Month: November 2009

Unpleasant dream

I didn’t sleep well last night. I think I was too busy worrying about my Thanksgiving leftover supply. It’s running low.

So, it’s been about twelve hours since I woke up, so I’ve forgotten a lot of details, but here’s the gist of the dream I had last night.

For whatever reason, there’s a group of children (6-10 years old) that are basically having a war. Camouflage, facepaint, automatic weapons (yes, real ones). A small group (four or five) have found some sort of natural cavern up high. It has a fairly large but not very rapid stream running through it, and a large opening (through the side, not through the floor) lets the water flow out.

These four or five kids have a leader, who is small and young even for their age group. He’s decided that war and killing is bad, and that they shouldn’t do it any more, and he has convinced his three or four followers that this is the right idea. So they’re up in their little hideout, peacefully not shooting each other, when another kid finds his way in. He’s still armed and aggressive, but after much tension, somehow they win this new kid over, too. He starts to warn them that he was a scout, and more armed kids are coming soon and that they should run.

Unfortunately, he didn’t convince them fast enough, and the other kids come in and start shooting. They kill all the peaceable kids (except the new one), and somehow among the confusion and with the new convert shooting at them, all the warlike kids get killed, too. That leaves the newly converted anti-war kid alone, surrounded with his dead new friends and his dead old friends (some of whom he had personally shot), filled with guilt and horror. He puts his gun under his chin and pulls the trigger, but he’s too small to get it in a straight line, and it goes through his jaw without killing him. He crawls to the opening where the water flows out and is getting ready to jump, and then I woke up.

So yeah. That wasn’t a very pleasant dream. What the hell did I eat?

Posted by snaotheus in Dreams, 4 comments

Thanksgiving

On the menu this year:

Tomas the turkey (cooked in an electric roaster instead of the oven! saved room for baking! Tomas weighed 24 lbs)
Gravy
Stuffing
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes (regular)
Kidney Bean Salad
Cranberry Salad (courtesy of Mom)
Cranberry Sauce
Yeast Rolls (hand made by KrisDi)
Honey Cinnamon Butter (courtesy P-Dubs)
Deviled Eggs

And for dessert…
Pumpkin Cheesecake (delicious)
Five Layer Bars
Poppy Seed Cake (courtesy P-Dubs)
Some crazy chocolate chip cookies
Ice cream
Apple pie

KrisDi’s brothers and Pixel Chick came in. KrisDi’s parents and grandma flew in. Mom drove down and picked up a friend of hers. As far as I know, a good time was had by all. The food was delicious. The electric roaster experiment was a success — turkey was tender and juicy and cooked completely quicker than we expected. Very cool.

And then I got D to do tequila shots with me.

Pictures.

Posted by snaotheus, 3 comments

Whaa?

Man, what is there to say? I’m a boring (and extremely nerdy) person.

I wrote a program that does a fairly sophisticated file search, and then (if you so choose) will replace part of the file name with something else. I wrote it because I wanted something that did that, and I wrote it in C# because I figured that was a good way to learn a little about C#. I got the Phoenix to review it (he’s actually a knowledgeable programmer), and he told me I did OK. So that’s cool.

I started writing a program that plots (and rotates) stuff in 3-space, but haven’t gotten back to it in a week or two. I felt pretty fucking smart when I was rotating a bunch of points around an axis. Even KrisDi said it was “pretty neat”, but I think she was humoring me. The point of this project was to continue learning C#, and to learn a little vector math. Which I’m doing, so great.

I also started helping my older brother with his C++ homework (which is interesting, because I don’t know C++ or any other language very well, even though I know more programming concepts than most beginner programmers). So, I’m learning a tiny bit of C++ as well. Why? I don’t know. Just because. It’s interesting.

I got a compliment at work today, which made me realize how desperate I was for compliments at work that weren’t from my boss: “…you did a kick-ass job on these requirements. Seriously, it’s very good stuff. We/I have not given you and the requirements team the praise you deserve for a (an ongoing) job well done. Thank you.” My boss sees the effort that goes into the front end of my work; most other people I work with only see the results, and have to deal with mistakes I make and try to figure out what the hell I was doing, and are often (understandably) frustrate, confused, and sometimes upset. So it’s really (surprisingly) awesome to hear stuff like that. And by the way, my primary job at work is to write requirements.

The expanded in-laws are here right now: Grandma came (apparently this is the first time she’s flown in 20 years) for Thanksgiving. KrisDi is of course doin’ it up, and my mouth is watering just thinking about tomorrow…

Speaking of KrisDi’s cooking, I really need to upload pictures. She made gyoza (potstickers) and pho recently, which are pretty cool. I like to tell people it was Polish pho, because then no one (including the Polish and the Vietnamese) know what I’m talking about.

Other than that? Oh! I have high blood pressure! 145 over 95 or something! So I decided to stop drinking coffee for about a week and see if that affected anything. The horrifying headaches abated after about four days. I got 141/78 or something like that after a week without coffee. I had a cup of coffee on Monday (after 10 days without coffee), and was shocked at how much it affected me…I was jittery and sweaty. After one cup! Before this little experiment, I was easily going through a pot a day. Now I’m a little afraid to start drinking coffee again, so I haven’t had a cup since Monday.

What else? I did 1000 push-ups last week. My back doesn’t hurt nearly as much anymore, now that I’m doing something to strengthen it, but my elbows and my shoulder are giving me random (and incredibly powerful) pains doing every day things like closing doors and zipping my fly (not simultaneously). So I’m not sure whether the results are positive or not.

Posted by snaotheus, 1 comment

Design

:begin blathering:
A perfectly designed system will not fail in any way.

A well designed system might adapt to sub-system failures to avoid terminal failure, continuing to function at a reduced effectiveness. Perhaps a well designed system will recover completely from sub-system failures. Perhaps a well designed system will tolerate complete failure of one or more sub-systems with little or no significant loss of effectiveness.

An extremely well designed system will recognize impending, probable, or possible failures and take steps to prevent them.

Then you have to think about where to draw the line — where’s the beginning and the end of the system? My computer works fine right now (the box and all attached accessories and peripherals), but if power goes out, it’s no longer functional. Generally, it’ll return to complete functionality as soon as power is available again. It relies on an external energy source, and its only defense is dormancy until power returns. Which is actually pretty good — it can survive without input power for years, and turn back on, quite possibly as good as new, when it’s back.

If a minor component fails, it’ll be OK. Sound card, DVD drive, maybe even one or more fans go out, and it’ll keep plugging along. It’s not useless. But functionality is reduced. And it sure as hell isn’t growing back a component to return to complete functionality. It relies on external maintenance to recover from failures. I have to figure out what’s wrong, and replace the failed part.

Come to think of it, there are steps I can take to restore power — I can call the power company, or I could use a UPS, or I could get a generator, or I could use an inverter in my car. But again, that’s external failure recovery.

A major component fails, and the computer is out of commission. There is no computing without a power supply or a processor or a motherboard. But again, with external support, the system can be restored to full functionality.

Now comes the philosophically interesting part: the system’s functionality itself is impetus enough to provide external support. My PC is not a perfectly designed system. It will fail. With my support, it can recover from pretty much any minor failure and most major failures, but without my support (or someone else’s), this is not happening. It ensures that I will support it because I know that when it’s functional, it gives me something I want.

And that functionality is part of the system’s design. The computer was designed to provide the things that it provides, because people want those things and will repair them when they break, and ensure they have power. Or replace them. But that’s another story.

That’s all. That’s what I was thinking about on my drive home from work today.
:end blathering:

Posted by snaotheus, 7 comments