dotnet, personal comments edit


Second week of training is now underway. This time it’s MS-2349: Programming with the Microsoft .NET Framework (Microsoft C# .NET). It’s actually more of the introductory “here’s how to write programs” sort of class, and you might ask yourself why I didn’t start out by taking this class.

I’m asking myself that same question.

Actually, it wasn’t offered until now, so it wasn’t possible. It would have been nice, but now that I’m in it, I’m hoping it fills in gaps in the knowledge I already have. That’s what it’s looking like to me so far.


The time’s flying by, but mostly because this is total review so far and I’m working on other things, like typing up the outcome of my ten-year class reunion.

In fact, a lot of this class, I feel, is going to be review, but the stuff that isn’t is going to be very valuable indeed. I’m hoping that I’ll solidify my knowledge of the C# language - finally get a good understanding of the stuff that’s a little foggy. We’ll see, right?


We have an hour and a half (starting at noon) to do lunch and a lab, but I decided I was going to do the lab first and then just eat until everyone else finished up.

Of course, then I got talking to the instructor and now it’s 41 minutes into the time and I’m not even close to done with the lab. Maybe I should go get something to eat, eh?


I’m still doing review stuff in my class, but I’ve found yet another pet peeve as I’m sitting here. Actually, two.

First, I can’t stand people who talk to you when you’re trying to read your book. Look, buddy, not only is it obvious that I’m reading (and, hence, busy), but my reading implicitly indicates I have nothing to say to you. Shut up and turn around.

Second, I can’t stand people who pretentiously sit back in a class and act like they know everything about anything already and refuse to listen to you. For example, I work extensively with SharePoint Portal Server. I’d like to think I’m pretty up to speed on it. If you ask me a question and I actually have an answer for you, don’t instantly assume that I’m wrong, especially if you’ve never used the motherfucker. You don’t know, so you shut up. Besides, if you’re so smart, why are you asking me?

Anyway, that’s where I’m at here.


I should check out Broken Saints when I’ve got a computer with sound enabled and a decent connection. It’s supposed to be some pretty cool animation.

I noticed my first review is up on Yay, me! It had two votes on it, with an average rating of 2.5 out of 5 (which means someone voted it as “2” and someone gave it a “3”), so I chipped in a five-vote to raise my score. Hey, man - I like my review. The thing is, I actually meant it to be a two-part review: the first half explains the way I review and the rating scale, the second half is the movie proper. It got posted as a single item, though, so it looks like I’m not really paying attention to the movie and just running off at the mouth. If I ever get access to post/edit the site directly, I’ll be fixing that.

I actually got a note for another review job from them, but unfortunately (as you are all aware) I’m in Bellevue through the rest of the week and the movie’s tomorrow night… so I’m not going to be able to do it. I’d like to, though. Sort of sucks that it’s this week and not next week. Bah. Oh well. Hopefully there will be a “next time.”


We’re going on, like, 40 minutes for a 30 minute lab. Not so great. Admittedly, it’s a lab involving web clients (ASP.NET) which no one else here seems to be familiar with, but this is pretty ridiculous.


The class seems to thrive on bad geek humor. Which means uncalled for, ridiculous puns; utterly unrelated sidetracks and tangents; and jokes with long buildups and no punchline.

I am ready to kill someone.


Aw, shit. Sidetrack. Well, not really sidetrack so much as the know-it-all guy just not getting it. What’s he not getting? IT. Does it matter? The simple fact is that this guy’s all hot shit and now he’s holding up the class.


Well, that’s the end of the day. Tomorrow morning we start with lab. Let’s see how this goes tomorrow. Time to get back to the hotel, maybe do some of the lab work there.

personal comments edit

The weekend was uneventful except for Saturday. I mean, I spent some decent time Friday night and Saturday morning applying Zaino car polish to my car. As far as that’s concerned, while uneventful, I was very pleased with the results. No buffing, very easy, and my car looks great. Highly recommendable.

But Saturday was the “day of happenings” for this weekend.

Saturday afternoon Jenn and I went to a pool party/barbecue that her Job’s Daughters group had going on. It was held at this guy’s house who is some sort of adult leader… or something. Anyway, the guy’s got like an acre of property and the house is something like the Winchester Mystery House. You don’t see it from the street, but when you go into the back it’s a whole other story.

The guy has two guest houses - both he built himself. He’s got a kidney shaped pool. There’s a garage the size of a plane hangar that has so much stuff… I counted nine pairs of antlers; seven or eight microwaves; a concrete form (basically a cardboard tube) about 12 feet high and five feet in diameter; an old-style Winnebago whose windows were crammed with blankets and pillows; the ceiling had rows of old tools hanging from it (scythe blades, drill bits, saws); three potato mashers… The list just goes on and on. The guy had like six trashed out cars in the back yard (at least).

Random shit, man. Next time we go I’m taking a camera. It’s not anything I can even describe accurately.

Plus, you know, teenage girls frolicking in bikinis. Can’t complain about that, can ya?

But that’s not the big thing from Saturday. Saturday evening was my ten-year high school reunion.

It was at a Mexican restaurant known for parties and such, so I figured it’d be a nice setup for mingling, saying hi to old acquaintances, etc.

Man, was I wrong.

I got there (with Jenn) and there were no signs to show where the reunion was happening. There were also no restaurant employees at the front desk to direct us. After tracking one down, we were directed to this area in the back which was not really private; it was more just a separate area in the back, albeit with no real walls or anything. It was sort of hard to tell where the restaurant ended and the reunion began.

I tracked down the “organizer” (since I have known her for years I did recognize her) to get my refund (enough people responded that I only had to pay $25 per person instead of $35 per person). It was good to see her - she looked drastically different, though good - and I said hi as I got my money back from her.

The general layout was such that there was no way to mingle or mill about and talk. They really packed in the chairs and tables - banquet style - and you couldn’t very well walk around and talk to people.

I looked around and… didn’t recognize a single person other than the organizer. Jenn and I took a place at a table that sort of overlooked the rest of the group and also had a view of people coming in. I watched as people continued filtering in and didn’t really see anyone I recognized.

Eventually a girl and her friend came over and sat down. I totally didn’t recognize her until she introduced herself, but it was a friend of mine - Rebecca - who lived just around the corner from my parents. She became a personal trainer (who’d have guessed?) and totally transformed herself. She looked great, and it was good to see her again. Another girl and her friend also sat down at our table. It was Pam, a girl I remember from school but who wasn’t really in my “circle of friends” or anything. Regardless, it was good to see her, too, and it sounded to me like she was pretty successful as a manager at the local sporting arena.

The room filled up, and as people came in Rebecca pointed out people and their faces finally clicked for me. I did end up starting to recognize people, but what I started to discover was that the people who were showing up to this thing… they weren’t the people I hung out with. These were the people who decided I was a “nerd” and didn’t want to associate with me. These were the people who made life difficult.

The other thing I noticed was that everyone out there made attempts to talk to each other, but nobody came up to our table.

Except one.

Sarah, a girl who was in the drama group with me, who was always very nice to me, came over to say hi. It was really great to see her again, to find out she’s in PR now, happily married and living not too far from where I’m living now. I told her what I’ve been up to (and maybe she’s checking out the site right now) and it was really great to catch up with her.

Beyond that, it was a difficult time. Over there’s the class president, who should have been the organizer of the event but decided it wasn’t worth his time (that’s the kind of class president he was, too). There’s the girl I would have died to go to prom with but who declined by laughing at me with her friends. That table there is the current embodiment of the popular crowd.

As I sat there, I couldn’t help but have several “what-if” sorts of things flow through my head. What if I wasn’t a nerd? What if I could have gone to prom with that girl? What if I had been popular?

I dunno. I’m sure everyone has these little reflective moments every once in a while, but it just went further to remind me that I’m a computer programmer and I never wanted to be. That there’s so much I could have done so far with my life but now that I’m on a path I don’t know how I could ever change. That I’m a creative individual in a profession that requires creativity but generates entirely intangible assets.

After two hours of sitting there and not seeing anyone else I really wanted to talk to, Jenn and I decided to leave. I found out as I was leaving that the group was planning on going “clubbing” later on… not really my thing, but it makes sense because that’s how my class was.

So my reunion was vastly lamer than Jenn’s was, and she’s sort of inwardly pleased with that, but I think the fact that my reunion sucked so bad was okay for one reason - it shows me that I never need to go back to another, and the effort that I’ve spent in trying to forget those years has not necessarily been in vain.

css, blog comments edit

Well, I think I’ve got this thing converted over to CSS pretty much so I’m not using tabular formatting for anything but forms. It’s looking pretty good, and my average entry size is down by around 2KB each, which just goes to show you how bloated old HTML can be.

I’d figure out my actual space savings, but I can’t SSH out of here - they conveniently use non-SOCKS proxy servers to get onto the web - so I can’t connect to anything on a console level. Or FTP, for that matter, since their proxy is HTTP only.

Regardless, I’m pleased, because now I can apply color changes and whatnot in a much easier fashion. No biggie to you guys, but huge stuff for me.

sql, personal comments edit


I got in to class just as it was starting at 8:30a because I had to stop in and get my allergy shots today. I hate not getting in a little early, but it couldn’t be helped.

Jenn and I watched this movie on… uh… some cable mystery movie channel… last night called B. Monkey. It was described as “A shy schoolteacher gets pushed into the dangerous London criminal underground when he gets involved with a sexy jewel thief.” It sounded interesting. It should have been described as “A sexy jewel thief gets pushed into the average everyday life of human beings when she gets involved with a shy schoolteacher.” There really wasn’t any “London criminal underground” going on there. Maybe a robbery and a couple of guns. That’s not a gangster movie, that’s a love story.

That said, it had Asia Argento in it, who is hot like nothing else, and there was more than the requisite amount of nudity involving her (full frontal, baby!), so while the plot and other characters were generally weak, I couldn’t complain entirely about the movie proper. Anything with lots of Asia Argento is well worth my time.


Lunchtime already, but I didn’t bring a book with me because I didn’t want to start something new and get sucked in - I need to focus on studying for my tests.

Speaking of books, I bought two books yesterday for my trip (though, again, I’m not going to start them until I’ve done some of the studying for my tests): Jennifer Government by Max Barry and Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. I will probably start reading the Barry book first, since I am more sucked in by its premise, but the Colfer book looks pretty good, too.

I’m pleased with how my blog is turning out using the CSS formatting instead of the table and hard-coded styles, but the conversion is a big pain in the ass. I’m finding that there are lots of things that I still need to make styles for that are hard-coded in the templates, and some things that I forgot were in the templates that I need to clean up. The worst/biggest pain is going to be the comments portion of things - making sure the forms all work properly, still look decent, and all that… eh. What a bitch.


Okay, well, I didn’t really go to lunch because I wasn’t really hungry, so instead I hung out with Kate (the receptionist) and Jerry (the instructor), who, coincidentally, also did not go to lunch. It was cool to just hang out and talk with folks on a social basis since I haven’t had time to go hang out with friends or anything for a while. Plus, they’re really cool, so good times.

I’m still hoping to get out of here early so I can go wash my car. Rumor has it we’ll be done by 2:00p.


Last lab…


That’s it! I’m gonna pack up and go wash/wax the ol’ car.

sql, personal comments edit


Well, I didn’t win the lottery (obviously), so I’m in class again.


I’m finding that, since there are only two of us in class, it’s difficult to type things up during the lesson because if I’m typing and the other guy in class (who always has this look like he has no clue what’s going on around him) is doing… whatever he’s doing… then the teacher starts thinking no one is paying attention. Having been in that situation, I know where he’s coming from.

I’m almost done with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 765 pages in the book (I’ve got the UK edition) and I’ve only got like 30 pages left. This is going much faster than my last book, and I hope the next book I read is this interesting.

That said, I’m glad to be getting through this because I really need to start focusing on test preparation and it’s difficult when I just want to sit and read my book rather than buckling down and doing what I need to do. I should have the book done today sometime and tonight I’ll maybe work on some of the labwork from the Programming Windows class I took a while back.

I ordered, for $3.75 shipping, the BMWFilms DVD. Good stuff there. If you haven’t seen the films, check them out.

I got my Zaino car polish products in the mail yesterday so now I’m anxious to try them out, but I’m going to have to find some good time to do that. I’m thinking if I can get out of here early tomorrow, I can go straight over to my parents’ house to wash the car down and maybe get the first coat of polish on. I will probably be able to do a second coat, then, in the morning on Saturday, which would be good because my class reunion’s that night and I’d like to have a spiffy car for the occasion. Not that my car’s not already spiffy, but a nice coat of polish would do it well.

My parents went to Mamma Mia! last night and they liked it a lot, though they agreed that a couple of the actors were a little wooden. I did have a good time with it, it just wasn’t quite what I expected. Anyway, Mom took the shirt Jenn bought at the show on Tuesday back to the show when she went on Wednesday and the concessions guy traded it in for a different model shirt that would fit. That’s cool, so Jenn will get her Mamma Mia! shirt. It’s not the one she wanted, but it’s a shirt. Sucks that the one she wanted didn’t fit. (The other girls’ shirts there also only came in “fitted large” size, which I think is crazy - in today’s society, “one size fits all” is not a valid way to fly. Jenn ended up getting the “generic t-shirt” style shirt, which is not nearly as cute as the one she wanted.)


The teacher has said that if he lets us go to fast and we get out too early, he’ll be in trouble, so I guess we’re taking more breaks to fill the time. That’s okay. During the downtimes I’m catching bits of Harry Potter. Getting closer to done…


Lunchtime! I’d best go to the store and get me another book; I’m really close to done here!


I finished Harry Potter at lunch and I think this is the best one yet. I liked how you get to see more of his internal feelings of growing up, becoming interested in girls, etc. It makes him a much richer character. Not to mention a darn good story and a lot more of the workings of the wizarding society - more information on the Ministry of Magic and so forth. I think this will make a spectacular movie when the time comes.

Of course, if you haven’t read the first four books, I don’t know that this fifth book is the place to start. Newbies aren’t going to get all the references to the previous books and will miss several subtle yet significant points. That doesn’t mean “go see the movies and skip the books” - you need to read the books to get all the subtle stuff and then read this latest. It’ll be worth your effort.


We’re already done with the stuff for today, but the teacher’s going to get in trouble if we get out too early, so we’re going to look at some other advanced topics that aren’t really covered in the class (like some of the XML stuff that SQL Server can do).

I’m all for leaving right now, since I could go over to my parents’ house and start cleaning up my car or maybe go home and do some of the labs for the Programming Windows Apps class. But I don’t want the guy to get into trouble, so I’ll hang out.


Well, class is done, but I’m in the process of reformatting my blog to use CSS (why not, right?) so I’ll be here for a little longer.