experiment on myself with this. I shall let you know if anything happens out of the ordinary.

Earlier this afternoon we all drove to PetSmart to load up on Beagle supplies - we got Monty some treats, and a couple of toys. The one toy that impresses him the most is a small hollow yellow spikey squeaky ball. He has been manically chewing this for the last hour. It is so loud my ears are ringing. He loves it. I think the best part about it is that due to its spikiness, he can't chew into it and tear it apart. He is in love with his squeaky toy.

Spring is trying hard to finish a book she's been working on all this week. Our trip to Red Lobster interrupted the final 2 chapters and she has demonstrated the patience of the saints putting up with Monty's incessant high-volume toy-squeaking. On Monday she's off to Wisconsin to find vast supplies of paper.

I've had one of those beers during the time it took to write this. So far I'm feeling a bit woozy. I think I'll continue the experiment.

To Serve and Protect was just on. It showcased 2 officers investigating a report of a dirty van. It was very dirty inside also. Then they investigated a report of someone urinating in an underground parking garage. Then they investigated a man with crutches for lingering around a store. They determined he was lingering around the store because he was on crutches and it was hard for him to linger the hell away from there.

Now I'm watching COPS. Some chick just about ran a guy over, and they found about an ounce of crystal meth on him. Now they're trying to pull over some guy in a truck. America is the land of people who carry guns around a lot. The guy has just described the woman he's with - who is carrying several knives - as 'hot but flaky'.

Speaking of knives, for Christmas I want a Buck Vanguard - it's the nice one on the top of this image. I handled one at Bass Pro last week and decided it was the best camping knife I'd ever handled. Wow.

COPS is way better than To Serve and Protect. Or worse. Depends on how you look at it.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

They do not have the funds and the future of the other project is unknown and unsold.

In 10 work days, my contract will come to an end. They do not have the funds to maintain my position - the corporate and agency side can't use a project manager - they need a support account manager - and since the season is over and all they're doing is planning for '06 and '07 and the future of the other project is unknown and unsold and since the pilot program was supported by the former program (or as they call it - 'project') they will not renew the contract...

Well that means no more asset management. And no more duplicitious prick account managers. And it means that I'll get to find a non-agency place to work - and maybe I'll steer clear of pure project management for a while. You produce nothing - you do nothing - you faciliate the production of things and you facilitate the doing of things... while you know this is exceptionally important, and that the project could not thrive without this behind-the-curtains busy business, what do you have at the end of the day? I made... What?

I like making stuff. I'm making this blog. I'm making .NET coding come to life on this same computer. I like making food. I like making a new bathroom.

Spring's going to Wisconsin next week - they make cheese there. I could make cheese.

I'll stop writing now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

My Emerging Asset Management Competence.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I have a sizable chunk of assets to process - filenames converted into usable system file terms, dimensions, and sizing. It means I have to drape myself over papers on my desk with an ink pen and methodically write out the correct terms relying on obscure rules of nomenclature and heuristics that are flirtaciously flitting in and out of my consciousness, in and out of my grasp.

Once I do a couple of dozen, I think they'll impress a groove in my neural synapses and the rest can be done on auto-pilot.

Then there are a few 'special' assets that need to be tracked down by yours truly and then from there only a few assets requests at a time will flow through the system and the process will be clarified for the group and easy to invoke.

Easy to invoke. I guess that's the key with all this learning I'm doing at this job - I want to be able to do everything that's asked of me painlessly and efficiently. I hate feeling incompetent.

But since seeing the light, I feel more competent. Competence.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Wonko Web post of December 8th, 1998.

Here is a post I've found from 1998:

December 8th, 1998.

I went camping in Algonquin this past weekend. I left Thursday and got back Sunday night. I feel quite refreshed and ready to tackle society and its crony minions once again. I saw three otters, two pheasants, several neat looking birds, and one dead snake. It rained one night, but a book and a very hot fire distracted me from that. Mew Lake is where I made base, about forty kilometres into the park.

Note for next time: bring less food. I was burning food to get rid of it. Note for next time: prepare food for quick and easy use. I was chopping onions and potatoes with a boning knife wearing socks over my hands in the cold drizzle. Have these items already diced up, as it will already be cold and I have no need to be worried about spoilage or browning.

Before I made it to Algonquin, I tried Arrowhead, and it was closed for the winter. Brilliant me. So I back-tracked to Gravenhurst, found an ex-Oakvillian named Blair whiling away his hours in a bar, staring off into nothingness. We proceeded to the Albion Bar. The establishment had hired two strippers, and we played pool, and drank beer. I felt bad for the strippers, the whole place is entirely seedy and about as backwater as you can get, and the 'gentleman' they gravitated towards, and who without a doubt probably had a business interest in their performance, looked like the Grim Reaper meets ZZ Top. I slept in my car that night, and left at seven the next morning to a more suitable location, Algonquin.

You have been warned.

Despite the intriguing title above, this post is very matter-of-fact. This post is to help me feel better about a programming/development hurdle I'm experiencing. You don't need to read this if you don't want to. You won't find anything especially interesting in it. Really.

You have been warned.

For the last couple of weeks I've been working on a freelance project to redevelop an existing website to make it work better and to install a shopping cart / e-commerce system.

I shopped around for some good software and decided on a .NET product. It is built in .NET, so VB and compiled dlls and that sort of business. I know classic ASP - VBScript and such - pretty much inside out. But I haven't delved into VB or C++ yet and don't fully get the .NET paradigm. I'm sure it is more efficient and better and tastes better for longer, but it is tricky. The big thing has been to get the server set up with the correct permissions. I was dealing with a situation late last night where one directory would let other application files access it but not get a response. So apparently that's now fixed - according to the host guy.

Next steps are to populate the store with merchandise data - I have a product matrix populated by the client. And cleaned up by me. Then all I need to do from there is customize the html look and feel (which I have already done for the main sections), test it, get client acceptance, transfer the domain nameserver info, and go live.

If - when I get home tonight - the permissions are set correctly and the application compiles and publishes fine, then I can get to work and I'll be oh so happy.

If I run into a roadblock again I'll be frustrated.

I hope you've enjoyed this post. I know it wasn't very interesting.

But then again, you were warned.