journal for 2002-08-06

updating the journal

I’ve really been slacking off when it comes to making entries here, in part because I was working on the static part of my pages, but mostly because I am lazy. I’ll try to pick a day of the week (or two) on which I will demand that I write at least a line or two of content. I must rely on the excellent fortune cookie message that I carry in my wallet:

	Use recurring patterns to design your life.

Excellent advice for someone absent-minded and programmatic like me.

the in-laws

The in-laws have left the state. We saw them again twice. First, on the 29th, we drove to New Jersey to visit a friend of Gloria’s mother. The Mother-In-Law breeds and shows dogs, and this was a dog-breeding friend. Although she’s a nice, normal person (and was at out wedding), her house had Dog Smell and, worse, Cat Dander. By the time we left, I was itching all over; cats really make my neck itch, which is pretty annoying. The stranger thing was the pizza. We were all going to have dinner together, and MIL didn’t want her friend to have to fret, so we supplied it. We picked up a pizza and a stromboli in Bethlehem, then took it to Jersey. Needless to say, it was cold. Fortunately for me, I like cold pizza.

We saw them again on Friday, when all the in-laws, including my sister-in-law, her sons, and their father, went to Hershey Park. Also there was a friend of their family and his daughter. I rode (with them) in the “Canyon River Rapids” which is a really short raft ride with a really long line. The ride was pretty decent, but only lasted about a few minutes, after an hour in line. That was enough excitement for me, and I relaxed and loafed around while Gloria did her best to ride the rest of the rides. She was hampered by the wandering-without-riding-stuff tendencies of the rest of the gang, but managed to ride a few coasters while MIL, SIL, and SIL’s boyfriend watched my nephews ride miniature thrill rides. After an hour or two of this, the in-laws took off so that the kids could have some time to see the chocolate factory, eat, and get home to bed. This was Gloria’s big break to ride some rides in rapid succession… and then it started to storm!

We’d been aware that it might rain—we were just about the only people in the park with umbrellas—but it barely drizzled while we were there. Unfortunately, there was lightning in the distance, and that was enough to shut down the rides. We took off, bummed. At least we found some mild consolation in the candy shop: white chocolate and dark chocolate Kit Kats. They were really good.

On the way home, the weather got worse and worse, and by the time we were back in the Valley, there were gigantic, fiery orange bolts of lightning criss-crossing the sky. It looked like God was at war with Bethlehem. At Fogelsville, we pulled into Cracker Barrel for some late dinner. They warned us that things were backed up, because they’d been without power, but everything was served quickly. The food, which I’m sure took a few days off my life, was great. They even had Stewart’s grape soda, so I took some home with me. (I’d never been to a Cracker Barrel before, and Gloria had told me many times about their tasty food; she was, indeed, right on.)

When we got home, it looked like God had actually been at war with someplace else. Maybe Hanover. Nothing was on fire, split in twain, or turned into salt. It was a letdown. The only good thing was the raining out of Musikfest.


When we got bagels with the in-laws last week, MIL told the owner of the bagel place that they were from New Orleans. He squinted his eyes, shook his fists at his sides, and clenched his teeth. “OOOOOH!” he said, “They have the best gumbo soup there!” He looked like a cartoon villain, foiled again.

Imagine me making the same face when I say, “OOOOH! I hate Musikfest!”

Musikfest is this annual festival downtown. They set up tents for musicians and booths for vendors. When I was a kid, and Musikfest started, it was a neat thing. Lots of people from Bethlehem went there, food and drinks were pretty cheap, and there was lots of good, free music. Sitting along the Monocacy Creek and listening to music and eating fried shrimp is A Good Thing.

Now, there’s something like a million people that come to Musikfest (c.f., Bethlehem’s population is like seventy-five thousand.) They come from Far Away, and think nothing of driving the wrong way on one-way streets, parking in front of hydrants, and throwing their trash in the roses.

Yeah, that’s right. I hate outsiders.

They even made the ice cream stink. We went to the Hedgehog. We ordered “tiny” size scoops, which are usually pretty decent-sized; when Gloria was handed about two tablespoons worth of sorbet, I changed my order to a small. My ice cream, mint chocolate chip, tasted like it was made with sand and potato flakes. I threw it out and got Ben and Jerry’s—something I have not done in a year or two.

I will not drone on and on about the many ways in which the Fest sucks. It just sucks. There is often really good music there, but I will probably never hear any of it. I refuse to get near the throbbing pustulent sore that is Musikfest.

Instead, I will wait for Celtic Classic, where I will buy a utilikilt or two. I will escape the Tyrrany of Pants! (Note: at home, I am free of this tyrrany already; only work has yet to be liberated.)


So, anyway, as I’d said, I had been doing some work on my pages. I wrote a little (but time-consuming!) script to convert my Mozilla bookmarks into a new links page. I don’t know why it took so long! I wrote its first prototype in about ten or fifteen minutes, and promptly overwrote it with a careless mv command. Then I rewrote it, in about five or ten minutes. This was all well and good; the prototype was almost identical to the current product, but put everything in one big file.

When I tried to create a second version, so that I could split the links up, I had a hell of a time. My brain just felt broken—possibly signalling that I was correct in my assessment of how Applied Cryptography would affect me. I couldn’t think straight. This also might be related to my recent rereading of sections of Advanced Perl Programming, which had me convinced that I should be passing typeglob references around between recursive function instances. Who can say?

My brain still wasn’t recovered yesterday, and it was hard to get any work done. Today, things started coming back together. I ported our auction system from PHP to Perl. The fact that I can do this in less than one shift should indicate how simple it is, but it was still coding. I made some fixes, and then got back to documenting old systems. The future of my Big Manufacturing System looks better than it had, and I might try to start work on it soon.


The year is 60% over, and I have used 40% of my vacation time. This is a mild imbalance, but I may try to resolve it before it gets too out of whack. If my brain continues to malfunction, I might take a day off and just stare at the sky or listen to a book on tape. It’d be good to go biking, too; the last real cycling I did was so long ago that I can’t remember where I went or when it was. I might’ve even been in June, which would just be pathetic.

If the ol’ brain holds together, I might try to wait for Mario and Monkey Ball 2 to come out. Taking a day or two just to goof off with The Italian Plumber and His Primate Army might be a good relaxer.

In the meantime, I am going to stick to getting plenty of (too much?) bed rest.

Written on August 6, 2002