net, personal comments edit

Well, that’s the end of day 2. This is a little tougher than I’d like, with five days packed into three. Here’s the play by play. Tuesday, June 24

8:43a

I didn’t come in so early for class today, figuring I got here an hour early yesterday so I didn’t need to do that again. Even so, I was still the first person here. It makes me wonder if people work on “Bellevue time” or something.

After class yesterday I went back to my hotel to drop my books and things off, called Jenn, and headed out to find some dinner. I figured since I had a microwave, I’d maybe find some microwave meals and save a little money.

On the way into downtown Bellevue I scrapped that idea and decided I was craving some Taco Bell. Sometimes it’s a good thing to make a run for the border, right?

I drove around for probably 45 minutes getting a feel for the place and looking for Taco Bell.

Taco Bell, to the best of my knowledge, does not exist in Bellevue. Neither, for that matter, does Carl’s Jr., my second choice of eatery. I found McDonald’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Jack in the Box, and any number of other mom-and-pop food joints, but neither Taco Bell nor Carl’s Jr. were anywhere to be found.

To that end, here’s something else interesting: On my trip up here yesterday, I started getting hungry so I made a deal with myself that the next “Food Next Exit” sign I saw that advertised a Carl’s Jr., I’d go.

I made it all the way to Bellevue without eating.

Jack in the Box seems to be pretty prominent up here, though. Almost every exit had a Jack.

Anyway, all that adds up to me eating at Taco Del Mar last night, which is a great burrito joint despite the fact that I don’t eat fish tacos. I ate there several times (at Taco Del Mar, but not necessarily that particular franchise) last time I was up here. They seem to have quite a number of them here, whereas back home I can only think of one location off the top of my head.

There wasn’t much to do last night since I didn’t go to that party, so I ended up reading this book I’ve been pushing myself through for the last couple of months or so. I’m hoping to get it pretty much done by the time my Harry Potter book gets here, but I’m reading pretty slowly so I’m not sure that’ll happen.

8:54a

The guy sitting behind me, ever the proud father, is telling this story about how his kid was asking to take his training wheels off his bike and learned last night to ride the bike. He’s actually telling the teacher about it, but I can tell…

The teacher doesn’t care a damn bit, any more than I do.

I understand the whole “proud father” thing, but the proud father really needs to understand this right now - nobody but him gives two shits about this kid riding his bike. Seriously. I’m gonna have to slap this guy pretty soon.

9:06a

Interesting XML link (for those who are interested in such things): http://kensall.com/big-picture/

It’s a chart of all of the different XML specifications, how they relate to each other, and links to the specs themselves.

9:57a

Nobody calls me at work. Ever. Until I get into training, that is.

See, my cell phone rings when my desk phone rings. Normally, that means pretty much never. But when I get into training, people somehow decide that sending me email just isn’t enough anymore so they call me.

Again. And again. And again.

Because my voicemail message that says I’m out of the office isn’t fucking clear enough.

You know, I hate the phone. You want me to respond to you nicely? Send me an email. Chances are, if you’re calling me, it’s probably while I’m trying to focus on something. That doesn’t make me want to help you - it makes me want to pull your fucking chicken neck through the phone so I can throttle you to death. I will respond to your question quickly and completely in email. Call me? I’ll probably end up answering your question later… in email.

10:49a

We weren’t going to really get any lab time in this class due to the short time we have here, but the instructor is letting us do some of them that he thinks are important.

There is a total learning curve on this stuff for me. 11:41a

I’m starting to get this headache because I’m so exhausted. Sleep at this hotel is light at best, and the stuff we’re learning here is pretty heavy. Good stuff, but it’s stressing me out. I mean, I’m all for “challenge” and all that, but there’s only a certain amount of challenge that I can take before I get exhausted. When I learn a new concept, I need to use it and become comfortable with it before I move on to the next concept. The way this class is going, the new ideas come flying past and I’m feeling sort of overwhelmed.

Right now we’re talking about database access. Stuff that I learned about in last week’s class. I am totally blanking on the stuff because I barely got a chance to look at the stuff from last class and now we’re going headlong into this new stuff and I’m sinking.

I think I’ll feel better when I get to use this stuff. Also when I have some practice tests to look at and try. The way I work, I always use reference materials when I’m programming. No such luck on the tests.

Plus, I really have to pee.

12:02p

Lunchtime. Plus, restroom break. Rockin’.

12:52p

It’s amazing the difference a little food and a couple of Excedrin Migraine tablets can make in your outlook on things. Before lunch, I was feeling pretty bogged down by all this stuff, now I feel like I can take on the world.

I’ll have to remember the Excedrin Migraine before I take any of these tests.

My book (The Bear and the Dragon) is finally starting to get somewhere, which is good - it’s only taken like 400 pages. Tom Clancy spared no expense on the intro for this one. I’m actually starting to like what’s going on. I’m hoping the payoff is worth the time spent with the setup.

2:18p

Hey, we’re talking XML web services - the class I took last week. I’m good to go here. Score!

3:28p

Mind… wandering… can’t… focus…

3:59p

We just came back from break and while I’m a little refreshed, I can’t help but feel pretty wiped out. I mean, we’re learning a lot of good stuff here, but the key word there is “LOT” - this is definitely a five-day class packed into three days. By the end of tomorrow, I’m definitely going to be ready to go home. The more I think about it, the more irritated I am that this is the three-day version and not the five-day version.

4:46p

Well, that’s that. We ended up talking about how to get things to print properly… and it looks like a real bitch. Lesson: don’t print anything. Heh.

It’s time to go.

net, personal comments edit

I’ve found that I have some limited web access from the class, so I’m going to post this first day’s worth of info because, frankly, it’s just too much if it’s combined with anything else. This trip has become quite the debacle. Monday, June 23

8:50a

This is the first class I’ve had in Bellevue, and the first week-long business trip I’ve taken, so two firsts in one week. While that doesn’t sound so terrible, I’ll have to admit it is a bit of a stressor. Let me tell you about the trip and last night. This is sort of how everything has gone.

I left yesterday (Sunday) at 12:30p (after watching The Devil’s Advocate on TNT) to drive up here to Bellevue. It’s a three-hour trip, give or take, but I usually allot closer to four hours because of the Seattle and Tacoma traffic (mostly the Tacoma traffic on this particular trip).

The first trouble I ran into was the weather. It was reasonably gray and icky out, but it was only sprinkling rain so I figured everything would be just cool. Instead what I got was sort of like an attention-deficit case playing with a fire hose. It would be totally clear, then blast down rain hard enough that you could barely see anything on the road, then it would be totally clear again. That, combined with the fact that the traffic never stopped moving 80mph, made me pretty uneasy (even when you couldn’t see). But I got through it.

Then we had the construction issue. See, the trip is really simple - you travel on I-5 north until you hit I-405 north, then you take that to exit 14 - WA-520 west. No problem, pretty straightforward. Well, as soon as I got on 405, I started seeing these traffic warning signals and things telling me to tune into 530 AM, the traffic notification radio station. So I did, and the warning was that “I-405 is closed at Fourth Street.” Okay, well, I don’t know where Fourth Street fucking is, so I just kept on trucking and hoped that it was after exit 14.

Fourth Street is exit 12.

Fuck.

You should have seen the traffic. Backed up for miles. Having no choice, I waded through it to get off the exit before 405 was shut off and then I pulled into the nearest parking lot to consult my trusty Bellevue map that I bought the last time I was in town.

My trusty Bellevue map is sitting at home on the God damn bookshelf.

Fuck.

I guess I’d best put that on the list of things I need to remember to take for next trip.

Well, sans map, I figured I’d find some sort of road that paralleled 405 until I could get to 520. I mean, for God’s sake, I could see 520 right there! I tooled around and found myself on 108th Ave. NE, which is the street that my hotel is on (according to my MapQuest directions). Luck! I drove through downtown Bellevue on 108th Ave… and then it dead-ended. Huh? But my hotel is on 108th. I’d consult my map, but I don’t have it. So… find a way back onto the 405 (after Fourth Street) so I can get on the 520 and follow the directions from there.

I did that - found my way back to 405 (what an ordeal) and got onto 520, took the 108th Ave. exit (as instructed) and found my hotel. Cool. Crisis averted.

Walked into my hotel and find out that somehow my reservation wasn’t lost, but was cancelled. Right. Fight the computer user incompetence to get a room anyway and convince them that, yes, the training facility is picking up the bill for the stay. They come back and say that the facility will only cover Monday through Thursday nights (which is not what I was told) but I figured I’d get the facility to call the hotel and hash that out rather than fight with the front desk.

My room is conveniently located right off the lobby. Score one for the good guys.

Unpack all my stuff and get all set up in the room. I’ve got a small refrigerator and microwave, so I can go back to the Safeway that I found in my travels earlier and get some food.

After that, I decided to go find the training facility so that I can find it easily the next day. It’s on 112th Ave. Looking at my driving directions from the hotel to the training facility…

I see that 108th Ave. turns into 112th. 112th runs right into downtown Bellevue. In fact, I was on 112th earlier in my construction runaround. Well, then. Now I know how that all works. Day late and a dollar short, as usual.

The training facility is pretty easy to find, which is good. By the time I’d gotten there, I was tired of searching for things. Back to the hotel.

Next door to the hotel is this old-fashioned drive-in restaurant where they hook the tray to your window and serve you greasy spoon food. The place is called Burgermaster. Any place called Burgermaster is all right by me. I got myself a double-patty cheeseburger and some fries, then walked it back over to the hotel. (No, I’m not eating greasy food in my car.) Tasty.

After that, I basically sacked out and watched some TV. Played a little GameBoy. That’s about it. Went to bed at 10:00p after leaving a few voicemails for Jenn (she was out at some Job’s Daughters thing). Long car trip plus greasy spoon plus bored equals very, very tired.

11:00p and Jenn decides to call me and say good night. It took me a good hour to get to sleep on the apple crate bed I’ve got, and just as I’m getting to sleep, she calls. Typical. I fumbled around for the phone and ended up having to call her back because I couldn’t get there in time. She still wasn’t home and, no, she did not check the voicemail to see what the situation was. I told her good night and attempted to go back to sleep.

I slept like crap. I think I’d get about an hour’s worth of sleep between fits of tossing and turning. I didn’t bring my pillow, which is one of those senso-foam deals, not the soft standard pillow - put that on the list of things to bring for next time, too. So, no good. I’m totally beat this morning.

Got up at 7:00a, took my shower, realized I forgot my pitstick (put deodorant on the list of stuff to bring next time), called Jenn. Jenn was up late reading the latest Harry Potter chronicle (mine’s on its way from the UK now), so she was all groggy. Now you know what it’s like, baby! Talked to her for a bit and left to get to the training facility a little before 8:00a. Classes start at 8:30a.

Got to the facility about five minutes to eight. Turns out that classes in Beaverton start at 8:30a, classes in Bellevue start at 9:00a. Glad I’m here an hour early. Acquainted myself with the facility, went searching for drinks, etc. All is well with the world, right?

Oh, except for the fact that I think there’s a light coating of pitch on my car from the tree I parked under. Little sticky speckles that wipe off if you spit on them and rub, but annoying nonetheless.

Class started at 9:00a (it’s 9:40a right now, but I’ve been typing and dealing with things this whole time). Since class started, I’ve discovered several things. First, this is a three day class, not five days. It will be five days next time but this time it’s three (apparently it’s the last time it’s a three day course, too). Second, due to the class length, it means no labs. The labs are the good part in classes like this. Third, I’ve met the instructor before in some seminar or another I’ve been to. That’s a good thing, though - he’s a good guy and totally hilarious. Finally, I found out that the self-test software that we bought with my class package is no good (or not as good) for actual self-testing as far as the MS tests are concerned. You learn stuff, but they don’t accurately represent the tests. I guess I need to check out transcender.com.

So a couple of dilemmas have cropped up. First, with no labs, I’m really going to have to learn something without doing it. That’s hard for me. Second, I’ve got to get the whole hotel thing straightened out. Finally, since we’ve paid for a five day class, I need to get the pricing fixed.

Well, I go home a couple of days early. So I guess that’s good.

I’d best pay attention here.

10:17a

Break time because not all of the computers were set up right. We should have VS.NET 2003 installed so we can work along with the instructor but only three of the five do. So… now we wait for that to get updated.

This is quickly moving from minor fiasco to major debacle.

10:27a

I’m at a new computer now, this time with all of the software that should be there. Of course, now I’ve got to set all of my view preferences again. What a pain in the ass. What happened to roaming profiles?

12:01p

Lunch. We’re moving at a breakneck pace in this class, just like we did in the last three-day class. I am going to do a couple of the practice exercises so I can get a feel for this stuff since we don’t get to do the labs, then I’ll go to the deli place next door and get something to eat.

And I thought training wasn’t stressful.

12:42p

I went and got lunch at this little deli that’s in the same building as the training facility. It was a toasted chicken cordon bleu sandwich and was passable (that’s about all I can say for it). Came back, read a little in my book, and now I’m catching up on the review questions and so forth in preparation for the next module.

I’m still sort of irritated that there is no actual lab time in the class.

1:04p

Something I forgot to mention, one of the few cool things so far on the trip - I’m back within range of C89.5, the best radio station ever. It’s so much better to hear it on the radio live than it is to have to listen online. Much richer sound.

2:21p

Break time again. We’re totally cruising through this thing, but the instructor is good and calling out “exam watch” topics - stuff we’re likely to see questions on. That’s nice, and different than how the other classes I’ve been in work. I hope this guy teaches the next class I’m up here for.

I just went and took a crap and I have to mention that the toilet paper at this facility is way better than the facility in Beaverton. Beaverton’s TP was like fine-grain sandpaper. This is more like those fancy soft paper towels you see in expensive restaurants. I’m all over that.

While we’re on the restroom topic…

I was sitting there and I noticed that someone had spit on the wall next to the toilet. Why do people do that? Nasty.

Oh, and the toilet is this hyper-industrial power machine but it has a standard home-style flush handle. Why does that matter? Well, you have to hold the handle while the thing is flushing in order for it to work. But when you push down the handle, the ultra-suction starts, scares the shit out of you, and you end up letting go of the handle, which then stops the flushing action from happening. Talk about poor user interface.

3:58p

My friend Aarron, local in Seattle, just called me three times because for some reason he just now got the emails that I sent him like a month ago telling him I’d be in town. Apparently there’s some sort of a party going on tonight that doesn’t start until 8:00p, but there are some problems with that scenario.

First, I’m not really a party animal per se. Before I go to a party, I definitely want to know more than just one person that will be there so I know there’ll be someone to talk to. Second, if it doesn’t start until 8:00p, that means it won’t really get going until 10:00p. Being unable to sleep in my shitty hotel bed means that I should probably be in bed and attempting to get some sort of rest by then in order to maintain any level of sanity. Finally, and probably most importantly, I don’t have my God damn map so if I end up going and getting lost, I’m screwed.

Yeah, I could probably shovel out for yet another map, but with the issues I’ve already run into on this trip, this whole thing is just tempting fate to screw me. I think I’ll pass.

Plus, there’s the whole polyamorous/infidelity bent that these parties seem to revolve around that I’m just not really into so much. I mean, were I single, sure - go, meet some funky folks, hang out, and not worry too much about whether you come out of it with a date or something. But I’m not, so I can’t really go that route.

4:44p

Our instructor (in a heavy Indian accent): This code here is why I don’t do user interface code. I used to have to create my own checkboxes and everything, and I’m good at geometry but when you draw things on the screen they always look bad. This is much easier now, but when you do it manually it still makes you want to go to a counsellor.

4:47p

It’s time to go!

personal comments edit

I got my car back from the body shop and I’m once again in business. It’s nice to have my own car back; that rental was a piece of shit.

Jenn’s talking to me while I’m typing this, and let me tell you how hard it is to concentrate on BOTH things at the same time. Smile and nod, Trav, smile and nod. I just told her that it was hard to do this and legitimately listen at the same time and I’m getting the feeling that she’s pissed off about it. Can’t win for losing, man.

Just so you all know, I’m out of town next week for training - Windows apps in C# - so I probably won’t be posting but will hopefully have a play-by-play from the class. And I’ll try to make it more exciting than last time.

personal comments edit

I got this email from this guy last night (who I will not name, for his own sake) that went like this:

I object to the existence of your site. Who do you think you are to make fun of paraesthesia? You know what that is? You know what that means?

I am looking for sites to get to know what’s the problem with my girlfriend’s health (she had hit her back and now she has paraesthesia in her legs and arms) just to find the main site: www.paraesthesia.com occupied by something completely irrevelant?!

Okay, there is a very tiny piece of me that sympathizes for the guy. He can’t find what he’s looking for online.

Then there’s this gigantic other piece of me that shoots that very tiny piece of me in the forehead and wants that guy to figure it out and go use Google.

How does he think I felt when I went to illig.com and found a ridiculous avant garde clothing outfit? Probably more pissed off than he was that I chose a reasonably irrelevant name for my site. My site that has absolutely nothing to actually do with the medical condition of paraesthesia.

Why do I hate stupid people so much?

personal, net comments edit

I’m home tonight, posting through the ever-speedy dial-up connection I’ve got here, freshly out of training. As is the emerging standard, here is the play-by-play for the training and, in fact, the last three days. Monday, June 18

9:58a

I’ve been in the class for an hour and a half now and haven’t really learned a damn thing.

It’s supposed to be “how to write web services with .NET.” But the other two students here don’t have the prerequisites down and totally aren’t familiar with the stuff they’re supposed to be, so we’re doing review on basics (curriculum from a different class) instead of learning the stuff we’re supposed to be.

Oh, bother.

In the meantime, having gone to see The Italian Job again this weekend, this time with my dad, my locksmithing urges have resurfaced so I went to Amazon and put some locksmith books on my wish list. I’ve always been pretty interested, but I’ve just never acted on it.

10:27a

We’re back from break, and it’s time to actually start the class. Hot damn.

I forgot to mention - the receptionist now knows when I’m here because she recognizes my car in the parking lot. I wonder if that means I’m here too much. :)

11:38a

I have to poop, and I don’t think we’re going to break any time soon. Maybe I should take my PoopKnifeTM?

11:48a

Lunchtime! (Pooptime! I’ve got a turtle head poking out! :) )

1:01p

Back from lunch, and it’s time to get out of the theory portion of the class and into the implementation end of things. I’m much more pleased when we get to the implementation because, even though the theory is important, it’s difficult for me to learn when there’s nothing to apply the theory to.

I think that was my primary issue with the courses I took getting my CS degree - it was primarily theory, and there really wasn’t a lot of implementation.

1:05p

Okay, maybe we’re still in review. Right now its “an overview of HTTP,” which is a little more… uh… beginner… than I’d hope for. I think the meat of the course really gets going tomorrow. That’s okay. Review never hurt anyone. Yet.

1:11p

There should be a service that aggregates wish lists across web sites. For example, I’ve got wish lists at Amazon and ThinkGeek. If people want a single place to go to see the stuff I want, there’s no place like that (is there?). There should be.

1:45p

I think I need to redo my blog so that it’s CSS-based instead of table-based. I was looking at my disk usage the other day and it’s starting to get out of hand. That’s mostly because the blog is all rendered static - each page has the entire header/footer structure static inside it… which makes for loads of HTML pages with loads of HTML. I need to restructure this thing so it’s not only smaller footprint-wise but is also more easily changed on a global level.

Maybe I’ll work on that next week while I’m sitting in my hotel room in Bellevue after training.

2:18p

I should probably set up an RSS feed for my blog. Eventually.

2:26p

Break time!

2:57p

Okay, we’re finally getting to some good stuff. For the techies out there, we’re looking at SOAP envelope formatting, which is something I’ve used indirectly but didn’t really understand the internals of.

3:27p

We’re having to install Visual Studio .NET 2003 for the lab because the lab machines were only set up with VS.NET 2002 and that won’t work for the lab. I’ve had setup running for like an hour now and I’m only halfway finished. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be doing the lab today.

3:39p

About 75% done with the VS.NET install…

We’ve had a great discussion in the meantime on XML schemas and potential upgrade paths for web services. Not a waste of time at all, but crap. VS.NET is a SLOOOOOW INSTALL!

3:51p

VS.NET is done… documentation installing now…

4:00p

Fuck this, I’m starting the lab. Docs can just keep installing.

4:35p

The docs are still going, but my lab is done. I’m packing up and going HOME.

Tuesday, June 17

7:38a

The squeaky wheel gets the oil, OR, maybe people do listen when I’ve got something to say.

We filled out our first day course evaluations yesterday at the end of the class and I bitched about two things - one, the chairs we were sitting in sucked donkey (totally not adjustable, very uncomfortable); and two, the toilet paper hurts my fragile ass.

I came in today and we have new chairs! Woohoo! Like a gift for my back. Love it.

I haven’t tried the toilet paper yet. We’ll see.

Jenn and I have newly rediscovered the movie channels that come with our digital cable package. Normally we don’t navigate above channel 120 (Noggin, which shows Daria), but in a fit of despair this weekend we went up to the 500 range (we don’t get most of the channels between 120 and 500) and remembered that we get Encore and a mystery movie channel and a love story channel. No complaining there, right? Of course, it’s not the action channel, but beggars can’t be choosers.

So last night we watched The Hard Way and Pretty In Pink.

I hadn’t seen The Hard Way before and was pleasantly surprised. But I have always liked Michael J. Fox and James Woods, so I was sort of biased.

It had been a loooong time since I’d seen Pretty In Pink, and while it’s a classic 80’s John Hughes film, I’d have to say it’s not one of my favorites. I’ll take The Breakfast Club any day over PIP. Things I found interesting while watching it: Annie Potts, who plays the record store manager as well as Janine from Ghostbusters, answers the phone the same way in both movies - “Whaddaya want?” Annie Potts was supposed to be like 20 years older than the kids in the movie but I never got that impression. Plus, her outfits… some not so good, others totally hot. And, finally, I remembered that Duckie (Jon Cryer) didn’t get Molly Ringwald at the end, but I forgot that he ended up with Kristy Swanson… I’d take Kristy Swanson any day of the week over Molly Ringwald. You go, Duckie!

8:30a

Well, I’ve checked and followed up on email via the various webmail interfaces provided for my email accounts and I’m all set to go. (No, I don’t always have access to webmail in training, but I do this time.)

And now it’s time to start class. As Ramblin’ Rod used to say, “Here we go!”

9:21a

Need… caffeine…

10:44a

Finally got a break to go get something to drink. I’m back on my Vanilla Coke kick, and that’s fine with me.

We’ve been working since 8:30a on the same module - “Consuming XML Web Services.” It’s interesting and all, but there’s a lot to it. It’ll be nice to get to the lab and use some of this stuff.

11:23p

Lunch until 12:30p, then it’s lab time.

You know, I should figure out if I can parse the web server logs and see if anyone is actually reading my stuff. I think I’ve got like three regular readers and that counts family members. I wonder if there’s something I could do to boost traffic… or maybe people just aren’t interested in what I have to say (which wouldn’t surprise me in the least).

12:24p

I’m back, and the other guys in my class have already started the lab. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Technically, I’ve got six minutes before I have to start, but then, they’ve already started which means I’m going to be the last one done if I don’t hurry up - not my favorite position to be in, the slowest animal in the herd.

Maybe I should shut up and get to work.

Or maybe I should play Game Boy for another few minutes.

Decisions, decisions.

1:01p

Either I’m really fucking fast or these guys are slow.

Okay, I’m really fast. Who’s kidding who here, right?

I guess I’ll check my email and maybe play a little GBA.

1:56p

Sidetracking a little on IIS configuration for the uninitiated (reads: the other two students).

Hey, I found out that we’ll be getting the latest and greatest version of the printed material, so that’s good. Monday that’ll be in… but I’ll be in Bellevue, so I’ll have to stop and get it after that.

On another note, I need to do some looking around at TweakXP.

2:10p

We’re on page 11 of the module that we’ve been working on since 1:15p. That means an average of five minutes per page. We’ve got to get to page 60 before the lab starts. That’s 49 more pages, at five minutes per page… or 245 minutes, which is four hours, five minutes. Class being over at 4:30p, I don’t think we’re getting to the lab today unless this guy speeds the hell up.

I mean, we’re getting some good under-the-hood style information here, but we sidetrack a bit beyond the scope of the class at times, and in a three-day class, that’s not so great.

2:42p

Page 18. 32 minutes, seven pages… still holding that ~5 minutes/page average.

3:07

Page 27. 25 minutes, nine pages. You may think we’re picking up speed… but we’ve been on pae 27 for a good five minutes now. It’s become an ADO.NET class, which I think I have scheduled for next month.

I need an aspirin.

3:33p

Page 49. We’ve picked up the pace a bit. Two hours and 18 minutes for 49 pages is about… a little less than three minutes per page. Better than our five minute average from earlier, and there’s a lot of info to cover.

I still need that aspirin, and now I need to pee, too.

4:05p

Page 61, and lab time. That was a looooong section.

4:09p

I just took a leak and it smelled like chicken. I wonder if that means anything.

4:56p

Lab’s done, and I’m beat. Time to go home.

Wednesday, June 18

7:36a

I’m in early again, to do a little web surfing and so forth. So far, I’ve decided that at some point I need some of these Lockergnome photos.

When it rains, it pours. Last night on the way home, I was heading down the slow-as-usual Highway 26 and there was an accident in the middle lane (of three lanes). The traffic was reasonably parting around the accident, and long about the time I got right up next to the whole thing, the lady in front of me stopped suddenly (because apparently the person in front of her stopped for no particular reason) and I didn’t stop as suddenly as I’d like to have. So, rear-ender. Great. No injuries, only some minor cosmetic damage on her rear bumper, and my bumper looks pretty good except for some abrasions and a small ripple about an inch long. I was probably only going 10 or 15 mph at the time, so it was totally minor, and I’m glad no one was hurt. But just one more thing to have to deal with that I really didn’t want to have to.

Which means that today the insurance adjuster person is going to come out and take a look at the damage while I’m in training so I’ll have to duck out for a bit while that’s going on.

I guess I should be thankful that it was so minor - and I am - but it is still pretty stressful. I’ve got a trip to Bellevue on Sunday which means that I’m going to have to put off getting the car fixed for a week. No big deal - you hardly notice the damage - but still a pain. Plus, I am curious now how much my insurance is going to increase. As it is, it’s not cheap and I don’t have anything prior on my record. Now what’s it going to be?

Sigh.

Here’s to hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

8:48a

Well, here’s some light in the face of darkness.

My favorite auto body shop, Chris and John’s, is now part of the Progressive family of repair shops, so they’re able to get me in quick - today at 11:00a - and get me out by Friday. Woohoo! That’s good stuff.

Of course, I don’t have rental car insurance so I’ll be paying for that part myself. But for two or three days… I guess I can’t complain. Could be worse.

I should probably add rental car insurance to my policy. Assuming I’m not going to be paying through the ass for my insurance now.

I was talking to the admin here and she hit someone last Thursday. I guess I’m not alone on the minor rear-ender thing.

10:00a

Well, it’s about time I pack up to head out to Chris and John’s. Hopefully I’ll be back in time to get something useful from the rest of the course.

1:15p

I got back at around 11:30a and figured these guys would go to lunch so I’d be able to catch up. Instead what happened was they blasted through lunch - I don’t even think they did the lab for the section we were working on - and got halfway through the next section by the time I got back. So it’s time for their lunch and my catching up.

I am currently the not-so-proud driver of a Chevy Cavalier, or, as I’ve already come to fondly call it, a Chevy Shitmobile. I mean, it’s not that it’s particularly bad in any particular area, it’s just… it’s a rental car. What can I say?

I like cars that are aerodynamic. I like cars that look like they can cut you. I don’t want extraneous curves and wasted space, I don’t want “organic,” I don’t want bulky. American cars, by and large, are exactly what I don’t want. The interior of this thing was designed by a guy with a fascination with foam rubber. Everything has a layer of foam on it. The dashboard is this huge, hulky mass of resilience. The entire car is rounded everywhere and reminds me of those safety scissors you get when you’re in kindergarten. If this car is safety scissors, my car is a stiletto. I like my car. I hate this one.

That said, it’s only going to cost me $22/day for the thing, and since it’s not covered by insurance, that’s about right for my budget. I’ll be giving it back on Friday - not a day too soon - so for the money, I guess I’m getting what I’m paying for.

Of course, the admin and one of the instructors were sitting in the lobby of the training center when I drove up and had a nice laugh at my expense. Oh, well.

Time I should catch up on the lab work.

1:32p

It doesn’t look like they did the lab for the last module (the lab I would have missed). I can’t find any of the lab files installed on my computer, and the instructor was mentioning that the lab that we have in our books (the old version) is WAY different than the lab that they’re teaching now (the new version) so… so I don’t remember if we were going to do that or not, but I think we weren’t.

I guess I’ll ask when they all get back from lunch.

In the meantime, I’ll get a head start on the next lab, which looks to be a doozy.

1:54p

I guess there was no lab for the last module, so I’m totally caught up with the rest of the class. Cool!

2:02p

Okay, so we’re not going to do the labs for the next three modules… yet. We’ll do the lectures, then the labs all at the same time. Fine by me; I didn’t actually get going on the lab like I thought I was going to.

Well, more lab time for me. Fine. The lab’s where I really learn the stuff anyway.

2:50p

Just got a call from Progressive. The minor scratches on my bumper? $634.62 in damage. I’m loving my $250 deductible right about now. It’s amazing the cost of car repair. I mean, sure, it’s a lot of work, but I watch Discovery Channel’s American Chopper, I’ve seen how this stuff works, and I am pretty sure I saw the extent of my damage… $600 is a bit on the high side, but, well, I guess that’s why I pay insurance.

3:02p

I’m realizing that I have to go to work tomorrow and I don’t wanna.

3:54p

Looks like MSDN subscribers can get free PocketPCs until the end of the month. Turns out I’m eligible through my work subscription, but then work owns the PPC. Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that. How would they know?

3:59p

We’re on the last module, which doesn’t have a lab and looks quick. Then - extended lab time… but it’s already 4:00p. The instructor guy’s outta here at 4:30p… I guess we’ll see what happens.

4:25p

It’s not looking like we’re getting to do the last three labs. This was five days of class packed into three days. We definitely could have used more time.

4:30p

That’s that! I’m outta here!