The End

This will be my last entry.
I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’m feeling all alone here. I’ve been trying to continue along for years, but who am I kidding. This isn’t worth it anymore.
I’ve outgrown LiveJournal. I started when I had friends who used it, but they all slowly flitted away. Or they just start using Facebook more.
And I’m a computer guy with his own website. Not a whiny girl.
So, after today (what little remains) I will be shutting down this journal and moving to my blog at Tell your friends! I’ve already moved over every other post I’ve done. Although comments haven’t made the transition. I don’t think LiveJournal wants to give them up.
I am also fundamentally lazy, so it is a very standard WordPress site. I get the impression it would like to be in total control of my website, but I don’t want to give it the pleasure. Hopefully, one day, I will customize it at least a bit.

Working on libraries

It wasn’t the authors page I was supposed to make, it was the Libraries page. Every manuscript is located somewhere and it seems the easiest part of the process to tackle, because it is simple. The other parts look like a headache, because each manuscript can have several parts that can each refer to a different epic, and they might be in poetry or prose.

It would be very convenient if every library in the world had a unique identifier associated with it. I could use that as the key to the database. Because it doesn’t, I have to make up my own that will only be true for this site. I’d rather use something an international body agreed on.

When my father wrote this, he wasn’t thinking in terms of database, so it is difficult to organize. It is also written in French, because it was dealing with Medieval French Epics. I don’t read French, so I can’t just look at what he wrote and figure out what is going on. It looks like a lot of the data uploading will need to be done by hand. Thankfully my father is onboard and looking through it.

I’m making progress on the PHP side. The hardest part is getting used to using a non-compiled language. If this was C++, it would happily inform me that I haven’t declared a variable, or I forgot a bracket. PHP is only processed when it is opened in a webpage. So if my code has an error, I won’t find out about it until after I run it. And then there seems to be a dearth of error messages. And if I accidentally misspell the name of a variable, the page will assume it is a different one.


I should look into getting an IDE for this. That might make life easier.

Testing, testing…

Alright, first actual post.

The project I’ve decided to work on is for my father. He, long ago, wrote an index to Medieval French Manuscripts. He never finished it, and then went on to other things. I think that is a shame and something needs to be done about it. So, I’m going to see if I can.

At the very least, this looks like a good way to learn PHP and MySQL. I’ve already started the process by downloading MAMP. So I’ll be playing around with that and seeing what trouble I can get into.

First goal I think is to make an Authors page.

Don’t split the party

When I saw the movie, The Social Network, one of the more interesting ideas I saw in it was in the first fifteen minutes. While Mark Zuckerberg was doing a programming project of his own, he was writing his thought processes out into a blog as he was doing it. Lots of little post, but each revealing a problem and how he was solving it.
I should do something like that.
The hope is that by writing things down, I will have to describe the problem clearly. Frequently, just describing an issue to someone, who doesn’t even have to understand it, has helped in solving the problem. Hopefully it will also help in the what-was-I-smoking-when-I-wrote-this syndrome that inevitably hits. But that should be more the purview of comments in the code.
I already have a personal blog, you are possibly reading it right now, but that doesn’t seem to be the best forum for what I’m looking for. That is for, well, personal stuff. This should be something more for technical issues. I’ve done a few posts like that in my personal blog, so I’m thinking of moving them to the technical blog.
My web hosting company has made it fairly easy to install a WordPress site, so why shouldn’t I do this? I’ve often thought of moving my personal blog to be hosted on my website via WordPress, but WordPress doesn’t allow me to filter the content so that only certain categories of people can read certain entries. There are just some things mothers shouldn’t know.

Not a hobby

Over the years, I have noticed that I have hobbies that are no longer hobbies. I stay in denial for quite some time.
The first time I noticed this was with computer games. I would buy a game that looked interesting and fun to play. It would then stay in its shrink-wrap for years. I still sort of want to play Warcraft 3, but I don’t think it is compatible with my operating systems.
I basically thought I played more games than I actually did.
The next time was with DVDs. I would buy a movie I liked, and I would be lucky if I watched it once. It’s especially annoying when you buy a movie, and then years later, when you see it on Blu-Ray for cheaper than you originally paid for the DVD, you realize you still haven’t unwrapped it. I’m learning to let rentals into my life.
I think it is time for me to admit I have a third issue. Candy. I buy a lot of it. I barely eat any of it. I instead rudely push it on all my friends when they visit. Most of them are polite and try to make me happy by eating the fine Lindt chocolate or the After Eights, but I know their heart isn’t in it. I just have to accept that I need to stop buying treats.

Just when I thought I was out…

I haven’t had television since late 2008. Back then I decided to stop paying for cable, and use the money I saved for DVDs of television series. It’s been working well, especially since I can borrow DVDs from friends as well. Cheap!
I think Shaw got frustrated with me. I’ve been using them for internet, and nothing else. I got a call a couple of weeks ago offering me faster internet and free television, for the same price. I suspect that they want to upgrade their network, and the stragglers are holding back progress.
They came today, bearing cables and modems, and set to work. According to my calculations and their claims, I will be paying $20 less a month for better service.
Unfortunately, with that came free television. I don’t really have time to watch television, so I don’t really see it affecting me much. Also, it is only standard picture which looks glaringly bad on my big screen. Mind you, I only observed a bit of the old Batman show, so that may have been a problem with the message more than the medium. It doesn’t have a PVR, so I would have to sit through all commercials.
Or is this the gateway drug to convince me to buy a better digital box?

Learned their lesson

Okay, Sears took back the watch. In 3-4 weeks I should have it back. If I am antsy during this time, please forgive me.
There was a sign, that I swear wasn’t there two weeks ago, that is now saying that they cannot guarantee the waterproofing after changing the battery on a watch.

Anger leads to hate

I have two fetishes that are somewhat out of the ordinary. As far as fetishes go.
The first is maps and general cartography. I have openly admitted I will cross the street to go look at a map. The same can’t be said for your average porn. People tend to judge you if you get hit by a bus because of a naked women. The same isn’t true for a sweet piece of equirectangular projection.
My other fetish is time. I always want to know it. If I don’t have access to a watch, I tend to get antsy. I am one of the few people who still use a wristwatch instead of consulting a cellphone. (Looking at the wrist is faster than shuffling for a largish rectangle and pressing a button. Keeps your hands free too.) It is always there, through sleep, showers and [redacted].
I wonder what a psychologist would say about these two obsessions? Do I feel the need to be in control of my environment at all times? Is this because I feel so out of control of my life that I am compensating in other areas? Maybe a need to have knowledge of my surroundings?
It is the latter compulsion that is my current contention.
For the past month I’ve been noticing that my wristwatch is getting dimmer. If I used the light option (or Indiglo) the face would disappear entirely. So it was not without complete surprise that on November 22nd it decided it had had enough of life and gave up completely. i.e. The battery died.
I have used a Timex Ironman for almost all my life. There was a point where I could say I had the exact same watch on my wrist for half my life. Sure the wristband needed changing every so often, but the watch I had since grade eight survived me a long time. Then the buttons started to break in half and that was that. Since then, I haven’t had a watch that lasted more than four years. (I might be exaggerating, but I think that’s about it. The average is definitely below that.)
In the past decade, the quality of Ironman watches has gone down in other areas. Chiefly the watchband. The bands are now non-standard and are integrated into the watch. It is much harder to replace them. Once I had to replace the band by sending it into Timex. The weeks where it was gone were not pretty. Living in a constant state of fear of not knowing the time of day.
Now this watch I’m currently using is, maybe, a year old. So the battery dying this soon? Feels like I’ve been gypped. I certainly don’t want to send it into Timex in Ontario to get it fixed. And that watchband certainly looks like it would be in the way of taking off the back. I looked around to see what my options were. London Drugs couldn’t help, but they suggested Sears.
I went to Sears. It was not the greatest experience. I went to the watch department where the counter was empty of anyone resembling a retailer. I waited, occasionally going back to customer service to ask if the watch department was even open. On one of those annoying trips, someone did come to man the counter, and a pair of girls boggarted her. When I finally did get help, I was told that I should have been in the watch repair department. It’s over there.
Over there, I found a nice oriental man who was happy enough to replace my watch battery with a minimum of fuss and at a reasonable price. I made sure that he put the watch back on the correct side up. (I’ve had experiences where it was placed upside down which allows the watch to continue to function, but prevents it from making any sounds.) I also confirmed that it wouldn’t affect the waterproofing at all. If there were any problems, I had the receipt and could come back.
Two days later I noticed that it was starting to fill with water. That is not a design feature.
So, last Tuesday I went back to Sears and made my way to the watch repair department. This time there was a Hispanic woman manning the counter. She wasn’t nearly as helpful, and said that it would take them 3-4 weeks to send the watch back. Fine, I guess I have to. Not happy about it though. The agreement threw her, and she then started saying that I would need to speak to the supervisor. She’ll be in tomorrow during the day. Well, I work regular hours, I won’t be in. Okay, she’ll be in on Saturday from nine to two. Okay. I’ll return then.
Today, I drove through snow and incompetent Edmonton drivers to get to Sears. The same Hispanic woman was behind the counter. She was surprised to see me. The supervisor wasn’t in. She had changed her schedule. Try tomorrow.
I was making an effort to be polite and calm. I did not what to be that entitled customer who yells at people. I’m wondering if the tone of my voice was a little too stiff. She offered to phone the supervisor. I didn’t hear what was decided as she was speaking Spanish into the phone. The only word I recognized was “Amigo.” I think that was me.
She once again said that I could come in tomorrow to speak to the supervisor. I asked, “Do I have a choice?” She seemed somewhat meek when she shook her head.
I have passed through fear. I’m onto anger. Hate is coming up next.

The rest of the show

So, I’ve sufficiently recovered from the events of the weekend to continue describing them.
I got back to the show early on Saturday so that I could give the bodypainters more time to do their work on me. My artist asked me what my favourite colour was (blue) and then ran with it. I can best describe it as aztec warrior. It was even on my face.
I then continued the usual schmoozing around the event.
At eight o’clock was the final fashion show; really a bodypainting show. I spent more time than usual preparing. Which, this time, meant I thought about what I would do on stage. Usually I just winged it. This time I planned the poses and what I should do. I added in some jumping and crouching. When I was on, I also concentrated on both how I walked and keeping my gut sucked in. I guess I had been getting practice.
I think I did well. I got complimented on my “routine” afterwards. But the voting was taken by how loudly the audience cheered. And they cheered louder for the other guy. I’d like to think it was because the pretty girl from the audience came up and spanked him on stage. But let’s be honest, he actually knew what he was doing. Still, for a geek, I think I did well.
As I said earlier, I wanted to have as many friendly people in the audience as possible. And yet, not one friend showed up. The closest I came was some friends of someone who couldn’t make it; they claimed they had cheered for me. It’s rather disappointing, and I’m feeling a bit let down.
Actually, one of the things I most regret about friends not showing up, is that I can’t get an honest opinion of how I looked on stage. Because I didn’t win, I can compete again next year. And why wouldn’t I? I would like to improve though, so having a third-party give constructive criticism would have helped.
I’m also trying to think about why I wanted to win. I would have gotten $1000 if I had come in first, but that barely registered with me. I would also have gotten a photo shoot; that I was more interested in. I have very few pictures of myself that I am happy with. Most often I notice bad facial expressions, poor body image, or some other defect. I do my best to take good pictures of other people, but too often when I try and get someone else to take a picture of me, I find I’m dealing with people who don’t know how to use a camera. But that’s a rant for another day.
I think what I most wanted was to be told that I was special. That I was better than other people. I haven’t had that since my high school math tests. It’s nice to win.
The rest of the evening progressed as usual. Photo area, more wandering. I did stay until the end of the show and did a bit of shopping. I got some liquid packs that, when you press a button/tab will heat up instantly. Reusable too.
I was still around when they were tearing the place down. I found myself in the photo area again, where I talked for awhile with one of the warrior women. I’m not sure if she was flirting was me?
The next day I got up early and went for a run. Blue bodypaint still on. The sweat made an interesting picture.