journal for 2004-01-14

showers in exile

It’s been raining a lot. That’s not surprising, since I’m in Wales. Those aren’t the showers I was thinking of, though. This morning, the water in my shower turned ice cold; true to some well-known law of nature, this occured just after I got soapy. I decided that it was better to be cold than to go all day with soap dried onto me, and get cold I did. I had water temperature problems yesterday, too, but not so severe. Instead, the problem then was that the housekeeping staff had taken away my old soap and shampoo and not replaced it. I had to take two showers (since I went to the gym twice) without the benefit of shampoo or shower soap.

I’m hoping that tomorrow I’ll manage to have soap and hot water.

food in exile

I’m not sure how my food intake over here compares, calorie-wise, to what I eat in the states. Generally I’m eating a big lunch and breakfast and no dinner, and I think I may be eating a bit more, here. On some days, I feel like I’m eating well. On others, I feel like I’m eating too much. Yesterday, despite not eating as much as some other days, I felt like I had too much. I had a normal breakfast—beans, sausage, eggs, and toast. For lunch, I had a piece of fried chicken, a roll, and some chips. The chips were Walkers; Walkers makes some weird flavors of potato chips, and these were Slow-Roasted Lamb and Mint. Wuh!

Later, I had a really tasty almond croissant.

At the end of the day, my gut felt like it had been mildly abused. On Monday, I ate a huge burger and fries, and felt much better toward the end of the day. Of course, I also got to the gym twice on Monday. I guess I should’ve gone today, but, well, I didn’t feel like it.

perl in exile

I’ve been here at the Cardiff office for about six work days, now, and I think we’ve spent about eight work hours on the agenda items. Six of those have been devoted to agreeing on standards, like “we should do source code control,” and two have been in reviewing specific project roadmaps. It’s not as much as I wanted to do, but that’s life.

A lot of my time has been spent on doing the things I’d be doing were I in the States. That’s not so bad, I suppose, but it’s a PITA to do a lot of the things here that I usually do there.

Some fraction of my time, though, has been spent in teaching Perl to the two developers here. Some of that has been, basically, through lecture. I stand up and talk about scope and packages for a while and try to make sure that it’s all clear and natural-seeming. Some of that has been me looking over their shoulders while they work and helping them troubleshoot bugs. I’ve found the whole thing quite enjoyable, and it makes me hunger more for doing some regular teaching of Perl. I just need to find interested students!

I’ve gotten enough people with not-negative responses to the idea of, some of them even prospective learners, that I’ve finally filed the request to get it formed. I need to find a place to meet and organize Meeting #0. I am optimistic. mdxi indicated that a 4-5 person meeting was good, so even that amount of turnout should be good here, too, I hope. Really, I think a larger turnout is possible.

I got my first bug against one of my distributions on the CPAN, and this made me happy, since it gave me something I could feel compelled to do. I rewrote some of the guts of Games::Goban to get away from the hash that had been storing the board and move to a array. I realize that it may be slightly less efficient, but it just makes my life easier, especially now that the question of whether to skip ‘i’ in coordinants comes up. It also reminds me that I should get Games::Board finished, then Games::Board::Grid, and then port Goban to that. G::G::Image should also get worked on, especially now that the new Goban internals are more like those for which the diagrammer was first written.

I’m just a little embarassed to admit that I don’t understand fully all the code in Games::Goban that Simon wrote. Really, only the hash method confuses me. I know what it’s doing, but not how it’s supposed to work. Either it’s flawed, or I am. Once I bother writing something that uses it, I’ll make the answer known. I also mean to write something that uses the callback functionality, to see whether I like how it works. Presumably that’ll be one of my next TODO items, along with writing something to remove captured stones.

Also, being able to pass a move would be really good.

st fagans (in exile)

On Saturday, Godfrey took me over to St. Fagans, where there’s a “Museum of Welsh Life.” Basically it’s a medieval Welsh village, partly build of relocated buildings, partly build by reconstruction. It was actually quite enjoyable, and I got a number of good photos. (Many, though, are grainy. I need to learn more about my camera’s settings.) We also had some excellent scones and fudge.

Godfrey had never heard of adobe (bricks), which was weird but reasonable. I’m always pleased to find little things that are totally alien to the Brits and totally familiar to me—and the reverse. Rahm and I discussed the use of maple syrup for a while, the other day. I’ve been wondering whether people here tend to walk on the left side of hallways the same way I tend to walk on the right. These little things amuse me, and I like wasting brainpower thinking about them.

After the museum, we got some tasty lunch at Caesar’s. I had fish soup and Welsh lamb and new potatos. I’ve been good and avoided beer since I’ve been here. I’ve stuck to diet soda and water, although mostly diet soda. The water here isn’t as tasty as at home. I expect I’ll have a beer or two, though, when I get out with Matt. In fact, I think I’ll stop writing this now and drop him a line to make plans.

Written on January 14, 2004