personal comments edit

Being 27, I’ve found, is not terribly different from being 26.

Before we wax too philosophic, let’s review the acknowledgements for the day yesterday. I got email greetings from:

  • Douglas, a friend of mine in Texas
  • Gerb, a friend I’ve had since high school
  • Jenni, my cousin
  • Tanya, regular blog reader (via comments)
  • Kristin, a friend I haven’t heard from for a loooong time
  • An automated mail system from a forum I’m a member of

Personal acknowledgements from about half of my department (there are nine people in my department) came in about half an hour before I left, when one of the guys was peeking over my shoulder and saw my calendar with my birthday clearly marked.

That’s about it.

I wasn’t, like, expecting a party, but I guess I feel a little gypped since everyone else’s birthday around here gets remembered.

So, anyway, that was the day. That evening, my mom, dad, sister Tai and husband Dan, and grandfather (on Mom’s side) came over and we had a little cheesecake. Gifts were the following:

  • Stevie Wonder: The Definitive Collection (from Jenn)
  • A Bug’s Life two-disc collector’s edition DVD (from Jenn)
  • La Femme Nikita DVD (from Jenn)
  • A 7.0 amp Shop Vac (from Jenn)
  • A 12-pack of Shasta Tiki Punch (from Mom’s cat)
  • Xena: Warrior Princess Season One DVD set (from Mom and Dad)
  • A gift certificate to Michael’s (from Tai and Dan)

I liked all the stuff I got, and it was good to see everyone over. My grandparents on my dad’s side and my sister Tori in Utah were sort of MIA as far as birthday greetings, though, which I think is kinda crappy.

But oh well. It’s not like I expected anything in particular, but I’m feeling a little disappointed nonetheless. I guess that’s just how things go the longer time goes by.

personal comments edit

I woke up on this fine birthday morning, 27 years old and tired as all hell.

My shower was nothing spectacular, but when I got out, I found I had a little present from Jenn waiting for me, which is nice - I do enjoy prizes.

The trip to work sucked ass. I can’t tell you why everyone needed to go five miles an hour under the limit, but they all did.

Got to work, and… well, that’s pretty self-explanatory. I got to work. ‘Nuff said.

Actually accomplished some good stuff at work. Got a bunch of things set up that needed to get set up, rolled out a press release on the web site. I felt pretty accomplished.

Thought about halfway through the day about the fact that my hair’s feeling pretty shaggy and I should have a haircut coming up. Flipped through my calendar and saw that the appointment was scheduled for yesterday. Well, shit. I suppose I should call the hairdresser (who’s been doing my hair for 14 years now) and apologize. I totally spaced it, and I do need a haircut. I could have sworn I looked at the calendar yesterday and didn’t see it.

But now it’s the end of the day, and no one remembered my birthday until one guy was looking over my shoulder and saw it marked on my calendar. Word trickled out and I’m getting a few “happy birthdays” from people. Some folks never knew, so I can’t blame them, but still. I guess I feel a little disappointed; I mean, we take everyone else out for lunch on their birthdays, and everyone seems to remember the other birthdays.

My boss came over and was all, “Oh, today’s your birthday? I thought it was yesterday.” Yeah, man. That makes it better. :) He says he owes me lunch. He owes me about four lunches that never seem to get scheduled, so I’m not holding my breath. He’s a good guy, and busy, so I understand. But still.

Now I’m packing up to go home, where I’ll hang out with Jenn, my parents, my sister and her husband, and maybe my grandfather, eat some Chinese food and some cheesecake, and just enjoy the evening. It doesn’t sound like the most happening party, I know, but I have bad luck scheduling parties, so I just don’t.

Besides - deep fried prawns and a hunk of cheesecake all at the same time is like a tiny party in-and-of-itself.

One other note: Last night I took a practice certification test and got 92% on it, which is the best I’ve done yet. If I can do that well on the real thing this Monday, I’ll be good.

net, personal comments edit

At the recommendation of a co-worker, I purchased the TestKing practice test questions. According to him, the questions he had on his test were darn close - if not identical - to the ones on the TestKing exam.

After reading through most of them, I’ve come to the conclusion that the self test questions from Self Test Software are almost identical to TestKing’s questions, so it’s all the same. I like the TestKing explanations better than Self Test Software’s, but for $40 extra, I may not do TestKing for the next one. I guess it all depends on how I do.

Regardless, I took a “certification readiness” practice test, which means they don’t tell you your score until the end and you are under a time limit, and I finished an hour early with an 80% (which, I think, is a passing score on the real thing). And since I’ve done that, and I’m looking over the TestKing questions and feeling pretty confident and comfortable with them, I did it.

I bit the bullet and scheduled the exam.

I’ll go in for my attempt (and hopefully pass) on Monday, July 28, at 9:00a. I figured, take this weekend to really study my ass off, then with all the info fresh in my mind, go in early Monday morning, do a last minute quick-review, and hopefully pass. At $125 a whack, I’m hoping not to have to make a second try. My hands were shaking with the adrenaline as I scheduled it. I mean, that was just the scheduling of the test. I can only imagine how I’m going to be the morning of the test itself. But I’m feeling good about it now that I’ve seen the TestKing stuff and got the decent score on the “certification readiness” test.

They said on the “certification readiness” test that 80% was a fail. Considering the other stuff I’ve seen from that practice test software, anything less than 100% is fail, too, so I don’t think I’m doing that bad.

So… here goes. Send good luck vibes my way. If I can pass this test, then I only have four more to pass and I get my certification. I haven’t planned that far yet, but it’s coming, so any help I can get, I’m taking.

net, personal comments edit

I’m still a little panicky about my certification tests. I know I sound like a broken record, but at $125 a pop, pass or fail, it’s pretty important that I pass the first time.

I went to the bookstore to check out some books in a series called Exam Cram, since a friend of mine at work recommended them, but they didn’t have any of the ones I needed. I looked at the ones they did have, to get a feel for how they are laid out, and they look pretty decent, but it’s like 300 pages of information that I don’t want to have to pick through to figure out the important parts. I mean, isn’t that what the self test software is for? To show me what I need to know and drill me via flash cards? So I think I may just try the first test using the self test software and the knowledge in my head, as useless as that may be.

Time to go download brain dumps

net, personal comments edit

8:14a

I’ve loaded up the car, checked out of the hotel, and I’m in my last day of class (which won’t start for another 45 minutes.

Last night I went back to the hotel after class and decided I needed to take a short break from learning, so I sat down with the GBA SP and played Metroid Fusion for a bit. After that, I fired up the computer, which promptly gave me a load of errors - something about being “unable to read instruction at memory address 0x7somethingorother” - which meant disk issues, after a little investigation.

So I started a disk check and went back to the Game Boy.

I’m not sure if it’s my frustration with the upcoming exams or just my general lack of patience… or maybe even a distinct lack of hand-eye coordination when it comes to video games… but I got playing Metroid again and I quickly got to a boss that I just can’t beat. I got reasonably far into beating him several times (I think) but I just couldn’t pull it off. So I switched to Yoshi’s Island, which is a Mario-style game, and I couldn’t beat the level I was on.

By this time I was so fed up that I didn’t want to try some other game, I just wanted the GBA away from me so I packed it up and got out some comics I brought along with me.

The disk check, of course, was still not done.

I read a couple of comics, checked on the disk check progress (almost done), read a couple more, and saw that the check had finally finished. Not the quickest process in the world, but it did find a couple of errors, which it fixed, and I subsequently have not seen the weird errors that I was seeing.

I did notice, however, that there’s some other weird error involving “ACPI BIOS” that’s been happening for a while now, so I should probably investigate that when I get back to work.

It was around 8:00p by then and I still had four modules’ worth of labs to finish up from my Programming Windows Apps in C# class (the whole reason I brought the computer along, really, was to finish these labs and understand the concepts we didn’t have time to go over in class). I moved through them at a pretty decent speed (so I thought) and ended up finishing them up around 9:30p. I’m pretty comfortable with the stuff they taught now (I wasn’t before), but I still don’t think I could do them without a little bit of help in the way of documentation.

I figured I should probably call Jenn before it got any later, since I still needed to eat and pack my stuff up for check out, so I called. We had about 15 minutes of what I like to call “bad phone” (where nobody really has anything interesting to say, so it ends up being something like: “How was your day?” “Fine, how was yours?” “Fine.” “Oh. Okay.” “Right.” “So what’s new?” “Nothing. You?” “Nothing.”) and I hung up so I could eat.

After a fine meal of Lean Cuisine, during which I watched some more Broken Saints, I got some stuff packed up. Not all, mind you, but some.

And then sleep.

10:25a

We’re on break, and I remembered that I have a dentist appointment coming up that I need to reschedule for the following week, so I figured no time like the present - I stepped out of the classroom and phoned them up.

They’re closed Fridays.

Apparently, the “regular business hours” are 8:00a - 4:30p Monday - Thursday. What ever happened to work, people? Dammit! I suppose I’ll call them on Monday, but not being open Friday is pretty frickin’ ridiculous.

11:08a

Two more words that have lost meaning: pointer and marshaling.

11:34a

We’re getting pizza in class so we can work through lunch and maybe I can get out at a reasonable time. That’d be nice.

Can diabetics eat pizza? This guy in class is diabetic but he’s getting a salad. I wonder if it’s that, or if it’s just that he doesn’t like pizza.

There’s a car alarm outside that goes off about every 20 minutes. I wonder if it’s mine.

<1>1:27p

I just finished the last lab, and now there are several “optional” modules of varying interest. I’m interested in the Threading module, but I’ve seen the ADO.NET intro module more times than are useful (I’ve got the in-depth course next month).

Pending on what they decide to go over, I may end up leaving soon.

We had pizza in class for lunch, so we worked through lunch and made up some time. Let’s see if we can put that to use.

2:03p

Here’s an interesting blast from the past…

3:04p

We’ve gotten past the ineresting stuff and now we’re neck deep in technical garbage that doesn’t mean really anything to me. I suppose if I ever had to get into this stuff it might, but I don’t, and it’s Friday afternoon after a long week of class, so I’m tuned out.

Besides which, I should be getting on the road pretty soon.

3:16p

That’s that. I’m packing up and taking the traffic-laden trip home.