The Perils of Sneezing

I wasn't going to post any more for the length of February, but I just had a horrible experience and I need to record it for scientific posterity. If I pass away soon, you'll know that the warning signs were there all along:

I just sneezed a single sneeze.

That's right, a lonely sternutation escaped my nose without companion. This is such an odd event that I felt compelled to report it to you, my stalwart friends. I generally am a two-sneeze man. Every so often, I'll have a terrible fit of three. But a single achoo? An apsik without a trailing atchim? An isolated hakushon not clasping hands with its loving atsiuh? Unheard-of and likely to portent nothing but doom.


Well, since I've jumped into the bloggy-thingy, I might as well also pass along the kind of personal information I know you all love so much: the Brunette and I tottled along to a play Saturday night. It being community theater, it can be forgiven for a certain unevenness, I suppose. The first act was bit of a wash, but the second act was much better. Desdemona and Othello held their own for a bit but with little real energy. Thank goodness that light from yonder window came along to break some life into the old thing and drag it out of the doldrums. The play came alive with Juliet's manic energy. I can't even begin to tell you what was up with the Romeo-Puck-Rod-Serling thing: Really, is it wise to dress someone in lots of white if they're supposed to crawl around in the dark without our notice? Good job, Juliet.

I have lost to February

First we forgot where we'd planted those bulbs last year,
Then we forgot that we'd planted at all,
Then we forgot what plants are altogether,
and I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and
The nights were long and cold and scary,
Can we live through February?

~~ Dar Williams, "February"

Doesn't Anybody at Microsoft Read Science Fiction?

I mean, come on. This story from New Scientist says that MS researchers think they can create friendly 'worms' to spread software fixes

I suggest these folks go out right now and watch I am Legend

Better yet, try one of these novels:

Do you have a book recommendation for Microsoft?

The Perils of Nearsightedness

I just realized this morning that for the last week I've been washing my hair with conditioner.

Confluence Calendar Hint

If you're working with Confluence and you're trying to put an external (subscribed) calendar into your calendar macro, if you get this error:

Error formatting macro: calendar: java.lang.NoSuchMethodError:

Then check your java version (in Admin under View System Information). I'm finding that 1.4.2 gives this error, but changing to 1.5 gets rid of it.

Remember that 1.4 is coming to its end of life anyway, so move on already.

Ensemble Encore

I've mentioned before that I'm working on trying to get Subversion and Ensemble/Cache Studio to work together. It's fun and I'm learning lots of ObjectScript.

One thing about writing a source code control thingy is testing it. I'm trying to develop it in the IDE while also using its changes as I go along. This isn't easy because the system won't let me re-compile a class that is in use. The way I've been doing this is:

  1. Modify a bit of the SCM code
  2. Switch to the Management Portal to turn SCM on
  3. Switch back to Studio
  4. Use F4 to reconnect namespaces (to the same one/turns SourceControl off in Studio)
  5. Compile the classes
  6. Switch to the Management Portal to turn SCM on
  7. Switch back to Studio
  8. Use F4 to reconnect namespaces (to the same one/turns SourceControl on in studio
  9. Verify Changes

This is fine and dandy for most of what I'm doing. However, I've started moving into the area where I want to figure out how to not just load a brand new class from file but also incorporate it into my project. I want to do some stuff when the project first loads.

It turns out that if you're in Studio in namespace X and you hit F4 and return to namespace X, although it re-examines the classes, it does not reload your project. However, if you exit studio or you go F4-namespace Y-F4-namespace X, the project reloads. Isn't that exciting?

Yo Voté

Did you? Gosh, it seemed awfully empty out there this morning, people. I thought there'd be more participation this year because it's not in anybody's bag yet.

The Resurrectionist (Jack O'Connell)

I dropped in on Great Aunt Iva last Saturday. My aging relatives might be imaginary, but they still get lonely. I feel it's my responsibility to bring a little cheer into their lives. I'm just sweet that way.

I found my great aunt in her kitchen. There was a pot on the stove. Whatever was in the pot was bubbling. Iva stood with spoon in hand, staring into the pot. I could tell immediate action was required.

"Great Aunt Iva!" I shouted, and she dropped her spoon. "The stove is on!"

"Young man," she said sternly, after retrieving the spoon from the floor and turning to give me the hairy eyeball. "I am well aware of the condition of my white goods."

Now, my great aunt is a wonderful, strong woman. She's the only person I know who can put Great Uncle Leadbelly -- her brother -- in his place. More than once, I've seen her push a safari guide to tears. She has two advanced degrees, founded three successful businesses, and she once roped a calf in 12 1/2 seconds. There is almost nothing my Great Aunt Iva cannot do.

Except cook.

"Great Aunt Iva," I said patiently and respectfully. "I thought you agreed -- in front of the entire family council, no less -- to always maintain a safe distance from culinary equipment."

"I'm just tasting --"

"Ever since the Grits Incident --"

"That was overblown --"

"Someone was was blown over, that's for sure," I said. "We are still paying that child's medical expenses seven years later."

"Well, I mean, really. How can one be expected to tell the difference between corn used for grits and corn used for popping?"

"You are a talented woman, my dear great aunt, but you cannot cook."

"You don't know me."

"What?" I said, stumped. I thought about it for a second. I looked around the apartment. This was definitely the right place. "You are Great Aunt Iva."

"Don't confuse the label with the product, Sonny Boy."

By this point I was just happy to have moved her into the living room and away from danger. Casting about for things to distract her, I noticed the book on her end table.

"Oh, have you read that, yet?" I asked.

"Yes, The Resurrectionist is for tonight's book group," she replied. "There's a lot of interesting stuff in here about identity and about responsibility."

"And a lot about clothes," I said. "He sure does describe what people are wearing. You'd think in a book about the fantastic edging into the horror genre, the narrator wouldn't notice clothing so much."

"There's nothing wrong with trying to set the scene."

"Says the woman wearing a purple kimono and flip flops. Hey, what's this?" I had been flipping through the book and a card dropped out. "Is this a recipe?" I asked accusingly.

"Only in the most superficial sense," she replied. "It's one of the themes of our book group. We have to make a recipe card describing the book we read."

I looked down at the card. It read:

2 c. Neil Gaiman
1/2 c. Michael Chabon
3 T. Christopher Priest
Dash Stephen King
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to taste

In a heavy pot, bring Neil Gaiman to boil and reduce until all humor is removed. Remove from heat and whip until frothy. Fold in Michael Chabon. Stir in King and set aside to cool. When cool, poke hole in middle and drop in Christopher Priest. Dust with OFOtCN and serve with crackers. Yield: two.

"It was a little like American Gods," I muttered absently. My mind wandered into the kitchen. I waved the card at her. "This isn't what you're making in the kitchen?"

"Don't be silly. That's just a nice soup in the kitchen. Smells lovely doesn't it?"

Poor lonely old Great Aunt Iva, I thought to myself. She has nobody to encourage her. She has to praise her own work, even a sad little soup. "But a soup is not something you do," I said.

"People are not always what you expect, you know," she replied.

"Yeah, but..." I dropped the book and I imagine my jaw dropped open. A man had just walked out of my great aunt's bedroom. He wore white muslin trousers and a tank top.

"Oh, Raoul," Iva said. "Your soup is smelling wonderful. This is my great-nephew."

Raoul came over to shake my hand and I greeted him with enthusiasm. I nearly pumped his arm off.

"I'm so happy to meet you," I said. "I can't tell you how much I was worried about my great aunt's safety."

"You know that this place is pretty much crime-free, yes?" he said.

"Oh, I wasn't afraid of criminals," I said. "I'm just so glad that it's somebody else cooking!"

Do They Still Sell Black Turtlenecks?

So, the Zombies loaned us a DVD set the other night. This might seem like an odd thing to do, but we don't let a little thing like not owning a television set drag us down. Oh, no. We spent hours last night watching the first three episodes of Slings and Arrows on the Brunette's tiny iBook. This is a Canadian series that followed the experiences of a Shakespearian troupe attached to a small festival. There are shades of Six Feet Under, with the death and ghostly return of a key character; there are flashes of Noises Off, with the backstage fun and excitement of struggling theater; and there are bits of the Muppets, with two older gents wandering around offering commentary.

I was entranced.

After the third episode finished, I looked up at the Brunette and said, "Doesn't it make you want to produce a play?"

She looked at me oddly, perhaps because the show ended with one character chasing another with a sword, intending to kill him. Maybe because the show included the constant threat of poverty. Maybe because most of the characters are living life high or drunk or mentally deranged (or some combination thereof).

I prefer to think she was just tired.


When I glanced at my calendar this morning, I saw that today is the 6th of February. I'm pretty sure I heard that the groundhog saw his shadow. (Of course, for there to be six more weeks of winter, there'd have to have been a winter for there to be more of.) On the other hand, weather mavens were suggesting a warm day. So, I put on my jeans, a long-sleeve t-shirt, and my bright red windbreaker (with no lining). I jumped on my bike for the very first commute/ride of 2008.

I had to take the jacket off after only 15 minutes. I was tempted to take my shirt off after 30, but I didn't want to blind the drivers (or have them blind themselves!) It's incredible how stinking hot it is for a February morning. Good thing they have showers here.

I'm pretty sure I say this every year, but gosh I'm out of shape! But I sure do like to have the blood pumping through the brain again.

Trying Hard to Look Like Gary Cooper

I'm gonna be so glad when Super Tuesday is over. Not because I'm against all the politics and junk -- that's fun. No, what with the Super Bowl on Sunday and the lead up to this Super Tuesday thing, I just can't get the song out of my head:

Men want men to ride with clouds between their knees
I'm just a man
In a silly red sheet
Trippin' on Kryptonite
On this one way street
It's not easy to be

Yes, I know that those words are wrong. I never remember songs correctly.

Further Adventures with Ensemble, Caché and Subversion

I mentioned earlier that I've been playing with integrating Ensemble Studio with Subversion for version control. It's a lot of fun. There is so dang much I don't know, but I suppose that's why it's fun. That, and the Studio interface is pretty nice to muck with, in terms of its malleability.

The example source code class is structured so that the every class, routine, etc, is exported to a filesystem and the source control interaction works from there. That's all fine and dandy, but the example class exports files to a folder that contains the object type. For example, the class %Studio.SourceControl.Example.CLS will show up in a file at {view_root}/CLS/Studio/SourceControl/Example.xml. For older VCSes, there's nothing particularly wrong with this approach and it looks similar to the Project Workspace, which looks like {project_name}/Classes/Studio/SourceControl/Example. By default, the project will get placed into an XML file in the PRJ directory and each package (e.g., Studio) will get placed into an XML file in the PKG directory.

The problem is that Subversion and ClearCase both provide versioning of folders as well as files, so I don't really want PRJ and PKG as XML, I want them represented by actual folders so that I can properly have the commits and reverts happen at the folder level within the IDE. So, I'm leaning toward removing the object type designation in the folder structure and embedding it into the file name, so that my resulting file might be {view_root}/Studio/SourceControl/Example.CLS.xml, and actions on the SourceControl package work at the folder level. Ideally, I'd like for the project name to be in there at the view root so I can have several projects, but I can't figure out how to get the project name. Is there a routine to grab that?

Go Vols!

This weekend found us celebrating my father's birthday. Our dear pater familias is a great fan of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Back in the day, it was a treat for me to grab him a box of doughnuts for his birthday since the closest store to Baltimore was in Virginia. These days, of course, there's a shop just down the street from him. Still, I stopped by to get a half dozen for old times' sake. (And this in spite of my opposition to spending my money at places that refuse to use proper spelling...)

In addition to being a Krispy Kreme freak, Dad's a rabid alumnus of the University of Tennessee. Yeah, it's a bit of a cliché, but I find my father awfully hard to shop for. There are only so many Tennessee knick knacks and t-shirts one can purchase one's father. In discussing the possible purchase of a cake with my sister -- she was going to buy a Vols cake, but they only came in sheet size -- it hit me: Wouldn't it be cool if Krispy Kreme sold orange doughnuts? Well, it turns out they sell a nice heart-shaped doughnut, but this is the wrong season for orange. But I could not let the idea go. I went out and got some spray paint.

It's not really spray paint. We found a can of orange Color Mist at Michaels. All I can really say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. The stuff sprays on pretty easily. It's a bright orange, but when placed on a clear glaze, I don't think it does much. In fact, this picture is a brighter orange than it appeared in real life. I suspect that it works wonderfully well on white frosting.

I also bought him a kit for learning how to make balloon animals. He reminded me that I had gotten him the same thing two years ago. Oops. And he hadn't yet opened that one. Dang. Can't think of anything funny to say to that.

Happy Birthday, Dad.