personal comments edit

Where are the stir stick QA
people?Not that this is a huge deal or anything, but I was noticing that the little plastic stir sticks in the coffee area at work are all different lengths. I mean, where’s the QA department on this one? You’d think that manufacturing identical plastic straws wouldn’t be that hard, but apparently getting a consistent length is a difficult task.

Since I last whined I’ve had a phone conversation with my father that turned unproductive very quickly which boiled down to this:

Dad: I don’t understand why you blew up when I asked you to pick up your stuff.

Travis: Because you tell me to pick up my stuff nearly every time I see you. Seriously. You’ve said that you’re moving for probably the last three years, but nothing ever happens and, frankly, I don’t have the room to put this stuff. So if you’re not moving, don’t keep harping about it.

Dad: You were very sarcastic and negative about it.

Travis: You’re very critical.

Dad: No, I’m not.

Travis: If your body was possessed by aliens and I told you that you were body snatched, you would tell me that you weren’t because you’re right in the middle of it and wouldn’t know. Trust me, you’re critical.

Dad: Maybe so. You’re negative.

Travis: More than you know. But the long and the short of it is - if you don’t want my opinion, don’t ask for it.

Dad: You don’t have to come get your stuff.

Travis: [Frustrated] Then why did you say I did?

Dad: I gotta go.

Travis: Whatever.

And that was that. Granted, the conversation was more like 15 minutes long and there was a lot of arguing in circles, but I think everyone understands everyone else now.

As for them moving, I will continue to maintain my “I’ll believe it when I see it” status. Even though Dad feels that’s a negative and sarcastic attitude.

Oh, and you ever notice that when you argue with someone, they only ever take into account the fact that you’ve potentially hurt other peoples’ feelings, but they never consider that they hurt you first?

My upcoming training schedule has been jerked around on me due to some unexpected class cancellations so now instead of taking all of my courses locally, I’m going to be heading to Bellevue, WA, twice in the next month or two to take a couple of the courses up there (since they’re not offered here). Bah. Not that I don’t want to learn, but Bellevue’s four hours away and there’s not a lot to do there. At least, not that I saw.

I should get to work. I have way too much to do and totally not enough time. People say that cloning humans is a bad idea, but I’m thinking that if I could have two of me, that’s twice as much stuff I could get done in a reliable, well-documented fashion.

personal comments edit

I just got the call that I’ve successfully been excused from Federal jury duty on July 9. My reasons? Well, first, I’m signed up for loads of training through work that really can’t be adjusted; second, I’m going to have a difficult time paying the rent and eating if I’m not getting a paycheck.

Long story short, I can’t do it. So I got the call, and I don’t have to report.

Some things do go right.

dotnet, personal comments edit

Well, I’m back from training and, after a stressful weekend (which I will try to post more on later), I’m here to fill you in on last week.

Rather than summarize the happenings and lose the gory details (who’d want that?) I kept track of the occurrences in the class as they went along - sort of a “running commentary,” if you will - and that’s what I’ve got for you now.

I look back at all the crap I wrote and realize this is going to be a LONG one. Oh, well. I guess that’s what happens when you save it all up for one entry.

Again, keep in mind that this is from LAST week, so when I talk about the weekend, it’s LAST weekend.

Here we go… I have a limited amount of Internet access from my training class, but since it’s difficult to post throughout the day while the class is going on, I’ll just type up my thoughts in Notepad as they show up in my head. It might be sort of stream-of-consciousness, but I’ll try to maintain a reasonable sense of continuity.

First, the weekend.

Not much went on. Went to the barbecue on Saturday for my dad’s birthday. It was pretty good - there were burgers and chicken kebabs and various salads and sides and eclairs and cake. All food was made by my sister and her husband, and they always do a nice job.

They have an interesting idea of “barbecue,” though. Now, don’t get me wrong - when they make stuff, it’s always very tasty. But they never just make “a hamburger” and they don’t just “grill chicken.” They alwas throw in some sort of “gourmet touch,” where there’s some eclectic selection of organic spices or something applied to the food. I appreciate that, but I think sometimes I just want a burger. I don’t want gourmet. I don’t want super-mega-Thai-chicken-ultra-dish with a side of magic-flavored-rice. I want greasy spoon, A-1 sauce, barbecued burger.

Maybe some teriyaki sauce, if I’m feeling daring.

I’m not so sure about natural taro root chips in place of straight-up Doritos. And I’ve never been a big fan of carrot cake, so what makes folks wonder why I don’t want organic carrot cake?

(The eclairs rocked my world, though.)

I’m not sure if they eat gourmet style all the time. They probably do. They’d probably get bored eating at my house (which mostly consists of processed food of some nature). Just a difference in taste, I guess.

Oh, and the Alias season finale ran on Sunday. I was glued to the TV, and when it was over I wanted to kill someone because they threw such a curveball at the end and I have to know what it all means. Those assholes really know how to hook a guy.

Beyond that, the weekend was pretty uneventful. On with the show.

Monday, May 5


When I got out of the shower, Jenn was in the bathroom wearing a shirt and underwear while getting her hair prepped for the day.

Travis: Jenn, how come your underwear are on inside-out?

Jenn: They’re not.

Travis: Yes, they are. Look.

Jenn: Oh, shit.

That’s how the day started.

Got her to work on time (barely), then got to the training facility by 7:10a. Class starts at 8:30a.

Good thing I brought my Alias book to read.

The instructor for my class is a little older than I’d expect (maybe late 40’s?). He seems to be a good guy so far, but with an interesting sense of humor. If he asks me to try the veal or tip my server, I’m walking out.

He’s kinda cracking me up with the little jabs he gets in at the Microsoft products we’re working with:

Instructor: Does anyone here use this Fisher-Price operating system in the office?

Travis: You mean Windows XP?

Instructor: Yeah. You’ll find out by the end of the week that this thing drives me up the wall.

Oh, and he’s walking around in his socks.

The guys behind me are brothers. They both work at Nike and they’re in the same department. I’d kill my family if I had to work with them. I don’t know how they do it.


I’m seven pages into the course book and I’m thinking I may be in over my head. I mean, the class is “Building COM+ Applications using Microsoft .NET Enterprise Services.” That’s heavy. The course itself is so far living up to its title. I thought I was a pretty in-depth programmer, but this is starting to look like some serious low-level shit. I thought I got out of this when I graduated, but it’s looking like I’m back in the hole.

I guess we’ll see more as time goes on.

I’m tired and thirsty. I hope we take a break soon.


We’re getting a little sidetracked with him showing us some sort of thing about something. Yes, that’s as much detail as I can give you. I’m so lost.


I’ve figured it out. The instructor looks like Jon Voight. But he sort of has a Don Knotts attitude.


They’re discussing something about resource allocation that I’m not finding relevant.

I saw a commercial for “Nu Finish” car wax this morning. Supposedly it lasts for a full year. I wonder if it’s any good. I should remember to research that.


Finally, a lab exercise and break. It’s good to learn by doing, and I figure things out better when I’m actually trying them out. Plus, it’s waking me up.

I’m glad the pop is free here. I’m going to be drinking their asses out of house and home to keep myself awake in this one.


Just went and reseached car wax options. After following a few links, I found this article on the NSeXcitement Online Magazine (for Acura NSX owners, so I thought it particularly relevant).

Long story short, they recommend Zaino Brothers products over everything else. I’ve never previously heard of them, but apparently they’re pretty big since I found references to them all over the place on auto enthusiast sites. It’s mail-order only, so you have to fill out the form and mail it in with a check, but I’m thinking I may do that. The Turtle Wax I’ve got is not only a big pain to apply, but I don’t feel like it offers as much protection or glossiness as I’d like. These Zaino guys come pretty highly recommended from all over the place. I’ll probably have to order the stuff, dedicate some time and just fix my car up.

Plus, no buffing. I fucking hate buffing car wax.


Lunchtime! I have some stuff to read about for the next section, but other than that, it’s time to go get some fatty food at Mickey-D’s (McDonald’s, for those without any pop culture built in).


Just got back from lunch. 10-piece Chicken McNuggets and a large fry (I found a coupon at home for a free large fry so I only had to buy the McNuggets). Drinks courtesy of the training facility. Mmmmm, tasty.

Now, normally I wouldn’t bring this up, but I’ve got a sort of “feedback ethics” question for you:

After lunch, I returned to the training facility, dropped my stuff off, and took a dump. (That’s not the point, though.) As I was wiping, I noticed they have that shitty one-ply toilet paper that has no perforations (you just have to rip it off arbitrarily) and is, for lack of a better word, harsh.

I remember on the course feedback form that there’s an area asking if there are “any improvements that can be made to the facility.” How do you say, “Get some real fucking toilet paper because the stuff you buy tears at my fragile asshole?” That’s not something you normally write down on a feedback form. So what do you do?


The computers we’re using here are nice little Dell Optiplex GX150 items. Small, reasonable design. I think I should look at something like this (at least with this style and/or shape) when I decide to upgrade.


Geek moment - I just wrote my first COM+ assembly and a client to use it. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means; I found out this morning.


I think maybe I need to invest in a nose-hair trimmer.


My boss just emailed my phone to ask a question. In the middle of answering, my phone locked up and reset the time and everything. Fucking phone. So now I’m totally lost and my phone won’t display the proper time.


We’re watching a demo on causality, synchronization, and thread handling in COM+.



I just built - or, rather, modified (since the framework was there with a bunch of comments) - a COM+ app that interfaces with a web page. Honestly, I’m not even sure what this thing is doing. There’s, like, this database, and, uh, this web page, and this little code library deal that I drummed up that somehow magically does something such that it will talk to the database and pull up data. I’ve done that bunches of times, but this time the data is getting passed through this sort of service broker deal that allows me to connect to the same service from different apps all at the same time. I think it would make it more concrete for me if I actually had a load of different things all jockeying for this service, but I only have the one web page, so I suppose the point of writing this app to do its job in this particular way is sort of lost on me. My understanding is that it will be made clear as time goes on and we do more of the labs.

I’m finding the ideas in here pretty nifty, how you can do all this stuff but I’m still not sure how (if at all) I’ll be able to apply it to what I do daily. This is more hardcore than some of the stuff I do. Of course, once I finish with this, I’m sure I’ll find loads of problems that this crap could solve; I just don’t know it yet.


The day is done. We were going to go to 4:30p, but there are a couple of students having problems with their machines so we’re going to adjourn until tomorrow and the instructor’s going to fix the machines up by then.

For the first time ever, it’s not me having the problem. That’s a good feeling.

Tuesday, May 6

I woke up this morning more tired than yesterday. I find that odd because I went to bed at 9:30p last night, but the night before I was in bed around 11:15p. So how come I’m more tired even though I got less sleep? This is the shit I puzzle on all day.

I got my copy of the new Blue Man Group album, The Complex, last night from Amazon. I think I liked their first album better. The first album had sort of a tribal, emotional feel to it. All of the songs came together as a whole. This latest album has definite distinct songs, this time with words, and it doesn’t seem to have the impact for me of the first. I’ll have to listen to it a couple of times to really make the call, but right now, I like their Audio album better.

I also got my copy of the 4 Strings album, Believe. I first heard these guys on C89.5, and I am rather enjoying the album. It’s a little formulaic (what techno isn’t?) but I’m loving it all the same. Check it out.

I am interested in getting an MP3 player (as though I have the money for it) but I’m not sure which one. The iPod looks good and seems to be the most popular, but the Rio models look good, too. Then there are the combo MP3 player/digital camera devices that appeal to my need to have one device do everything, but it seems that it’s closer to “one device that does everything half-assed,” if you know what I mean.

Okay, it’s about 8:30a now - class is starting up. Here we go…


This section of the class is a high-level overview of ADO.NET. Finally, something I’m familiar with! I’m glad, too. My brain is fried.


Just had to leave the classroom and totally stretch my neck/back, wash my face, and try to wake myself up. This early morning shit that Jenn’s got me doing is going to kill me.




I just finished the 60 minute lab in 13 minutes. I’m still not entirely sure where this is going; I guess I’ll see it when we get farther along. Either way, looks like I’ve got some time on my hands. Which is fine, because I’ve got a rip-roaring headache due to my intense level of fatigue. I think if I took a four-hour nap right about now life would be about 200 times better.


Looks like the Indiana Jones movie series will finally come out on DVD in November. Took them long enough.


There are a couple of guys in class whose machines aren’t set up right, or they’re not working right or something. They had issues last night, but the instructor supposedly fixed the issues. Now they’ve got them again so we’ve got folks who can’t do the lab work. Thank goodness it’s not me, but then, it is slowing me down. I’ve been sitting here for 45 minutes while they troubleshoot these damn things with no success. Lame.


I guess we’re going to lunch until 12:30a. Which is fine, since I’m hungry now and pretty bored.

I went out to the Car Toys web site to get general pricing estimates and it looks like for a new deck, changer, amp, and a couple of subwoofers, it’ll cost me around $1200. I’ll probably need some custom installation, though, so that’ll be extra.

Put that on the list of “things to get when I have money to spend again.”


Back from lunch. I went and had two chicken flautas at the local supermarket deli. Authentic? No. Tasty? Somewhat. Economic? Definitely.

The instructor is still trying to repair the broken machines. How sucky is that? I’d hate to be him. Maybe I should offer to help.

The receptionist’s name is Kate. I could have sworn there was a guy there yesterday, but I saw him today and he is an instructor or a tech guy or something, so he must have been filling in temporarily. Anyway, I figured I walk past Kate about a bazillion times a day, I should probably know her name.


Lab time again. This time we’re working with transactions, which I understand (at least in a database context). We’ll see what this turns up.


Finished the lab, and this time I understood what was going on. I’m actually starting to get it, now that I’m a little farther into it, and when I look back at the code I see where things are happening.

The stuff I’m not seeing is the actual transaction stuff in action.

For those not in the know, a “transaction” is when you have a series of things that have to either all succeed or they all fail. For example, say you request $100 be transferred from your savings account to your checking account. Two things happen - you withdraw $100 from your savings account and you deposit $100 to your checking account. If I try to withdraw the $100 from your savings account and you don’t have $100, the transaction fails - nothing is deposited, and the money in your savings account is left alone. If you DO have the money in your savings account, but your checking account is frozen, then the $100 can’t be deposited… but you don’t want to lose it, so the transaction has to be “rolled back” so the money can be put back in your savings account. If everything works properly, then the transaction is “committed” and the $100 will be debited from savings and credited to checking.

Anyway, we’re learning how to do that inside programs, and the code and everything is all in place, so presumedly that’s working. But I’ve only ever seen a successful transaction; what happens when the thing is rolled back? How does failure work? That’s where we haven’t gone yet. I think the point they’re trying to illustrate is that all this magic takes place at some level you never have to touch; I just like to see what’s going on.

The instructor is still working on getting the other lab computers to work right. I’m not sure what’s wrong, but it looks like some sort of configuration issue. I did end up offering help, but I didn’t see anything in the usual places I look. I think he’s in the process of reformatting and reinstalling Windows XP. Hahahahahaha….


I think it’s just about time to go. If he’s not done with the current section in the next couple of minutes, I’m giving him the “kill” sign.


It’s time for the kill sign.


Oookay. Done and done. Time to go home.

Wednesday, May 7

Watched Buffy last night and am finding that the longer it goes on, the more I feel like it’s about time the show ended. I loved it while it was on, but I’m glad they’re wrapping it up. I don’t know where else they’d take it.

I finished my Alias book yesterday, so today I’ve started Tom Clancy’s The Bear and The Dragon. I’m only like seven pages into it, but it’s okay so far. The book is around 1050 pages long, though, so I had best settle in for the ride. It’s going to be a long one. (I’ve reading the hardbound one, too, so it’s massive.)

I woke up this morning a little more refreshed than I have the last couple of days, and without a headache. I can only think of two things that I did yesterday that I don’t normally do: First, I stretched for a few minutes before I went to bed. I’m not the most limber person ever, but I can feel that I’m getting a little inflexible with the sitting all day thing I’ve got going. Second, I played a half hour of Dance Dance Revolution, which is probably the most exercise I’ve gotten in the last week or two.

I am not very good at Dance Dance, but there is one song (“Boom Boom Dollar”) that I can do perfectly on the “simple” mode. I think that’s something to be proud of. Maybe. I can almost do it without watching the screen now.

The other songs… I like them, but I suck donkey balls at them. I can do the really easy ones, but the faster ones have these steps that hit on the half-beat and my feet aren’t fast enough. I’d like to think I’d be slightly better at it if we had a hard dance pad and I could wear shoes. As it is, our soft dance pad slides around on the floor and by the end of a fast song you’re not standing in the same place you were at the beginning. Makes it a little difficult. I may try to modify our mat by attaching it to one of those hard plastic things that office chairs roll around on. That might make it better (and stop it from sliding around).

Or I could get the real thing.

I don’t have the money for it, though. I could probably make my own, though. Maybe.


Lab time again. This time on “Securing Network Applications.” I just got to explain how web server authentication works, though I’m not sure how that relates to cOM+. Interesting the tangents we get off on here.


Just got a call on my cell phone from this bitch at work who wanted to know something about some document or another on the intranet. I tried to be polite and say that while I may maintain the intranet servers and provide the services that allow the site to run, I don’t maintain the content and can’t vouch for it, its current state, or anything else content-related.

She didn’t seem to like that so much, so she got snippy with a, “No, no

  • LISTEN TO ME!” and then she repeated the question. Because getting pissy with me is going to somehow enlighten me as to the status of content I don’t own.

I will admit that I exercised a lot of restraint on that one. I think I may have killed her had she shown that attitude in my office.

I fucking hate people.


Finished with the lab, after writing an explanatory note to my boss to tell him to anticipate The Bitch calling him because I provided “poor service.” It was an interesting lab, but I’m still a little fuzzy on how it all works together. I’m going to have to read this material over again when the class is finished, I think.


After a lengthy discussion on the qualities of movies today, we’re starting up the class again. This instructor guy is a kick in the pants.


Just got back from lunch, which started at about 11:45a, and no one is back yet except the instructor. Huh. What a bunch of slackers.

Before lunch I got into a big discussion about .NET garbage collection relative to COM+. I realize the nerdy error of my ways and will try to refrain from doing such things again.

While sitting in the Fred Meyer parking lot eating my burrito, I realized that the best way to describe the toilet paper at the training facility is aggressive. I want to wipe my asshole, not enlarge its circumference.

Maybe I’ll put that on my course review sheet.

I did not get any reading done during lunch, though I suppose that’s neither here nor there. I’ve still got over 1000 pages left, so a little headway isn’t going to make much difference.


Got a message from my boss saying not to worry about The Bitch from earlier; she’s like that to everyone. Good enough, then.


Lab time again. This time on “managing component state.” I’m familiar with this in an ASP.NET context but it’s a new one in COM+. Basically the same thing, but implemented and accessed in different ways. Here goes…


Caching… interesting. We really only exercised the ASP.NET caching facility, but interesting all the same. Nice that you can access ASP.NET caching from your COM+ object.

Little bit of a geek moment there. Sorry.


the white noise from the cooling fans and hard drives has me sleepy as though the machines are telling me to take a rest while they slowly move in to kill me in my hibernating state breathing shallow bored tired and listening to the sound of my own demise creeping in


I just caught up on my WWDN reading and I’m ready for class to start up again. Where did the teacher go?

My back is getting stiff and my neck is starting to hurt. This chair sucks donkey dong. Maybe it’s time to get up and pee or something.

I think I’m forming a Vanilla Coke addiction. It’s a good thing we don’t have Vanilla Coke at work or I’d be a huge pig. As it is, here at the training facility, I’ve been sucking down upwards of six cans a day. I’m sure that’s not good for me.


Found this link to the American’s Guide to Canada over on Tanya’s site. She’s probably had it there forever, but that shows how observant I am.

Read up on the various messed-up terminology the Canucks run with. Too much. I’m really going to have to visit some time.


I followed a few links around and started skimming other peoples’ blogs. There are a lot of blogs out there that make absolutely no sense. I mean, like, they’ll post random thoughts or disconnected snippets of conversation that hold no context for the reader.

Do I do that? Post shit that makes no sense to anyone but me? I try to maintain some sort of narrative thread, but I suppose there are lots of things up here that have nothing to do with anything.


Oh, hey, we’re finally getting back to class. Fuckin’ A.


I farted, and it’s really starting to stink.


Lab time, once again. This time for “Compensating Resource Managers.” You know how you buy something with a credit card and it shows up on your statement, then you return it and you get a credit? It still shows up as having happened, but it all nets out to zero? That’s basically what “compensating resource managers” do - they do the credit back to your card if you need that to happen.


And that’s a wrap. Compensating Resource Managers, while cool, are a pain in the ass. I’m glad I’m learning about it, but I really hope I don’t have to do this shit when I get back to work. This sucks.

Anyway, that’s the end of the day. I’m packing up and going home.

Thursday, May 8

It never rains, but it pours. I got a summons to Federal jury duty last night. I’ll have to see how to get out of it, or at least postpone it. I’m a little busy with work in July to potentially be sequestered or some shit. Is “I don’t care” a reason that you can’t be on a jury? I don’t feel any moral obligation or civic duty to do it; I’ll just vote in a fashion to get out of the place ASAP, regardless of right or wrong. Is that a legit reason to get out?

The season finale of Angel last night was really cool. I hear it’s still up in the air as to whether there will be another season, but if there’s not, they ended up on a decent note with no major cliffhangers. Don’t get me wrong; I’m anxious to see how the story continues to play out, but if it doesn’t come back, they did end up resolving all of the plot points that were hanging out there.

Saw that Josh got voted off American Idol last night and let me say it’s about time. I know the guy was only getting the pity vote because he’s a Marine. What’s wrong with this country? At least things have been set right now. Next week I’m predicting that Kimberley will go. After that… Well, I hope Ruben wins.

Jenn was having quite the time this morning. She seemed to have a difficult time settling on something to wear. She wanted to wear pants, but didn’t like any of the pants she had. Then she put on pants but got pissed off because of the panty line, so took the pants off and started looking through her closet again. In the end she wore the pants she had on the first time. We woke up about 15 minutes before the alarm went off (fucking cat) and we still ended up leaving the house later than we should have. (Luckily enough, we did get her to work on time.)

My pet peeve of the day (well, maybe not just today is people who think they’re being “polite” by disobeying the rules of the road and stopping where they shouldn’t stop so they can “let you in” or whatever.

I appreciate that in some cases it’s difficult to turn left out of a particular store’s driveway or maybe it’s hard to merge onto a freeway from a dead stop during rush hour. That’s fine. But in order to ensure everyone’s safety, I need to rely on the fact that you’re going to fucking GO when you’re supposed to. If there is no stop sign, don’t fucking stop. In the long run, you’re going to cause more harm than good. Maybe nothing will happen this time… but maybe you’re starting a traffic backup that will go for miles… or maybe you’re going to get rear-ended. Or worse. Just drive, will you? Drive defensively, not politely.

I’m not advocating you cut people off and go out of your way to be nasty. What I’m saying is that there are rules of the road for a reason - FOLLOW THEM.

I’d best go get some juice and, like, a bagel or something before class starts up. My tummy’s growling and I have “hungry breath.”


Aaaaand it’s showtime!


I am so stiff. My legs hurt, my back hurts… I don’t know if it’s just me or if these chairs just really suck.


I’m fading fast, here. Tired, tired, tired. I could so easily become a stimulant addict. This early morning shit is killing me. Killing me, I tell you!

Oh, I figured it out and I have like $6 in my checking account. That’s just fucking great. Good thing I have that $20 in my wallet or I wouldn’t be eating lunch. I so can’t wait until Jenn gets a paying job. My salary was not made to support two people. At least, not with the lifestyle I lead (or would like to). As it is, I’m not really buying anything (not the way I once was) and I’m still dipping into savings every month to make ends meet.

Maybe those hockey tickets this year just aren’t going to work out. I’d hate to lose our seats, but that’s $400 - per seat - I don’t have right now.


Lab time. “Loosely-coupled events” is the topic, and let me tell you… I’m bogged down. This is a lot of information to take in on stuff I don’t use very often. I pretty much understand it, but thank goodness there’s no test on this stuff.

(Actually, there is a test, but it’s over “Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual C# and the Microsoft .NET Framerwork” - which has three course requirements, and this is only one. With any luck, I’ll remember enough out of this one and be able to ride the web-oriented part - the part I know - to success. This COM+ shit sucks donkey balls.)


Lunchtime. I’ve got until 12:45p, so I think I’ll go get me a burrito and sit in the Fred Meyer parking lot and just relax. It’s nice to be able to sit and not really have to think about anything or do anything.

My lab didn’t go as smoothly as the last time; I put a nice little logic error into my project and it took me forever to find it. I continue to maintain that this stuff is a huge pain. Nifty, though - we’re working on an order processing app that allows multiple users to simultaneously see a realtime list of the pending orders in the system. I think this is where my stand on web services breaks down - events. If you want an event to fire and notify multiple clients, not all of whom are on the same machine, this is the way to go.


I’m back from lunch, and I have this terrible headache. I’m so tired, and my back and legs are stiff… I’ve just taken some aspirin so hopefully it will be going away.

I’m thinking the shitty fluorescent lighting here isn’t helping me at all, either. In my cube at work I have all of the fluorescents shut off and when I need light I open the blinds. Here they have the blinds shut (due to the glare it would cause if they were open) and the lights are sort of half-on. Enough to give me a fluorescent headache but not enough to do anything of value.


A couple of Excedrin Migraine and a can of Vanilla Coke later and I’m starting to come out of my painful stupor. I almost threw up there. Not good.


Lab time again. This time it’s “Queued Components” (that is, communicating between programs on different machines… basically).

I’m starting to see one particular application that this stuff might have at work. I’ll tell my boss about it… but I really hope he comes back with, “Wow, that sounds like a little more work than we want to invest in right now.” I don’t think it’d be fun AT ALL, but it would probably solve the issue we’ve been working on.

My headache is still hovering around the back of my head. I think I need more Coke.

Maybe this is what caffeine withdrawal is all about. I’ve only had one can today as opposed to the three or four or six(?) that I’ve had the other three days this week. Can you become dependant that quickly? Probably. I dunno. I do know that it’d probably go away faster if I had a nap, so I’ll choose to blame it on the lack of sleep rather than my fleeting Vanilla Coke addiction.


Finished that lab after quite the tussle with the code. The thing is, the application that the lab exercise has us working on… well, it’s good for example code, but it doesn’t make logical sense in some cases.

The app itself is an order processing app - you can place an order on the web, then there’s a Windows program that allows administrative users to approve or deny orders for processing. The idea they’re trying to illustrate in the completed app is that only managers can approve orders over $1000 (which shows us security principles), that orders placed for items that are not currently in stock need to be ordered (which shows us instantaneous/synchronous messaging) and that completed/approved orders need to be pushed into the Accounting database for billing purposes (which shows delayed/asynchronous messaging).

The logic in the app, though, basically was saying “If we need to order offsite, do it. Now, is the order over $1000? If so, are you a manager? If it’s over $1000 and you’re not a manager - SORRY! Otherwise, all’s well, go ahead and approve the order.” From the security standpoint, the order is wrong. It should check to see if you have rights to approve FIRST, then it should do the order offsite, then the order is completed and approved. I was running into issues where stuff wasn’t happening and I couldn’t figure out why… until I saw that the business logic wasn’t as logical as I thought it was.



Time to go home. We’ll start first thing in the morning with a lab on debugging. Sounds like a party to me. Or something.

Friday, May 9

I got home last night, still with my headache, and took an hour-and-a-half nap, which made me vastly more chipper than I previously was. That leads me to believe that my headache was more due to exhaustion than anything else, and, thus, that it’s Jenn’s fault in the first place. :)

Survivor was not a big surprise, and I’m glad Heidi’s gone, but I think Rob really needs to go, too. I am hoping that Matthew wins this thing since he seems to be the one trying the hardest (not necessarily playing the game but actually trying).

Went in for my allergy shots this morning and… well, a little history:

I have two different allergy shot serum mixtures - one for “Trees/Weeds/Mites/Animals” and one for “Grass/Mites/Animals” (whatever that’s all supposed to mean). Anyway, that equates to one shot in each arm - one shot from each bottle = two shots, divided by two arms, etc. Okay, well, that worked great until I started really reacting to one of them (I don’t remember which) so what they did was split the dose - I’d get half of the shot in one arm, half in the other. That amounted to two shots in my right arm (the original shot and half of the other shot) and one shot in my left arm (half of the original).

I started reacting to the original right-arm shot, so this morning they’ve split that one, too. Now I get two shots in each arm - half of each shot in each arm. How messed up is that? The clinic is even having a hard time keeping it all straight. I guess this isn’t terribly normal. I knew I was pretty allergic, though, so I can’t say I’m surprised.

Last day of class! I am eager for this one to be over. It’s reminded me of why I hated school in the first place - The stuff that’s easy is really easy; and the stuff that’s hard is hard because you don’t get to ramp-up, you’re just thrown in. I’ve learned a lot in this course, but not as much as I think I would have had I known more beforehand about some of the lower-level programming constructs that I don’t use every day. I will have to revisit the learning material once I get a few more of the general C# courses under my belt so I can understand a little better what’s going on.

One thing I do know is that I probably won’t be using this stuff in everyday work; it’ll be one-off projects at best, and more likely than not, I probably won’t really ever get into it. Interesting to know, but not something I’ll be applying. With any luck, at least.

I have to go to Target to get my mom a card for Mother’s Day. Target sells the only cards I like.

I guess we’re having breakfast with Jenn’s parents at 8:00a Saturday morning before they go to the airport to fly to wherever they board their Alaskan cruise ship. I’m not sure if it’s one of those things that boards in the US, then travels up the coast to Alaska and back or if they get on the ship in Alaska and just cruise around the area.

Basically what that means, though, is that I don’t get to sleep in on Saturday, either. Blarg.

I was driving home from training yesterday listening to Kylie Minogue’s Fever and realized that if I was a girl I’d probably dress just slightly trashy and I’d be really flirty. I wonder if that’s true.


Finished the lab that we left off with last night. This was supposedly on “debugging applications,” but what it really illustrated was troubleshooting configuration issues. Either way, very helpful. There were three exercises and I was able to figure out one of them; the other two I had to look at the solution. I found that the problem was we had never really examined what the settings should be, so it was hard to determine what they shouldn’t be - no frame of reference and all.


I guess we’re going ot take an early, shorter lunch so we can get out earlier today. I’m almost done with the last lab in the course and we have only one more section - “COM+ 1.5 Enhancements.” The instructor went out to get us a pizza because that way we can hurry up and he can get on his way back up to Washington (he came down only to instruct the class).

Sooner’s better for me, too - that way I can get to Target and get home.


Well, done with pizza, and it’s almost time to start up again, methinks. With any luck, I’ll be out of here by 1:30p.

One might ask oneself - “Should I go to work with my remaining time?” The answer, of course, is a resounding NO. My brain is fried, folks. Time off is long overdue.

I wonder if anything’s gotten done in my absence. Somehow I’m doubting it.


Back to class, last section. I’ve got my class completion certificate, I’m ready to go.


That’s it, folks. We’re doing a little backgrounder on web services, which I am already aware of, so I’m packing up. Joy, fun, seasons in the sun, and all that. I’m ready for the weekend.

personal comments edit

This is going to sound pretty whiny, but frankly I don’t care. I’ve got some stuff on my mind and it’s time to either vent or explode. I choose vent. So I went this weekend with my parents to check out this condo they’re thinking of moving into at which point I - once again - questioned their reasoning as to why they’d want to move out of the freedom of a house and into an apartment-style living situation again. Dad’s big answer is that he wants to “pare down.” That’s Dad’s big phrase when he starts talking about his living situation - “We need to pare down.”

I’m not even really sure what that means. He’s got this ambiguous definition revolving around it, but the general gist is that he wants to lower the quantity of stuff he has in his possession. Why you can’t do that in your existing house is beyond my comprehension, but for some reason “paring down” always involves moving into a smaller place. (I don’t think he takes into account the fact that the majority of the stuff he wants to “pare down” is the knick-knack stuff that Mom decorates their place with; I don’t think it occurs to him that regardless of where they live, Mom’s going to fill the place up with decor.)

His other reason is that he “hates maintenance.” I’ll sympathize with him on this one. When (if) I get a house, I don’t want to mow the lawn. Jenn has publicly said she’ll do all the yardwork, so I’m holding her to it or paving the motherfucker over. Anyway, Dad doesn’t like maintenance. The funny thing is, four times out of five, it’s Mom mowing the lawn and stuff anyway. But let’s pretend for the moment that’s not the case - Dad doesn’t like the maintenance that comes with a house.

So he wants to move into a condo because it’s the silver bullet that will solve all of his living situation issues. Moving will force him to throw stuff out, and moving into a condo will mean he doesn’t have to mow the lawn. However, the place he’s looking at will charge him around $200 per month for home owner association fees that pay for the mowing of the lawn and other grounds maintenance. I think it also covers water and sewer or something. Fine. The thing I don’t get about that is, though, if you’re going to shell out $200 more per month than you’re already paying for a house payment, and you’re getting a smaller place, why not just hire a lawn service to do your yardwork for you at half the price?

Okay, so there’s that. I have tried to explain to him that he’s not going to like apartment life after living in a house for so long - you can hear the neighbors, you don’t have the freedoms you have in a house, yadda yadda yadda. He doesn’t believe it. This from the guy who loves to crank up the action movies on the surround sound. You can’t do that when you have neighbors attached to you, man. But the need to “pare down” seems to outweigh that.

Anyway, this weekend Dad decided he needed to get all of the stuff I own out of the house. Understand that this is a truckload of boxes full of toys, grade school report cards, and other crap that I don’t even know that I own. He told me that this desk sitting in their living room is mine - huh? I don’t recall that being mine, but I’m sure he’s just trying to shovel his shit into my apartment. There are chairs, there are boxes, there’s this desk… there’s a lot of stuff.

Now, keep in mind that a little while back - maybe four months or so - I got a storage unit because I don’t have space to keep both Jenn’s stuff and my stuff in our ever-crowded apartment. It’s ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. I hate my apartment and I stew about the distinct lack of space on a frequent basis. We’ve already pored through our stuff and donated or sold the stuff we don’t have room for. We’re at the end of our current space.

So what Dad tells me every time I see him, and continued to harp on this weekend, is that I need to take my stuff because they’re “paring down.” Every time I hear this, I tell him I don’t have anywhere to put it. We all know they’re not moving in the next couple of months anyway, so if he could sit on it until they move, I might have something better coming up then. This time he just wouldn’t let up, so it turned into a pretty heated argument that basically ended with me saying I’m going to have to trash most of my stuff because basically I can’t put it anywhere. Honestly, I’m at the end of my ability to store anything else. I just regained use of this second bedroom we have, and I guess I’ll just lose it again. Fucking great.

That’s just one of the things on my mind. Let’s see…

At work I’ve got too much shit to do and not enough time. I’m sure that’s the plight of every worker in a “right-sized” environment, but we were understaffed before we got trimmed, so now we’re really under-staffed. There’s a huge several-month-long project that I’m working on with some contractors and my name is next to about 70% of the action items. I’m booked. I’m going to training classes during different times during the project, which just means I have less time than needed to accomplish everything (though the training is the only thing keeping me from killing someone, since it’s the only part I look forward to). When I’m gone, there’s no “backup support” for me - when I come back, all I am is a week further behind. Nobody picks up the slack. And then my boss comes over and says, “Hey, you really need to think about when and how we’re going to work this other huge project to be completed during the same timeframe as this already overwhelming project you’re working on…” Yeah, buddy. Thanks. Because I’m not thinking about anything else right now.

At home I’m exhausted. I get up by 5:45a to take Jenn to work by 7:00a, which is a problem for me since I’m not a morning person. Now, when I say “I’m exhausted” that doesn’t mean “I really could use a nap and I’d feel better,” it means “I’m ready to cry spontaneously because I’m so tired I feel like I’m in a hellish sleep deprivation experiment where the scientists forgot to tell me I can sleep again.” I’m beyond beat. Going to bed earlier is not going to help - I’m not a morning person, so regardless of how much sleep I get, if I get up before, say, 6:30a, I’m destroyed. Any time before 7:30a and I’ll be tired, but I can sometimes pick up the slack on the weekends with that. Not so with this 5:45a shit. I can’t hack this.

Financially it doesn’t help motivate me that Jenn is technically unemployed - she’s working a six-week externship (reads: “volunteering”) that could turn into *gasp* a permanent position with the same suck-ass hours. (No, she can’t park at work; they don’t give employees parking permits unless they carpool.) Her last unemployment check for a whopping $130 or something comes in on Wednesday and we’ve got four weeks left of this volunteer work. After the externship, she’s got to find a permanent position somewhere (preferably not at ridiculous hours), so God only knows how long that will take.

The volunteer-work is really cutting into the budget; actually, the whole “sending Jenn through school” has cut into the budget. I’m glad she’s got a career coming up that she can grow in and love, but I was getting only about 30% help with the bills before, now I’m getting around 10%, and after this week, it’ll be 0%. So I’m supporting two people on a one-person salary with no end in sight.

We want a house, but I can’t save up any money to get there (and, in fact, I’m eating into the savings by living like this), so we live in an overpriced apartment, pay for an external storage unit to house the shit we can’t get rid of but have no place for, and I can’t get ahead. I love Jenn dearly, but from a financial standpoint, I was able to make ends meet a lot better when I didn’t have to support her.

So I’ve got the work issues, the home issues, and the financial issues all stewing in my brain. I don’t have the ability to turn that off; if I focus on something else, I’m okay, but as soon as I’m done with that activity, my brain reverts to stewing on that stuff. I wake up every morning with a sore jaw (I’m sure I’m clenching my teeth) and a stiff neck and back because I’m all tense…

I guess the whole point of this is that most folks I socialize with expect me to be “the rock,” the guy who always has it together and who, if all hell breaks loose, will help to pick up the pieces. What I’m finding, though, is that I don’t have anyone that I can rely on to help pick up the pieces if my shit falls apart. As it turns out, it doesn’t sound like I can rely on my own parents, which is disheartening, but I suppose I should have expected it. I’ve come to realize that the phrases “If you want something done right, do it yourself” and “Trust no one” have more than a little truth behind them. I guess I’ll just pick my stuff up from them on Saturday.

I’m waiting for some sort of nervous breakdown. Or maybe a heart attack. I can’t de-stress, because I have no one to rely on to back me up, and I can’t take a vacation because I can’t relax - all I end up with after vacation is more work to try to catch up on.

To top it all off, as I mentioned in my last entry, I got called for Federal jury duty. I’ve got training courses scheduled during the time I’m supposed to go, though, so I’ve got to see if I can get out of it. With my luck… well, let’s not jinx it here, shall we?

dotnet, personal comments edit

Due to my utter insistence on knowing what I’m doing at work, I connived myself some training. I start Monday with a class Monday about “Building COM+ Applications Using Microsoft .NET Enterprise Services” or something. I’m not sure I’m really all that qualified for it, but here’s hoping. Either way, I’m looking forward to training - it’s always like a vacation.

No real plans for the weekend except for a barbecue we’re having for my dad’s birthday. His birthday was actually a couple of weeks ago, but he was out of town. Better late than never, I guess. I’ll probably go over early so I can wash my car. It’s really dirty, and I need to Rain-X my windows again.

Other than that, there’s nothing exciting going on. Work’s stressing me out enough that I can actually feel my own blood pressure and I don’t see any end in sight for that. Money’s tight because Jenn’s in the throes of her pharmacy technician externship (six weeks of unpaid work). I drank a lot of coffee earlier and had a pretty harsh crap. That’s about it.

Speaking of coffee, I really don’t like it, but with this getting-up-too-early crap that Jenn’s got me doing, I don’t see much alternative. The deal is, she has to be at work by 7:00a. If she takes the bus, it takes two hours to get there, so she’d be getting up at 4:00a to get ready… at which point I’d be up. She can’t park at work because they won’t give her a permit (if you’re not a full-time, permanent employee who carpools, you don’t get a permit), so she can’t drive herself. What does that mean?

It means I’m up at fucking 5:45a every morning so we can both be ready and out the door by 6:30a, getting her to work on time. Then I just continue on to work, and I get there by like 7:10a.

I’m not a morning person. I fucking hate the morning. I really start functioning around 11:00a or so - getting up early is not my thing. If the world worked swing shift, that’d be easier for me. Instead, I’m up too early and have started a coffee habit. Of course, it’s more of a luxury than a requirement or addiction; if I don’t have it, I don’t get headaches or withdrawals, I’m just more tired. Tired like someone who gets up too early. Blarg.