punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Bitter World

I have no idea what's up, but everyone seems so crabby lately. I mean, sure, I am pessimistic with the best of them, but I have encountered more people having a bad day in the last week than I have in months. Everyone seems to be having a bad time about something. I watched three people, one moderator, and a misunderstanding turn into an ugly brawl filled with venomous sarcasm so sharp, that even when one of them apologized, he was told, in so many words, to go to hell. On another list, someone posted a link to a website that went down, and he got chewed out by a list manager to "check his links before he wastes bandwidth." Two guys at work refuse to speak to one another, and thus, one of them can't/won't do his work because it involves working with the other guy. I have three friends out sick, two in bad relationships, and one whose cat ran away. One friend's mother has terminal cancer, and it's complicating old family wounds even further. I watched two friends of mine get so angry at each other that they're never going to speak to one another again. Two of my friends started showing severe symptoms of work-related burnout, while another friend of mine wants me to take his side of a future political "anti-somebody" stance I really don't want involved in. What a mess.

My XP box just suddenly stopped seeing both CD-ROM drives. I fixed this by wiggling the IDE cable, but that... shouldn't have fixed it. But it did. Crap, is my motherboard shorting out?

After checking my finances, I noticed that I hadn't paid the power bill in the last two months. This is because I never got a bill. I called the power company, and they deducted the balance from my checking account automatically, but had no idea as to why I never got my last two statements. They verified my address, said they'd send me a new statement, and if I didn't get that one, to call the post office (I got it today, a few days later). I haven't gotten my cable bill for this month, either, and got my American Express bill two weeks late! Luckily, it was only for $7.99, but what's going on with my mail? Now I have to make sure I am getting statements for everything... I suspect the postman is being lazy, since I have also gotten a lot of my neighbors' mail, mostly junk mail, but since January, I have accidentally opened a neighbor's cable bill, a phone bill, and a credit card statement for their gas station card (two different neighbors). I have to watch what I open, now, too. Who do you complain to? I am never home when the mail arrives, and when it does, it's always a mail truck that speeds to the box, puts it in, and speeds off. The driver is shaded behind the roof.

It finally stopped raining. I swear, it was a week without sun until today. It's nice out, today. I have to have sun once at least every four or so days, or I start to go loopy. Maybe that's why everyone was having a bad week.

I am re-reading the Harry Potter series, this time, with a kind of overall perspective of where the story is going, so I can pay more attention to details. Also, I am doing this in preparation for the June release of Book5: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I can't wait!

I recently got a copy of Miyazaki's Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) and enjoyed it very much. It's a bit more serious than My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro), but not nearly as dark as Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime). It's about a spoiled girl who ends up (via her spoiled parents) in a place where she shouldn't be, and gets stuck working at a Bath House for the Spirit World in order to survive, and later, to save her parents. It has some good humor, some serious parts, and is well written and directed. Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli are always good at depicting light and shadow, and he uses a lot of his talents in this movie. I also recently re-watched Akira, the movie that started my interest in anime, on a cable movie channel.

Good news from one friend, though. It seems that my old coworker-turned-very-good-friend Nate is not only moving back to the area (from California), but he's going to work at my company! I don't know if I'll see him a whole lot, because he'll probably be working at our Ashburn office (I work in Reston), but that's so cool! He'll be making tons of money, because he's really skilled, but he's also bringing his wife, Jen, who is also very cool. The only thing preventing this is the selling price of his old house. Get this: my company is paying for him to move out here, giving him temporary housing until he finds a new place, AND paying for his incidentals until he does. That is way cool!

Work was great today, I got a ton of programming done (it always feels good to be productive), and learned new things, which is always good. I figured out how to use Visual Basic 6.0 (the main programming I do at work, Perl is right below that) to get system info like where the desktop and start menu are, how to get memory, processor type and speed, and so on. It's a complex issue of API calls and registry hacks, but it works on both Windows 98 and XP Pro, which was a difficult bridge to cross with one program. I am *supposed* to be using VB.NET these days, but I find the machines we use are too slow (400 and 800 mhz) to make the programs work properly (plus you have to make sure that the correct libraries are installed, and I have over 200 machines to work on; I don't have time to update them all, then on top of that, re-image everything for default installs/repairs...).

In final news, I will be at Balticon this coming weekend. It came a week earlier than I expected (well, bad planning on my part, it's not like they moved it). A lot of my friends are going, so it should be a very social weekend coming up. I still don't have all my programming worked out, but I am told I'll probably have an anime panel to start on Friday at 7pm. I'll probably have a few more panels, but I have to leave early on Sunday, because I can't stay on Memorial Day (work to do). I hope I remember to take pictures!

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000122.html
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