It was bound to happen sooner or later. The application server for the project that I'm working on was down for some changes for a few minutes, so I decided to grab some lemonade and go relax on the porch for a bit. It's pretty warm out today, 95 degrees or so, but there's a nice breeze, so it doesn't feel too bad. A moment or two later, I realized why - no pants. Boxers plus plus. I casually strolled back inside, and went back to work. Good thing we got that bamboo in earlier this year.
Also, this is why I no longer have a webcam.
Hey, I got a stack of books from O'Reilly today, including Flash Hacks, which has my name in the acknowledgments section. Woo! Dave hooked me up with a guy who manages some of the tech review over there, so I did some of that, and got paid in free books! Woo!
Between short bursts of paying work, I've been playing Doom 3 a little bit. It's not bad - it looks nice, but the gameplay is about what everyone expected, which is just Doom, with better graphics. They've only got one good trick, but it's a pretty good trick. It's fun, but I really look forward to other people making better games with the engine. Also, for all you nerds complaining about how you can't use your flashlight and weapon at the same time: you are all tremendous wussies. I gotcher Hello Kitty duct tape mod right here, dorks.
There's a new(-ish, in the last six months or so) coffee shop around the corner here, Swerve, that has pretty much broken us from using the coffee maker here. The folks that own/operate it are very cool, so we're there pretty much every day for the fix. Anyway, every once in a while we grab a snack there as well - today, they had cinnamon chip muffins. I'd never seen such a thing. And holy moly, they are the tasty.
That is all.
So, lack of focus, can't concentrate on anything, not really motivated, irregular sleep schedule, etc. - it's been like this for several months now, and it's kind of interfering with getting shit done. I went to the doctor today for a checkup, with a laundry list (have you ever seen an actual list of laundry?) of random symptoms that I've been keeping track of since last time. My current doctor isn't so much a physician as a med-bot. I go there, give her a data dump, she clicks and pecks and pulls down menus, inputting it into her tablet PC, looks at the readout, and comes back with a couple bottles or blister packs of whatever pills are being pushed these days. I guess that's fine if you're just interested in scoring drugs - I'd wager that I could get a prescription for birth control pills if I ticked off the right triggers - but for general health and such, it makes me feel pretty uneasy. But, she's right around the corner, so it's a quick walk over there, and I'm too lazy to get out the big book, get a good reference, and track down another reasonable doctor. Anyway. The diagnosis today was: depression. whut? Ding, chunk, rattle, out comes a couple of small sample bottles of Wellbutrin, and a prescription for more. I'm not super crazy about starting a regular regime of pills to make my broken brain run a little more smoothly, but I guess it'd be stupid not to give them a shot. I'd really prefer to get some kind of, you know, diagnosis for whatever's going on, maybe try to track down the source of the problem with my concentration or whatever, instead of just throwing chemicals at it. That said, I've actually been taking St. John's for a couple of weeks, just on the off chance it'd sharpen my brain up a little, but it looks like I'm not supposed to do both. Anyway. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll get motivated enough to get off my ass and find a real doctor. Ha!
Oh, right, I forgot the part that actually prompted this post. They're using these cool little disposable strip thermometers now, like the ones that people stick onto fish tanks. Very cool. I stole one to play with at home. New toy!
Well, Bernie and I made it out to the Salt Lick with Jay, Icky and Emily, Punk and Christine and Malia. We ate way too much turkey and brisket and ribs and sausage and beans and potato salad and cobbler and pie and ice cream, as usual, and there was crippling afterwards. I think good food is wasted on Jay, though - he hardly ate anything, and then started raving about some pork and beans or something he had in New Mexico. He's so uninvited to Texas.
The night previous, we stopped in to wish our friend Kyra a happy birthday, seven months belated due to a little bit of surgery, which turned out fine, and she is glowing and perfect once again. Her new apartment has not one, but two porches for sitting and drinking and shooting the shit, so we sat, drank some, and she shit was shot. It was good to hang out with that gang again - a distinctly different flavor of vibe from the noisier kids from San Francisco. I need to make a point to get out that way more often, mix it up a bit.
Right, so, the reason I mention this is because my friend David Moses was talking about Motherless Brooklyn, which has been sitting unread on my shelf for about a year and a half now. So, came home after the Salt Lick today, did a little work, then pulled out the book, and ran down the first couple of pages to get a feel for it. Six hours later... between the meatgut and the fantastic writing, still not going anywhere. So yeah, good stuff. DMF, with the ruling. Bastard. Now I have to track down those other books from this guy that I've been putting off, and get down to it. It's really remarkable how little reading time I find, considering my, mmm, flexible schedule. Mmmm, lassitude.
We're having another one of those Texas king-god-hell thunderstorms this evening. The bulk of it is a bit north of here, so we're getting an awesome light show, but no rain or other weather-type effects. It sounds like they're getting pretty knocked around up there - wind gusting up to 70mph, hail the size of silver dollars, and warnings to stay indoors because of the frequency of cloud-to-ground strikes.
It's nights like this that make me not feel too bad about missing fireworks on various patriotic holidays and such. We get random super badass light shows for free!
This is not the way to make friends with me when I'm trying to get my favorite brand of sake at your obnoxious north austin sushi restaurant:
<waitress> Would you like a beer, too?
<me> What kind of sake do you have here?
<waitress> Oh, we have large, and small.
<me> Uh... okay.... wait, before you inexplicably disappear again... wait! Large!
Bonus points if you: 1) totally skip over me when taking food orders because you think the little guy at the end of the table can't possibly eat all the sushi he just ordered, 2) totally skip over me when taking drink orders, because someone else said they wanted beer, and you figured that we all did, 3) bring someone else a full drink menu when they ask you the complicated sake question. Fortunately, everything got straightened out, even if the person who made your menu can't spell. And hey, that was pretty tasty food - I'm just glad I'm not Jay.
I've been using this exercise ball thinger as a desk chair for a while now. It's pretty good - I shift around a lot on it, so I'm doing these mini-movements all the time that actually seem make things easier on my back, more than most of the other fancy-schmancy chairs I've tried. Anyway, I got a new laptop a month or two ago, and decided to try working on the living room table for a while, instead of the door-desk in the office. It's by the front window, so I get to watch the critters, plus the change of scenery and extra light seem to have a positive impact on the old productivity, so that's working out pretty well so far.
Anyway, we've got hardwood floors out there in the living room. Now, when you sit on the ball, you need to use your feet to keep you steady - which is no problem if you've got bare feet, like I do most of the time around the house - or if you're wearing shoes, which I generally have on when I venture outdoors. It's the whole foot-sock-shoe-transition thing that screws me up, though. Under most normal circumstances, you put both socks on, then both shoes on - but if you try to do this on a slidy floor while sitting on an unstable ball-chair, you get nowhere. When you go to put that second sock on, you put your other slippy sock foot on the floor, then with the sliding, and the rolling, and away you go.
The way to make this work, of course, is to put both the sock and the shoe on one foot, then the sock and shoe on the other, so you always have traction on a grounded foot. The solution is not immediately obvious, because it's a little weird (for me, anyway) to have one fully shod foot and one fully bare, but I guess that's the way it's gotta work. Maybe I'm just weird for feeling weird about this, but hey.
I'm sure there's some sort of lesson in there that I can apply to other aspects of my life, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is.
So, we spent the weekend in Houston with Dave and Mel, checking out the Diane Arbus exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts down there. My main motivation was actually to go to one of the only Ethiopian restaurants within a thousand miles or something (the Blue Nile, which kicked all kinds of ass), but the museum was pretty neat, too - I've seen most of her photos online and in books, but it was good to see them up close and in person. Arbus is an awesome photographer, but she's definitely got a schtick, and for me, seeing the fiftieth photo of a circus freak or a nudist or a retard in a halloween mask or some random creepy person isn't as interesting as reading through the notebooks of hers that they had on display and the like. Bernie and I also broke loose for an hour or so and did a quick run-through of the "Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America" exhibit over in the next building. I think I enjoyed that even more - the range of styles was impressive, and there were some pieces that really knocked your head around, sculptures that you really had to be there to see in person. We picked up their four hundred pound official book for the exhibit, so maybe I can track down some of these dudes and give them a more in-depth checkout.
The rest of Houston is pretty much what you'd expect - a sprawling urban suck-pit, sort of like LA, only without most of the cool stuff that makes LA just barely tolerable. There does seem to be a bit more diversity in neighborhoods and restaurants and so on, due to the huge population crammed into this paved-over wasteland, and I'm sure there are some gems tucked away here and there, but I'm really going to do my best to continue avoiding it for a while. Actually, I should swoop back down sometime to check out the other museums down there, especially the Museum of Natural History, but I don't want to make a habit of it, even though the drive down there isn't really too bad at all. Speaking of, Houston is also home to the absolute worst driving that I've ever seen - worse than Boston, and that's, you know, bad.
In other news, I deactivated my City of Heroes account today. I haven't really played in a month or two, and I don't think I'm going to be investing any more time in grinding away at the upper levels of things, so, goodbye monthly fee. I'm sure I can scrape up another game somewhere to occupy myself in the downtime.
Did I mention that I found some work? Yeah, I got a short contract with these guys doing some work that will actually exist in the real world, and not totally disappear when some marketing schmuck feels like he needs to justify his position again. The guys I'm working with are pretty rockin', too, which is a great change from the recent string of sometimes non-stellar (and sometimes non-paying) clients I've been humping for. Anyway, ruling, and right here, so hopefully they won't decide that I suck, and maybe hook up something again in the future. But hey, working good, getting paid good. Woo!
Just in case you have been decieved by slick trailers and misleading publicity stunts into thinking that M. Night Spookyman's new movie, "The Village" is not the worst movie of 2004, and are planning to see it, let me offer you a word of advice: don't. Not only is it a poorly scripted snoozer with more holes than a rusted bucket, but the super seekrit surprise twist ending was something that I had just assumed was the premise all along. For this, and that festival of cockery that was Signs, Mr. Spookypants, you are off my christmas card list.