Monthly Archives: January 2003

Archive Journal Entry 20030130

Most people have seen the ads for Apple’s switch campaign. Where here’s one for Canada.

I’ve also found some really fabulous Java style guides: “A Programming Style Guide for Java” by Paul Haahr and “Java Programming Style Guidelines” by Geotechnical Software Services. Here’s a good web usability guide.

Here’s a little guide to my name. Depending on if you ask my father or my mother, my first name comes from a different place. Mishkin – as a Farsi (Persian) word, it means “Jet Black” or “Musk Scented”. My first name comes from Mishkin Qalam a 19th century calligrapher who became a follower of Baha’u’llah. My father dreamed that I should be named after Mishkin Qalam while he was on pilgrimage at the Baha’i World Center. Mishkin also refers to “Prince Mishkin” in “The Idiot” by Dostoyevsky. My mother loves the book and the character. Ben-Garry can be thought of two ways as well: “ben” is like “ibn” or “son-of” so that I am the son of Garry, or, “Ben” is the name of my dad’s dad so that “Ben-Garry” describes my lineage. Vyordan is the name of one of my ancestors on my mom’s side, but I don’t remember who exactly. Berteig is Norwegian and means “bear-mother”.

I have always loved my name. I like that it is long. I like that it has meaning but isn’t pretentious. I like that it ties me to my family. I like that it has a bit of a story to it.

Archive Journal Entry 20030129

I’ve updated my list of important resources for software development. It now includes the new Martin Fowler book (“Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture”), and a link to an XML tutorial.

I have a 3-megapixel Olympus Camedia C-3020 digital camera. I also have an old Artec scanner. Guess which one is better for scanning photos? In macro mode, my 2000-ish pixels of horizontal resolution divided by 5 inches = 400 dpi. The focus is better (since the scanner’s quality sucks), and because of that the effective resolution of my camera is better than my scanner. Anybody want a used scanner? In reality because of the wierd sampling that is done with digital cameras, the resolution is more like 133 dpi, but the interpolation software is pretty sophisticated.

Archive Journal Entry 20030127

It’s been far too long since last I updated this journal…

Today is my first day working from home in quite some time. It has been good in some ways, hard in others. Melanie and the kids have really left me alone, and so I have gotten quite a bit done… but I’ve had lots of administrivia kinds of things to do so I don’t feel very productive. Tomorrow should be all good 🙂

I had a birthday party. It was very nice. Chris, Jeanne, Kristine, Celine and Alexei came. I was very happy that it was small. We had a great meal of home-made hamburgers (paprika, steak spice and soy sauce). After dinner, I opened a few presents. Melanie got me a very nice small prayer book called “Prayers of Ecstasy” which has recently been published by Palabra. I didn’t take many photos. This party was very small compared to my 30th birthday party last year.

Last year I wanted to have a special party for my 3rd decade of life. I told people to not bring me presents. Instead, I asked people to come to “A Celebration of Significance”:

to which you will bring a gift of wisdom, beauty or philosophy to share with everyone. Consider music, poetry, quotations from spiritual, philosophical or fictional works, even something you have created yourself – anything you consider significant in your life.

We had the party at our place in Elmvale. Unfortunately I did not yet have the digital camera, but we did take photos and video. Someday 🙂 I will digitize some of them and put them up here.

Everyone came through with some really interesting “gifts” to share. My friend Ying wrote a Chinese proverb and explained it to us, I shared a song I really liked at the time, some people shared stories, recipes, and other things. All-in-all it was a very beautiful experience. Thanks!

Archive Journal Entry 20030115

I’ve been reading “Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah” lately. On Monday night I came across this quote:

CXXIII. The generations that have gone on before you–whither are they fled? And those round whom in life circled the fairest and the loveliest of the land, where now are they? Profit by their example, O people, and be not of them that are gone astray.
Others ere long will lay hands on what ye possess, and enter into your habitations. Incline your ears to My words, and be not numbered among the foolish.
For every one of you his paramount duty is to choose for himself that on which no other may infringe and none may usurp from him. Such a thing–and to this the Almighty is My witness–is the love of God, could ye but perceive it.
Build ye for yourselves such houses as the rain and floods can never destroy, which shall protect you from the changes and chances of this life. This is the instruction of Him Whom the world hath wronged and forsaken.

I like this a lot because Melanie and I have been talking about our “dream home” and where to live. We are concerned about stability and being close to family. But although those things are important to a degree, they are also impossible to guarantee.

Today was a great day at work. I accomplished a lot including some review of c++, working on automated test plans and test cases, and some architectural work for the project I am on right now. Tomorrow (actually today since it is 12:30am), I have meetings all day. Should be interesting.

Archive Journal Entry 20030109 (next evening)

I had a great day at work today. Nothing amazing all by itself, but I felt like I contributed and helped. Nevertheless, I’m darn lonely. I went to see “Catch Me If You Can” tonight with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks (who doesn’t seem to have an official web site). Anyway, “Catch Me If You Can” is a very interesting story about a young man who impersonates a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and is based on a true story. The movie is very well paced: the writing is great, the directing, the acting… all in all a fabulous time. I cried at the end 🙂 I’m a real sucker for happy endings. Anyway, it got me thinking about my life. Sometimes I feel like I am playing at life, and sometimes I feel like I am really in it. Tonight it is like I woke up. I’ve been playing for a while and I want to start living. All my life I’ve felt like my family is destined for greatness. What can I do to contribute? What can I do to make a difference in the world? My children, my job, my faith, my love… these are where I can start. I have them now.

Archive Journal Entry 20030109

I bought 5 CD’s in the last few days. On Monday evening I bought “Sandstorm” by Darude (CD single) at “The Wiz” which is a consumer electronics place near my Jersey City apartment. I also ordered 4 more online from Tower Records, all CD singles: “Whenever, Wherever” by Shakira, “Omnibus” by Laut Sprecher, “Addicted to Bass” by Puretone, and “The Sound of Goodby” by Perpetuous Dreamer. These all have dance/techno/trance versions which I originally heard on FM93.7 in San Francisco. It’s possible to find mp3’s of most of these using Kazaa.

I bought and have started reading “Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture” by Martin Fowler et. al. – so far it is excellent. It is intelligently written. This is in stark contrast to “Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming” which is written so poorly I can barely stand it. The author, Jeffrey Richter does not seem to have had a very good editor because the persistent tone of the book is incredibly, insultingly condescending. Uck.

I’m seriously considering buying an Alesis RA150 amplifier for my home stereo system. As far as I can tell, it would work with my CD player. But the really great thing about it is its absolutely incredible sound quality! I’m also thinking about selling my Technics electronic piano and getting an Alesis QS8.2synthesizer. Both are weighted 88-key systems, but the sound possibilities with the Alesis are lightyears beyond the Technics… and its cheaper!

About 45 minutes ago I just finished watching my new Star Wars II – Attack of the Clones DVD that my cousin Celine got me. When it came out in the theatres, Melanie and I went to see it in San Francisco. I think our ex-landlord, Kip, babysat for us. Speaking, of DVD’s, they are incredibly cheap in Canada… no more buying DVD’s in the US for us.

Alexei Berteig, my dear Broteig, is going to be going to some big film festival in L.A. (and N.Y.) where his documentary “The Perfect Divorce” is going to be shown. The documentary is about our parent’s divorce and how it affected him. Lots of people have seen it since it has been aired 3 times nationally (Canada) on Global television. “The Perfect Divorce” was produced by WestWind Pictures. I really hope it wins some awards and he makes some good contacts there. Here is a short interview with Alexei about the documentary. Alexei is also working on a film called Identity.