All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go

I’m off to Jamaica now. I don’t believe I’ve forgotten anything yet. That puts me ahead of last year. I’m really tired though. I was up late last night packing and nervous excitement got me up too early. And I know I’m not going to have much time to sleep in Jamaica. It isn’t nice to be starting at a sleep deficit. Maybe I’ll sleep on the plane.
My only regret is that I am missing halloween this year. I do enjoy dressing up and going to the bars. The one time I’m socially acceptable. I saw a few costumes on Whyte Avenue today, but I’ll miss the important day tomorrow.
I’ve been hearing a lot about socialization and alcohol’s influence on it. So I’m going to try to use alcohol to self-medicate myself into social skills. I can think of some people who will take great offense at this. But the majority of people have claimed I’ve been doing my vacations wrong. I would like to do them right so something has to change.
The Edmonton airport doesn’t seem to have free wireless internet anymore so I can’t post this entry right now. I’ll put it up when I have access. So I can’t tell anyone I’m on a plane full of football players. I’m glad I got through check-in before them. There are a lot of them and they are very large. MontrĂ©al Alouettes. They might be cranky because I hear that Edmonton beat them tonight.

C++ versus Java

I used to think that Java programmers were coddled. I entered computers before that language. So I have learned to deal with memory management, pointer arithmetic, and rewriting the program for different platforms. That’s what real programmers do.
Now that I have been moving into Java programming I am beginning to change my mind. I think I am the one that was coddled. My tools for programming are all robust and mature. My debuggers let me dance around the program counter with impunity. My IDE connects automatically with version control and will help me maintain the code. It will automatically show me the variables that are currently interesting instead of making me hunt them down.
Java does not do any of this. I feel like I’m programming with fifteen year old tools.
In Java’s defense, a large part of this might have to do with the tools they are making me use at work. There are probably better ones out there, and I’m just feeling bitter.

Alarming developments

My alarm clock is over ten years old. It does not work properly anymore. It still tells the time, but the actual alarm part of it has descended into annoying. I find I sleep better if I don’t have an alarm to wake me; I still wake up at approximately the correct time. But, in its age, my clock has decided to ring the alarm even if I have set it off.
This hasn’t bothered me too much. Since I don’t trust it, I’ve never set it, which leaves it at the default alarm time of midnight. Apparently I can turn it off in my sleep because I can’t recall it waking me. (Ironically, if it is set for seven in the morning, that will cause me to wake at five in the morning, but that is my brain’s fault.) But last night I came in after midnight to find my alarm ringing and decided enough was enough. Out came the screwdrivers and soon my clock was in pieces.
I found out some interesting things. (Nothing entertaining, like don’t poke electronic bits that are plugged into wall sockets.) The crux of the problem is that the on/off switch no longer has a metal part to allow it to complete a circuit. But why would that set off the alarm?
Apparently, the default state of the clock is to ring the alarm. When it is set to the off position, a theoretically working switch completes the circuit to not ring. When it is set to the on position, all the circuit does is turn on the light to indicate that the alarm is set. i.e. The on light is totally separate from the act of ringing.
The handyman’s secret weapon was tinfoil. Ram it in the on/off switch so it can start doing its job again. Another option would be to cut the speaker cord, or permenately complete the “off” circuit. But I still have the idea that there might be times that I want to have a working alarm again.

Book of Job

I have a weird situation at work. I do not feel challenged there. I haven’t been happy lately and I’ll admit I haven’t been doing my best job. This could possibly be described as slacking off. This is not a good thing to be doing in this wintery economic climate. Especially since money is tight for me right now. Actually, it isn’t really that tight, I’ve just artificially made it that way because I am investing too much through automatic withdrawals and I’m too lazy to change that.
Still, I borrowed a large amount of money in April to go investing with and now I have to pay the interest on that regularly. I know, terrible time to invest. You can’t make me feel stupider than I already do.
Anyway! I got a surprise announcement from my manager today. I’ve been promoted, given a raise, and I’m going to be transferred to a project that actually has life and people caring about it.
I do not usually expect life to be that nice to me.

Month end finances

I had decided to once again go into a low spending situation for last month. You know, the challenge to spend less than $300 on my credit card for one billing period. It didn’t go that well. I kept the spending down, but I failed right out of the gate.
To prepare for it, I did a bunch of shopping the day before the billing period started. I filled up on gas. I did some grocery shopping. I signed up for The problem was that all of these purchases took place on a Saturday. Apparently, that means they don’t go through until the weekend is over.
Then my first cell phone bill arrived. This was different from my previous landline bill; I had the option of doing direct deposit from my bank, or putting it on my credit card. One lets me delay paying for a month. I did the ethical thing and put it on my credit card, further making my goal unreachable.
I, of course, am still injured from the Death Race, and it is time I saw a physical therapist for it. I could try and hold off, but this is a medical expense and I can’t stall any longer. That went on the credit card as well.
But just because I am guaranteed to not succeed is no reason to stop trying. I still lived frugally for that month.
My physical therapist highly recommended I see a masseuse. Apparently most of the muscles in my body are way too tight. There was a masseuse that was supposedly the best in Edmonton. They specialized in runners. They wouldn’t be able to take me for three weeks though. Luckily, they phoned yesterday. There was a cancellation and I was able to get a therapeutic massage today.
It does not feel nice like the usual massages you can get. This one hurt. And it hurt a lot. And I am most likely going to be very sore tomorrow. And the next day.
I’m going to really try to keep the long distance running down.


In the movie Groundhog Day there is a moment early on where Phil Connors is accosted by Ned Ryerson. Ned, despite it being years since they last saw each other, recognizes Phil immediately and Remembers His Name!
Today, I went to a play and saw someone I recognized. I haven’t seen her in years and I thought she had gone off to Scotland. It took me an hour to try and remember her name. After which I felt I could engage her in pleasant conversation.
Is this common, or is it just me? Can other people remember names instantly? Ned seemed to have no trouble.
The play was very good. “Thrubwell Pies”. I would highly recommend it to a friend. And I good lesson in British accents. It dealt a lot with pies.
In the middle of the first act, my cell phone went off. I am new to having a cell phone, but I’m surprised with how fast it took for me to have one go off in a theatre. In my defense, it was set to vibrate and, if that didn’t work, the ringer was set to as low as possible. I don’t think anyone noticed.
At the intermission I found it was a friend telling me to not bring a pie to the game tomorrow.