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Visit to Seattle - Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
January 20th, 2006
10:40 pm
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Visit to Seattle

Last weekend I visited Ratha. The previous visit had been bad (this seems to have happened a little less than 50% of our visits the past year and a half), but I wasn't really worried about this one. If anything, I knew that we hadn't been talking much (and thus, hadn't been making each other sick of one another).


Friday evening dinner

When I got in, the first thing we did was go to Trader Joe's. The 365 Vegetable contest gave us something obvious to do, and we took quite a bit of advantage of it—I added probably 15 or 20 items to my list over the weekend (and brought home one more, a black truffle, which I just now had part of with some spaghetti). At home, Ratha had a cat-shaped bottle of white wine, which I marvelled at since I had considered asking to buy a bottle of wine while we were at the grocery store, but had decided against it since Ratha generally has a low tolerance for alcohol. Indeed, we finished off the bottle and she had less than a full glass of that (it was only a 500 mL bottle, so that wasn't as bad as it sounds, but I was definitely feeling it).



Alcohol's effect on me

I've concluded that a lot of my silence is in fact due to repression which is unhealthy and irrational, caused by rarely-justified paranoia that I will say something wrong. Alcohol makes this go away quite easily, and with this I think I can explain why I seem to deal so much better with social situations when I've been drinking, if I can avoid the need to drive and can pace myself enough not to pass out (too much alcohol puts me right to sleep).


Over the whole weekend Ratha convinced me to take some naps while I more often convinced her to sleep in. I'm a little afraid that I was a bad influence on her, but I knew I couldn't abide by polyphasic rules (since I'd have been in the transition period and it would have been awful).

On Saturday we stopped for brunch at Brown Bag Cafe, then went to the Space Needle. That was the only really touristy thing I did the whole time I was there, actually. I established a brand-new tradition of buying shot glasses, since I never have any shot glasses (though I like them) and since I never buy anything at gift shops. I hadn't realized that the Seattle metroplex was so large, and it is also quite pretty, though Seattle almost set a record for most consecutive days of rainfall recently, so it was a little dismal. (It's also surprising how cold I found it—I guess my lack of body fat has made my adaptation to Texas easier and more complete than I realized.) After that, we went to an independent (but still quite large) bookstore where I bought a couple of novels for the trip home or whenever. Then we picked out glasses for Ratha (I tried to be helpful, but didn't want to be pushy so I ended up a little quiet—though she did choose the pair I had favored in the last round, so maybe I had some influence after all :-).

Saturday evening we met Ratha's friend Austin and headed back to her place for food and games. We played Set, which is a card game involving trying to see patterns faster than the other players (I felt tired and thought I would do awful, but I actually was reasonably good) and one round of Robo Rally which I barely won.

Sunday morning we went to brunch again, at Cafe Flora. I had jasmine tea and it smelled like perfume. Then we went to Ratha's workplace. Even though MSN has its own satellite campus, the landscaping and the architecture of the lunch hall were very impressive, almost ludicrous (not that my workplace is necessarily more reasonable). Ratha, meanwhile, is crammed in a fairly small office with another person. I have a cubicle, yet I still have probably three times the space she does. Though I'd probably be willing to take a walk-in closet as long as I could have it all to myself.


Organization software and dinner

Later, at home, we talked about organization software. From a Getting Things Done perspective, the Palm Tasks list is a reasonably functional list of next actions, but there's really no corresponding tool for projects. (I'm not completely into Getting Things Done, but I'm using Tasks on my Treo quite heavily now and there does definitely seem to be something missing.) We discussed requirements and also worked on setting up a Palm development environment, which proved quite frustrating (though we did get Hello World to run on Ratha's Treo). We continued to talk about it as we went out to get Ethiopian food so I could add teff to my vegetable list. The restaurant, Awash, was not nearly as well decorated as Abay in Pittsburgh, and the honey wine I ordered was not actually mead but just honey added to wine, and the food took a long time to arrive—but when it did, it tasted pretty much as good as Abay's food, and it was cheap.


The next morning, we ate a little at home and Ratha took me to the airport. It's a long flight from Seattle to Dallas (or vice versa), but my sleep pattern had deliberately been odd enough the past night that I slept quite a bit of the time, and read most of the rest.


Ratha's and my relationship

I found that Ratha still makes me feel all funny inside. I guess it wasn't much of a surprise, since that's been the case for about two years now—there have been times when my attention was directed away from Ratha, but not many when my attention has been directed towards her and I haven't been strongly attracted to her. At the same time, it is clear that she sees me as a very close friend. Yet somehow we seem to have made this work, at least enough that we can have positive interactions without unwittingly finding ourselves at each other's throats. I have to admit to some nervousness—the situation seems at least a little precarious—yet I can't really imagine myself choosing to cut off ties with her. And I guess the fact that we keep coming back to each other shows that there's some real substance to the relationship. Whatever the underlying psychological explanation—if there even is one—I can't deny that she makes me really happy, nor how important to me she is.


Writing for people who are only paying partial attention (like typical LJ readers) is hard. If you got this far, let me know how I did, or if there are any obvious ways I could improve. (Other than to write more often so I don't feel the need to let my entire brain drip out on the page. :P)

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From:damion
Date:January 21st, 2006 07:22 am (UTC)
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I read the whole thing, but I've always read the entirety of your posts, so whatever you're trying to change never really bothered me :D
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 21st, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
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Thanks.

In the first draft of this post, I had a ton of internal dialogue that made one lose the plot (or a ton of plot that made one lose the train of internal dialogue, take your pick). I tried to cut down, but it's been so long since I've written and there's so much going on inside my head that I couldn't bear to trim it enough to make it easily digestible. Then I added the lj-cuts, but I think they are a little awkward, especially the last one (I decided that I had no real choice but to cut it, but at the same time I consider it the most important part of the post—in fact, had I used only one cut, I would have left that paragraph outside the cut).

I always read your posts too, but you rarely (never?) post anything as long as this. When other people post things this long, I think of it as a chore to read them, and if I do read them, I skim. I guess maybe that's a sign that I should prune my friends list, or create a friends group for those people I always care to read, and that I should trust that people who really care about me will read my entries anyway.
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From:damion
Date:January 21st, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC)
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You have the advantage in being intrinsically interesting to me, so I'm going to read whatever you write, no matter how long and rambly it is. For other people who write huge amounts, I also generally skim.
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 21st, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
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Err, internal monologue, that is. I do not have multiple personalities (at least not that much).
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From:papertygre
Date:January 21st, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
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Your use of LJ-cuts was interesting. I'm surprised you used them though, since don't you have them disabled on your friends view? Anyway, my comment about them is that after reading the post on my friends view, I clicked to see the whole thing, and my partial-attention-span self had a hard time finding where the cut text began and ended. (Sometimes when I write posts with fancy LJ-cuts I put indicators in the long text of where the cuts began and ended. I have never been able to tell if that was a useful practice, but my wishing for such cues here suggests it might be.)

As for how to improve your writing for an LJ-audience, I didn't think you were concerned about that. There are various things that I try to do, but I don't know if they are that effective or not.

I'm glad you find me a positive addition to your life. That feeling is mutual.

So how are we going to structure this palm dev project? For my part, I am vaguely waiting to get Agora back since Dion is in limbo (going to rebuild her for work use) and since we seem to have to use the windows development tools to get anywhere. I could use a project for nighttime anyway to help with my polyphasic sleep training :) I think we should use an Agile approach since I am learning the methodologies anyway and they seem good. Maybe we should set up Skype with video conferencing to facilitate that. (Another reason for me to wait for Agora as se has a camera...)
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 21st, 2006 02:12 pm (UTC)
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I (try to) use lj-cuts for two reasons: as a courtesy, and as a teaser. I think a lot of people don't like having huge blobs of text dumped on their friends pages, and I think that when they do see said huge blobs of text, they tend to scroll past without even skimming. Do you have an example of the “indicators” you're talking about?

You're right that I wasn't really writing for an LJ audience. I do want to write in basically the style that I used here, but I also want people to actually read what I write. Maybe this is an impossible dream.

Agile programming isn't a particular methodology, but a whole class of them, right? (Roughly analogous to “functional programming” as applied to programming languages.) Considering that the alternatives are 1) complete disorganization, and 2) specifying requirements up front, I don't see anything but agile programming as even a serious contender.
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From:papertygre
Date:January 21st, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
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indicators: I don't think I've done it lately, but kind of like this:

blah blah this is outer text and now I want to segue into an <lj-cut text="LJ cut">LJ cut:

---

foo bar this is inside the cut

---

</lj-cut>and stuff.

Another method might be using notation like [lj cut title] [/lj-cut title] in the inner text to set it off, or using blockquoting for inside the cuts, etc.

Agile programming: Yes, you're probably right, but I meant formal methods, like scrum or test driven development or even pair programming. I could stand the practice in applying them.
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 21st, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
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Look at the entry now. It looks a little weird when there are two cuts next to each other, but other than that I think I like it.

Pair programming would be a bit difficult, unless you want us both to spend a whole lot more on plane tickets. :-) This seems like a less than ideal project for test-driven development, with a heavily UI-based app and having to test on either the crappy simulator or our real phones. If you want to teach me about “scrum”, I suppose I wouldn't have a problem with that.
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From:papertygre
Date:January 22nd, 2006 12:36 am (UTC)
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I was thinking with screen and Skype we could probably pair program :)

We can do TDD for the parts that underlie the UI, at least.
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From:kenoubi
Date:January 22nd, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
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Huh. It would be interesting enough even just to see if that would work that I'd be willing to give it a try.

We should probably make an appointment. Oh, by the way, assuming you want to talk tomorrow, I have gaming from 14 to 18 (CST) but am otherwise free.
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From:papertygre
Date:January 22nd, 2006 12:53 am (UTC)
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I like the new LJ-cut blocking, also.
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From:damion
Date:January 21st, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)
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I tried my hand at Palm programming some years back, using the unix devkit, and it was a bitch. I imagine the state of the art has advanced somewhat since then :D
[User Picture]
From:kenoubi
Date:January 21st, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
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More like rotted, actually. :-(
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From:papertygre
Date:January 21st, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)
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Based on our experience last weekend, not necessarily. We couldn't get the simulator to even compile, and we tried really hard.
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From:shibakiei
Date:January 21st, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)
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For what its worth, I read the whole thing =)
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