My friend Charlie has started a blog. He suggested that I start adding some photos to my own, specifically my avocado project. Unfortunately I have some technical difficulties (not enough usb ports on my laptop) so I cannot upload the photos right now.
More news about my Software Construction Analogy paper: there is another article on kuro5hin.org, this one about software architecture. It refers to my article. I have also participated substantially in the discussion there. I’m hoping that in a few weeks I will be able to publish a more scholarly attack on the software construction analogy. Eventually, I would like to develop the ideas into a full book. How many words are in a standard technical book? Addison Wesley, one of my favorite publishers, has some guidelines for book submissions.
Today was a crumby day. I had a very bad headache that started last night and continued until this evening. It seems to be gone now, but I didn’t make it into work. I have an important deadline coming next week so that was very frustrating. Tomorrow I have a morning meeting with the CIO of the organization I am working with – I hope I feel much better!!!
The last two nights have been very interesting and somewhat intense. On Thursday night, when I arrived home, Melanie was very upset and depressed. We ended up talking for quite a while about happiness. On Friday night, after returning home from the Feast of Baha, we started to do some work on our finances. We discovered that in the 12 months of 2002, we only reduced our current unsecured debt by $5000 or so. This is a far cry from our goal of almost eliminiating it. Not only that, but our current debt has increased since then. We talked for a long time about how I approach our finances very optimistically and how that is very difficult for her. One thing that I understood clearly was that we have very different thresholds of fear regarding our finances. She considers almost any unsecured debt as fearful. I have only been afraid since June of 2001 when I lost a contract. Since then we have been struggling very very hard to get our finances under control. Moving twice has not helped 🙂 In fact, moving this last time, from California to Ontario, cost us personally about CA$25,000!!!! (A big part of that is because we could not get out of our lease in Daly City, but it doesn’t include the cost of movers since those were paid for by the company I have a contract with.)
I had an interesting suprise last night. When I broke the fast, I went to one of those buffets where one loads up and then the meal is weighed. It seems that I put over a kilogram of food in my plate!!! With that, and drinking a half litre of water, my measured weight would instantly jump by 3 or 4 pounds!!! Now, of course, weight does not correlate with number of calories, and in fact some of the food I chose had a very high water content, but still it was a suprise. I shall try tonight to eat less, although I missed breakfast 🙁
Why did I miss breakfast today? Well I forgot to bring my cell phone charger with me to Jersey City this week. Thus, it has run out of batteries and can no longer be used as my alarm clock. I downloaded some trial clock software which will play mp3’s. I set it up, tested it, and then set it for the morning. For some reason it did not go off and I slept in. (It seems that I had accidentally left the alarm “off” even though I had set a time for it.) Arg.
Today (actually yesterday since it is 1:00am) I had a very large day. Melanie and I woke up at 5:30am to do the Baha’i fast together. We made two kinds of maki sushi, one with crab meat and one with canned tuna meat. Both rolls had avocado and cucumber. Then we said some prayers together and I went to the airport. At the airport I met a nice young man in line at customs. He works in the automotive industry as a project manager. My flight was good and then I went to get a rental car. I ended up with an Nissan Xterra. It’s okay, but it feels a little wobbly on bumps. You will see in a few moments why I got a rental (since I ususally don’t). I went to my apartment. This was my first time driving myself and it went very well – I remembered all the right turns etc. that I had only viewed as a passenger in cabs. I went in to work right away (which meant 12:30). Work went very well. It was a productive day and I felt like things went well with my manager and one of the people on the business side of the organization. I left early though. I walked to the grocery store and got my dinner. I also stopped at Business Depot and bought a wireless keyboard and mouse which I am using at this moment (Logitech). I came home, ate blueberry pancakes and felt the worse for it – serves me right! After eating I finally got to my big thing for the day: I took the SUV and went to Ikea!!! At Ikea I purchased a large number of things including a desk, futon sofa/bed, dinner table and chairs, office chair, lamp, side tables, cushions, clothes hangers, cutlery (12 place settings), and some energy efficient light bulbs. Getting it all into the SUV and then up to my apartment was quite a task! So far I have built the desk, the lamp, the office chair and the dinner table. I have also unwrapped the futon mattress and I will sleep on it tonight 🙂 Good-night!
Here’s a site with a good selection of Baha’i Prayers.
It’s the wee hours of the morning and I just got a phone call. Two weeks ago, I found out that today is “President’s Day” in the USA. Unfortunately, I had already booked my tickets to leave from Toronto very early in the morning. I would spend a day in Jersey City without being able to go into work. Ick. Particularly when I could spend that time at home… So the woman on the phone informs me that my flight (in 5 hours) is cancelled due to bad weather, would I please consider taking another flight? I would be delighted to fly tomorrow instead and at 9:30am instead of the unfortunate 7:10am I normally book myself for! So there it is.
I’ve started to work with PovRay and Moray which are a very powerful combination for doing 3D modelling and rendering. Moray has a similar style interface to 3D Studio Max. I intend to use the two to model and render some of my custom home designs. Melanie and I share a strong interest in architecture and home design. Someday we hope to design and build our own custom home. Some of the things we want in our home: radiant floor heating, large lot preferrably with natural woodland on it, raised bungalow plan, hardwood and stone floors, high quality and detail and moderate square footage, built in bookshelves, energy efficient and extremely environmentally friendly… and more! I’m sure I will write more about this subject in the future.
I’m going to try having firesides every Wednesday night at my place in Jersey City. I have to buy furniture first 🙂 Maybe I’ll try Ikea. At the least, I should probably get four chairs and a dinner table. I’d also like a futon bed/couch and a bunch of cushions. A little office furniture would be nice too.
Melanie and I talked this weekend about plans for the 5-year plan. Melanie is going to try to start child friendly devotional gatherings and study circles. I’m going to go to a Ruhi Book One study circle here in Jersey City starting in early March.
This week I’m going to get myself set up so that I have a serious high speed internet connection at home. I will move my servers from Barrie (they are currently with Apexia Voice and Data – excellent people and service, just located inconveniently for me now). I will be getting a 3mbps/640kbps ADSL service from Bell using my current class C IP set. To do this, I need to get a business telephone line, get the ADSL service, cancel my Apexia account, get rid of my current Roger cable (also good but doesn’t allow static IP), and get rid of our residential phone line. All told, doing this will save about $100/month. I’m probably going to have to figure out the transition stuff which could be complicated. I rely on the server for my email so it can’t be down for much more than a day.
I had a great weekend. Christian and I went on Saturday to get a bunch of stuff out of our storage unit in Elmvale. On the way there and back, Chris and I worked on developing an NSpace class in Java. It will allow for data to be organized along an arbitrary (and dynamic) number of dimensions. It will be a sparse data structure so that not all locations in the space must have data. We’ll probably put it up on SourceForge in a week or two. I’ll let you, dear reader, know when that happens 🙂
As for the stuff in storage, we listened to the XXX (US$) (CA$) soundtrack while we were loading the van. Christian acknowledged my superlative skill at packing (due to my extensive experience with moving) :-/ Lots of good exercise lifting those heavy boxes! We also stopped for lunch and did some development work during our meal.
Sunday was packed with Baha’i activities. In the morning we went to Baha’i children’s classes. I watched Haifa in her preschool “class” while Melanie and Justice went to the senior kindergarten class. We met a few people too. We went home then. Melanie’s mom and grandmother stopped by for tea. Melanie was a bit upset about the condition of the house, what with a bunch of boxes and pieces of furniture all over the place from our storage run. We tidied up a bit and things were presentable. Then in the afternoon we went to the Markham Unit Convention. It was very well run, but not as nice as the unit convention in the SF Bay area last October. I asked a question about the process of reflection on the Ruhi training materials and the methods of facilitation to emphasize the need for putting the training into action. I also privately talked with the delegate about the fact that the world is awash in the excesses of materialism, and that future unit conventions might be better should they include the arts to a substantial degree.
After the unit convention we went on a bit of a drive and looked at some mansions
that are near where we live. The rest of the evening was mostly me getting ready
for being back in Jersey City.
Now here’s a neat backup system: HD Rosetta. On a similar topic, I would love to build a cheap backup server using an old full-height tower case, a P133 (or thereabouts), software RAID 5 and a bunch of inexpensive disks. I think I could probably put something together for about US$800 that would last several years. Most of that price would be for the disks. I would probably go for 80 or 100 GB disks and put 6 of them in a machine (giving 400 to 500 GB of
I’ve been reading a great series of books called the “Liveship Traders” by Robin Hobb (also known as Megan Lindholm). “Ship of Magic” is the first title in the three book series. I highly recommend it to everyone. It’s a hefty series. The characters are believable and heroic at the same time, and the action is continuous. They are not the typical quest-style of fantasy that I have grown very tired of. Rather, they are more like hundreds of small stories seamlessly woven together into an epic adventure that explores the limits of both the characters and the fantasy world itself. Robin Hobb is catching up quickly to Orson Scott Card as my favorite author.
Jersey City in my area (Newport) is barren of good places to eat. The Japanese and Indian restaurants are way over-priced for their quality. But there is an interesting grocery store called International Foodmart (mentioned in the link). I lost about 8 pounds when I was sick a couple weeks ago. I have gained back one or two of those, but I am trying to moderate my eating and increase my exercise. I want to get to 180 pounds by Jan. 19th, my 31st birthday. I started my six-month-old weight loss attempt at about 210 pounds. I am now at about 195. Losing another 15 pounds in a month, particularly the Christmas/new years season is going to be tough! I’ve become very moderate in my breakfasts, and usually very moderate in my suppers, but I’m still having trouble with lunches. There’s a food court nearby my Jersey City apartment that has a Panda Express – I love orange chicken way too much 🙂 Well, tonight I’m going to go to the gym and do some running so I’ll burn a few Calories there, but I need to do more, more regularly to get my metabolism going faster. Let me know if you have any good tips…
One last thing. I write this using Macromedia‘s Dreamweaver MX. I’ve tried lots of html/website tools and this is the nicest by far. I even bought myself a copy 🙂