Repairing the Dripping Faucet of the Time Sink

So, I’ve been negligent to this journal in the past month. Not unusual, but so much has happened and I haven’t shared. I know I should document at least some of the exciting and mundane things just to keep you people coming back. So negligent. For that, I’m sorry…but not that sorry.

Eh, five or six weeks back I quit IRC for good. I’m done. When I think of all the time I’ve wasted on that chat medium, I weep. That’s time I will never get back. Well, it wasn’t a total waste; there are some really awesome people on there. I mean IRC is just a tool for communication and nothing more, but the ratio of awesome people to absolute dicks (who are dicks just for the joy of it) makes the medium not worth the effort. I met some good people, and I really miss them. But the rest of the people, fuck ’em.

I now have a lot of quality time available. I don’t have to expend so much mental energy constantly defending myself with wit and face-saving antics that I’m too fatigued and demoralized to be productive. Now I feel better about myself. It’s like turning up the squelch control on a noisy receiver; click, and it’s no more noise. It’s amazing. And oddly enough, I don’t feel lonely anymore since I’m now paying attention to the here-and-now. I’ve always felt like I was staring at the horizon on a long, dark, starless night trying to communicate with people just beyond, but now I’m looking at the campfire in front of me and finally connecting with the people who’ve been sitting next to me for so many years.

Case in point: I met a girl. Ok, actually, it’s more complicated than that. We’ve known each other for eight years back when she was in a shitty marriage. Saw each other for the first time in a while at a coffeeshop and decided to chat face-to-face; that evening, my laptop stayed in its bag. We’ve been hanging out quite a bit, nothing serious. Just good times and lots of laughs. Bringing some levity and sanity to things. People need more of that. IRC never gave me any of that.

And now, something that isn’t related to IRC: a month ago I noticed my eyeglasses were starting to break and it was only a matter of time before the whole thing came apart, so I went to the optometrist. Got a wild hare and decided to get contacts; it’d been ’93 since I wore them last, so I wanted to try again. Well, after the first 10 days, my eyes were so dry and irritated I had to stop wearing the contacts. Eyes got seriously bloodshot; looked as if I had pinkeye. Had to start wearing my new glasses.

Well, two nights ago I decided to try the contacts again; my eyes were finally clear, no redness. I put them on before going out for the evening; returned home four hours later and promptly removed them. Eyes were so dry that I scratched them while removing the contacts…I’m so out of practice. Woke up Saturday morning to the brightest red eyes I’d ever seen this side of the movies. They’re still embarrassingly red two days later. That’s all the evidence I need to tell me that I can’t wear contacts, which is a shitty realization considering how much I’d invested in those fuckers. I’m not sure if the contacts themselves are carrying a bacterial load or if their surface is rough from wearing them or if I’m allergic to the cleaning solution or whatever. All I know is that I can’t wear them, and I should probably consult my optodoc before trying anything else. Hmph.

In other news, my job lately is quite stressful. I don’t want to dwell too much on it considering this is Sunday night, the calm before the storm. My workload has been building up on me faster than I can process it, and I feel I’m on the verge of collapse. It’s not worth the 10% pay reduction I got (everybody got a paycut, thanks to the economy…whatever). It’s a job, and it supports the lifestyle to which I have grown accustomed, but the Depression-era rearing I had beaten into me tells me to not knock it because “I could be flipping burgers”. But c’mon. I’m getting new assignments and “side projects” every time I receive an email. And everybody wants their numbers in the early part of this week. Well I’m here to say that shit ain’t happening.

I went in for a few hours today (a Sunday!) to get a head start on the week. Hopefully I got the last part of the data collection for one of the tasks; spent three hours on it in the lab by myself with no distractions. I’ll crunch the numbers tomorrow after I kick off some benchmark runs for another task. Hopefully everything will have been for good. At the least, I got three of my required 40 hours done; everybody (on top of the paycuts) also has time limits if they’re hourly. Yeah, awesome. My checks are shitty; everybody’s is. Probably why my workload’s building up: nobody else has time left to do them. Feh.

Dammit. I’ve dwelt too much. Moving on.

The Ruby On Rails project I’m building for my site is progressing well. I have basic user functionality written and now I’m moving along into file uploads, doing all the groundwork for everything that stacks on top of it. Once I had my user and login admin code mostly finished, I decided — just for fun — to write a test harness to check it (I can’t check everything by clicking in a browser). Wouldn’t you know it, there were holes and flaws and errors and problems aplenty in my code. Who the hell put those there? I am so damned glad I worked up the testcases. Rails has a pretty powerful facility for writing tests. Now, since I’m starting work on the file upload feature, I think I’ll follow this programming methodology (some call it “extreme programming”) by sketching out an idea of what I want to the software to do, composing the tests to check for that functionality, and then writing the project code to make those tests pass. It’s a goal-oriented approach, and thankfully it’s keeping me on track.

And all this because of the free time I have available after I ditched IRC. Can you believe that? I certainly can.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?