We are a hurricane

 Posted by at 23:40  1 Response »
Aug 252011

I hear tell that a hurricane is barreling toward us. I have yet to bring myself to feel a great deal of concern about this. I realize I may eat those words in the coming days, but for now I have naught but past experience to go on. Every major hurricane-related alert we’ve ever had in the area amounted to little more than a particularly forceful thunderstorm. Such things are not without danger, of course, but so long as one is inside the biggest concern is generally losing power. The house has thus far proven quite resistant to flooding, even over protracted rain spells, and there are no large trees that pose a direct threat. So, we shall see how this goes.

Tomorrow is the Great Big Sea concert, which I am beyond excited about. The day after, some very good college friends of mine are getting married after an absurdly drawn-out on-again/off-again, will-they/won’t-they courting period that lasted many, many years. Every external observer knew that it had one inevitable conclusion. I am delighted that they’re finally getting married and look forward to being there to tell them as much in person. Last time I heard, they followed the blog, so I’m curious to see what they think of my summary of their relationship!

Sunday is when the hurricane is supposed to hit, which all but dooms any hope of working further on the stairs or mowing the lawn. On the plus side, as long as we have power, I should be able to get a fair amount of writing done.

Sep 272010

If you’ve been here long enough, or are the sort to read a blog’s entire archive when you stumble across it1, you may remember my this entry I posted about Halloween last year. The time is approaching once again, and once again both Cody and I are a bit at a loss for what to do. We have a fallback plan, but neither of us is very gung-ho about it and want something more interesting. I’m toying with the idea of trying to finish my Vader costume from several years ago, this time by first building a vacuforming table and constructing the various armor pieces out of plastic rather than placemats. The downside to this is that it leaves Cody in the lurch about a costume, since she has no interest in a Padmé costume2. The implications behind such a pairing are a little disconcerting, anyway.

I finally got caught up with House this weekend. I had forgotten how much I adore that show. Looking forward to tonight’s episode, especially on the heels of the last one, though I don’t know when I’ll actually watch it. Cody hasn’t caught up yet and I don’t want her to get spoiled about recent events. Olivia Wilde continues to be mind-breakingly gorgeous, but Cody is absolutely right when she points out that it’s particularly true in House. Outside of the context of the show, Olivia Wilde’s sculpted features can get a little too inhuman. Almost certainly a function of makeup.

September has been a very tough month, though not for any particular reason I can point to. Cody’s been feeling it too; the entire month has just felt frantic and busy beyond justification. You’d think that with the wedding behind us, things would have settled down. I think some of the insanity may stem from all the stuff we set aside for the wedding, or perhaps tuned-out while dealing with the wedding, which is now coming back with a vengeance. Even work has been nuts for the both of us, though. Not bad, just crazy busy. I’m hoping things will settle down a bit in October…so that the craziness of Halloween can take focus. Ugh.

Never rains, but it loves to pour.

  1. Guilty of doing that many times myself. []
  2. Can you blame her? []
Sep 182010

Part of my prolonged absence from the blog here (other than the obvious excuse of being lazy), is that one of the most momentous days in my life transpired recently. Cody and I got married!

Though things were frantic as hell from Thursday 8/5 through Saturday 8/7 (the day of the wedding), the ceremony went off without a hitch and was absolutely perfect. Cody’s bridesmaids and my groomsmen processed to the opening title of Star Trek: First Contact, while Cody and her father processed to Hyperspace (which features the Binary Sunset/Force theme) from The Empire Strikes Back.

Our parents each read one of our four readings, with my mom starting with the Declaration of Principles (of the Interstellar Alliance) from Babylon 5, my dad following with a slightly edited-down version of Scalzi’s 15 Years post, Cody’s dad with Taylor Mali’s Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, and Cody’s mom finishing with Us Two by A.A. Milne.

I wrote my vows fairly early on, which highlighted two major things: that I could never adequately express in any volume of words the depth of my love for Cody, and that the duties of a husband were not unlike those of a starship. Cody’s vows were finalized the day of, and I had no idea what they would be like until she spoke them during the ceremony. They were heartbreakingly beautiful, while still containing a wonderful amount of humor (promising to heal me when I wasn’t feeling confident in my tanking, to smile and laugh even when I repeat my latest catch phrase for the 100th time, and similar). I definitely got choked up.

We recessed to “Wander My Friends” from Battlestar Galactica and kicked off the biggest party of our lives. The food was amazing, the place was amazing, our photographer was amazing, our wedding party (and our extended wedding party — I’m looking at you, Sarah, Lisa, and Sally!), our family and friends — all amazing. Evidently, Cody and I managed to make it through our first dance without me making us look like total fools. Becky gave an adorable speech, despite laryngitis, and Nick and Jeff followed with possibly the greatest best man speech in the history of best man speeches. No, I’m not kidding. It was epic.

The party lasted until we had to shut down around 11pm or so, and then we simply relocated to the hotel to continue the festivities. Eventually, that party wound down too. The next day, many of us reconvened at Cody’s family’s cabin on Lake Monomanoc. On the way home, Cody, Kt, Ron, and I developed the epic mythos of GRO-TON while passing through Groton, and its neighboring towns of Littleton and Acton (pronounced “Action”). We also had Fras and Jess over to play Rock Band the next day. All in all, a splendid time.

And then Cody and I went on our first cruise. How to describe a cruise to someone who’s never been on one before? It’s more than just being “on a boat” and going somewhere tropical (Bermuda, in our case). To me, as a sci-fi fan, it was a fantasy-indulging taste of what it might be like to be aboard a futuristic spaceship (one featuring artificial gravity, for instance…). It was also a taste of peace. When we weren’t sleeping or eating, Cody and I spent most of our time just sitting on our balcony, overlooking infinite blue, reading. We had no other concerns. Just be with each other, read a book, and look out on the water. Incredible.

We’ve already been stirring the waters (har har) amongst our friends and family to do an epic group cruise at some point. We’ve also talked about making cruising an annual thing. It was that good.

So, all in all, the wedding was a phenomenal success and without a doubt counts as the happiest day of my life1.

  1. Subject to revision on the birth of children, whenever we get around to it! []
Jul 092010

This post is a rant.  I’m only moderately pulling my punches.  Yes, it’s probably about you.  You have been warned.

Many people have the Google search engine web page set as their default page.  That’s fine, and not a terrible idea.  When you want to find something, and don’t know where to go for it, Google’s a fantastic gateway.

What Google is not is a place to put in a URL (a web page “address”).  If someone provides you a URL, and you put it into the Google search bar, you are asking Google to search for that URL.  This is, in the technical sense, not going to get you want you want.  Unfortunately, because Google is so expansive, it often does get people what they want.  This builds a bad habit that reared it’s hideous, deformed head lately.

If you punch the wedding website URL into Google…you get links to this blog.  That’s because I’ve mentioned the wedding here, and Google is also picking up on the “McC3D.com” part of the URL.  You won’t get the wedding website itself, because it doesn’t index (i.e. Google doesn’t pick it up in its catalog of the internet).   The blog does index.

This was presented to me as a “problem with the wedding website” that “people couldn’t get to.”  When I hear those words, I become alarmed.  My webserver’s pretty important to me, and if something’s not working correctly, I want to fix it as quickly as possible.  But when I find out that the only thing wrong is people not understanding how to properly use their web browser, I get upset.  Very upset.  I don’t particularly care to have technical issues pinned on me that are A) not technical and B) not my fault.

The anatomy of a web browser:

You should really know this stuff before setting foot into the internet.  This is basic and fundamental.

This is the proper way to use your web browser.

In closing:

Heavy Metal

 Posted by at 17:48  No Responses »
Jun 252010

In the very near future, we shall purchase my wedding band.

I swung by Romm last night, the jeweler from which we purchased Cody’s engagement and wedding bands, and had a look at their selection of men’s wedding bands. Platinum, tungsten, titanium, and cobalt are all the rage. That suits me fine, since they are all far more interesting to me than the traditional offerings of gold and silver.  I doubt it comes as much of a surprise that doing things the “traditional” way usually bores me.  This is part of why it’s been so difficult to find attire for my groomsmen and myself.

At first, I had the notion of doing a tungsten ring.  Tungsten is chemically notable for having the highest melting point of any stable metal (they use it as the filament in incandescent light bulbs for this reason). Materials with useful application are cool.  Detractor: it’s heavy. On the flip side, titanium is used in air and spacecraft manufacture because it’s strong and light.  Detractor: it’s alarmingly light — so much so, that I would fret about losing the band and not noticing.

Triton cobalt ring with carbon-fiber inlay

My Wedding Band? Probably!

Then they showed me a cobalt ring. Aha, now this was interesting. Looking essentially no different from the other three metals, cobalt struck the right balance of wear-resistance and weight. It’s also hypo-allergenic, which is a plus for me; though am not 100% certain, I suspect  that I may have a nickel allergy or something similar. The particular cobalt ring that caught my eye also has a totally badass carbon-fiber inlay that lends it a holographic effect when it moves. I’m reasonably sure that this is the ring I want to get.

Cody and I will be heading there tomorrow to nail down those details.

Constricted Posting

 Posted by at 16:16  No Responses »
Jun 242010

Hey, a new look for the blog! This change in decor precipitated by upgrading to the latest version of WordPress.

Our wedding invitation

Invitations have been cast to the four winds at this point. Cody and I plunked down and cooked up a design we were both happy with, had ’em printed, and mailed ’em off as we accrued the needed addresses over a period of a few days. We re-tooled the website slightly so that all of our invitees could RSVP online, via a fun little form that also invites them to supply song requests. Additionally, Cody and I can now see at-a-glance who has RSVP’ed in the affirmative, in the negative, and who hasn’t RSVP’ed, as well as our total guest count, and other fun data like that.

To  me, every one of these vests is the same.

You all are wearing the exact same thing, in different colors!

The new daunting task is finding something to wear. You’d think finding a slightly atypical waistcoat wouldn’t be that hard, but apparently everyone and their mother only makes the one sort of waistcoat. Yes, I realize that “buttons down the center” isn’t technically a single type of waistcoat, but it may as well be. I want something that doesn’t look like every other thing out there, which is much the same way I felt about finding a suit when I was still looking for one.

I recently bought a three-piece suit for a friend’s wedding. One piece among the triad is a waistcoat. It’s an interesting design — it buttons diagonally rather than straight down. I returned yesterday to the place from which I had purchased said waistcoat, only to have them show me three essentially identical waistcoats and then inform me that they couldn’t help me. Bull. At this point, I’m tempted to try and find something unique at a costume shop and then have it replicated by someone. Costumers, I suspect, will make more interesting clothing than tailors.

Blogging is a weird thing. I want to get to a point where I’m posting something of vague value every day. However, doing so is complicated by several unrelated factors. The bulk of my time is devoted to work, which I can’t talk about. I also spend a good chunk of time playing WoW. Self-indulgent flights of fancy aside, most people won’t care about my latest WoW exploits. I also want to talk about my story ideas and other things of that nature, but keeping those sort of under wraps is the prudent choice, so that nixes that subject. That leaves wedding stuff and other life events to talk about, which are more sporadic topics with bursts of information. I could wax poetic about mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage, but…do you really want to hear about that?

I didn’t think so.

Wedding Update

 Posted by at 08:28  2 Responses »
May 242010

Cody and I booked our honeymoon cruise this weekend! We’ll be sailing south to Bermuda on the first cruise either of us has ever taken. Even though I’ll have only been there five months by the time August rolls around, 38 has been very kind in permitting me enough time off for the wedding and honeymoon, which is just one more reason why I look forward to going to work every day.

Wedding planning is proceeding apace. We have a lot left to do, but none of it feels daunting. From my perspective, the biggest thing left is a toss-up between decorations/flowers/centerpieces/etc. and invitation design. A lot of stuff fell into place on other fronts this weekend, freeing us from tackling some decisions. Specifically: Stonewall Farm now has a liquor license, so we can just do an open bar through them rather than figure out how to stock one ourselves; we now know what we’re doing for dessert and it’s eminently attainable; we know what we’re doing for wedding party favors; and, of course, the cruise.

Invitation design makes me wish I’d taken a few GD courses in college. Coming up with something that is both representative of us and that doesn’t also look cheap/designed by an amateur is…not easy. I keep on wanting to reach out to GD-trained friends, but I don’t want to burden them with something like this, either.

Ah well. It’ll sort itself out.

Apr 272010

Cody’s going out of town for business, making tonight out last night together until Sunday. This is very sad. There is, however, a silver lining. I get to “surprise” her1 when she returns by presenting a de-wallpapered pantry, ready for painting. She has been on me to finish de-wallpapering it…well, pretty much since we stopped major housework after finishing the kitchen walls. So, while I’m not looking forward to doing it, I’m looking forward to having it done and making her happy.

Speaking of done and happy, the wedding website is finally live.

A random collection of WoW-related thoughts follows.

  • After spending several hours researching and implementing a customized UI for Jakosta, live use made it clear that it was a big pile of fail. With some more research, a few more addons2, and some alterations to existing addons, I think I may have something truly awesome. Won’t have a chance to test it until tomorrow, though.
  • Speaking of Power Auras, I got absurdly excited about it once I first tried it out. I immediately started wondering how I might apply it to Deowyn as well. After running my heroic for the day, I realized that it would be useful for at least two reminders: when I’m in combat without the Glyph of Life Tap buff active, and any time that Fel Armor isn’t active. Might also be worth having one when Haunt is available for casting, though I think the Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text notice I have for that is sufficient.
  • Every time I hear “Everybody’s trance dancing tonight” from the DMB song “So Right,” I think “Everybody’s stance dancing tonight,” and want to make up some alternate, WoW-themed lyrics to the song.
  • I think WoW has become my favorite hobby, which is amusing. Every time I worry about it, I just think about Jace’s “I Play W.O.W.” song and feel better. That said, I’m hoping to do some novel editing and guitar playing while Cody’s away, too.

I’m tempted to rant about driver etiquette, but have lost the gumption for the time being. My urge to write such missives tends to peak while I’m, y’know, driving, which is a somewhat inconvenient time to compose them.

  1. It’s not really a surprise when I’ve already declared my intention to do it. []
  2. Power Auras FTW! Holy crap! []

Whoa, a post!

 Posted by at 01:11  2 Responses »
Apr 202010

So, yeah. My profuse apologies for being so lackadaisical about posting for the last, oh, four months. Quite a bit has happened that’s kept me otherwise preoccupied.

First, there was that whole winter holidays thing. Second, upon returning to work following the winter holidays, I was informed (along with many, many others) that I no longer had a job. Downsizing, division cutting, etc. Basically, the company retooled itself into something completely different. C’est la vie. First thing I did when I got home was start working on my website/resume/etc. By the end of that week, I’d already sent out several inquiries.

Fast-forward through two months of hand-wringing, and a lot of WoW-playing, and I find myself working at 38 Studios. I can’t say enough about how awesome a company 38 is. You’ll have to read about it for yourself. I will say this: it’s an incredible feeling to be working on something that excites you. I can’t provide any details, I’m afraid, but I can’t wait for our game to come out just so I can play it! The only downside is the hour-long commute1, but audiobooks are helping me get through that2. I’m so jazzed to get to work every day that the commute really doesn’t matter. I end up voluntarily working 9-10 hour days, without even realizing I’ve done so until I look at the clock and it dawns on me that I should probably think about going home at some point.3

Wedding planning has continued, though sluggishly. We’re starting to pick up steam now that I’m working again, though, so that’s good. We finally got rid of our rattling, rumbling, not-at-all-working dryer and purchased a new, awesome dryer4. I did the first lawn mow of the year today, with much success. Mower seems none the worse for wear having spent the winter in the shed.

Still haven’t finished5 editing the novel I wrote in November, but now that things are settling back into something resembling normalcy and I’ve had a chance to recharge my batteries, I’m ready to dive back into the little world I created. I’ve also speced out a new system that I plan to upgrade to in the near future6. In preparation for that, and because I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, I pre-designed the file structure that I plan to use for my new system. Hopefully, it will keep me somewhat organized.7

Since the weather is finally getting nicer, I’m also getting the itch to finish off the various house projects that remained incomplete once the cold weather set in. Chief among these are finishing the pantry and repainting the upstairs bathroom. Once those are done, I want to replace the screen doors on both entrances with ones that actually open in a logical direction. I may replace the back door altogether. It’s fine as a barrier to entry, but it’s pretty drafty.

As if all that weren’t sufficient, there are a ton of weddings and other events on the horizon: my friend Jen is getting married in May, our friends Keith and Lisa are getting married in June (and I’m in that wedding as a groomsman), my birthday and bachelor party are at the end of July, I’m getting married in August (and Keith is in that wedding as a groomsman), and our friends Christina and Alex are getting married in October.

To top things off, also spurred on by the improving climate, I’m considering actually tackling some of the costume-making ideas I’ve had kicking around for years.8 I have no idea how I’m going to fit all this together.

Somehow, I always manage.

I’ll also be making an effort to write more here. Ideally, I want to post once or more a day, just so that I’m writing something every day. Practically, of course, that’s not likely. Ah well.

Thanks for reading!

  1. And that’s one way! []
  2. So far, The Mote in God’s Eye (Niven, Pournelle), The Last Colony (Scalzi), American Gods (Gaiman), Zoe’s Tale (Scalzi), and about half of The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger. []
  3. Fortunately, Cody is so happy that I’m happy about my job that she doesn’t mind at all. []
  4. They even delivered it the next day, and hauled away our old one, all for free! []
  5. Okay, I admit it, I haven’t actually started the editing process in any concrete way. Lots of brainstorming, but no tangibles. []
  6. My current machine will become our house server, running Ubuntu of course []
  7. Knock on wood, and all that. When it comes to organization, I’m a contradiction: I’m always disorganized and I can’t stand disorganization. Mm, self-loathing. Tasty. []
  8. Yes, stormtrooper armor is on the top of that list, thank you very much. []
Aug 062009

Been a while since my last post.  Since then, a ton of stuff has happened.

  • We fully moved-in to our house (though we’re still only about 25% unpacked).
  • We set a date for the wedding (8/7) and have picked a location for the reception, which may double as the wedding site too.
  • We selected/customized Cody’s engagement ring and matching wedding band
  • My company laid off about 25% of its work force (a layoff I rather miraculously was not a part of).
  • The Vampire game has resumed.

I’m probably forgetting a few things, but those are the big highlights.

One of the reasons I haven’t posted often of late is that it seems a bit of a chore to go to the blog page, log in, write up a post, etc, etc. I’ve recently implemented an easier method of posting that I think should make posting a more frequent occurrence. I’ve also got to get over my internal reluctance to post a battery of short posts as I think of things to say. If Twitter has proven anything, it’s that people enjoy hearing about the exploits of others in short bites. I don’t think I’ll ever hop on the Twitter bandwagon, though (famous last words…).

I finally got LaTeX-style rendering working on my wikis. It’s not that this is particularly difficult to do, but rather I had never had a server setup that would allow me to make the necessary changes to support it before. The particular implementation I’m using right now is MimeTeX. I had to do some custom hackery to make it work (specifically, my server did not seem content to create image links with some of the formatting required by TeX, so I wrote a PHP “middleman” that stands between the MediaWiki math engine and the MimeTeX CGI to properly handle formatting), but it’s great fun.

The major motivating factor in getting the TeX support to work is that I wanted to explore the idea of “damage potential” in EVE Online. Because of the way damage works in EVE, specifically with turrets, a given ship using a given type of gun is going to do the most damage at close range, and then see that damage falloff gradually as the target gets farther and farther away. This isn’t accounting for aspects of the target, which also play a role. The formula for this falloff is known and can be calculated, but I wanted to see how different ships stacked up to one another when they were compared.

I decided that the best way to do this would be to integrate the falloff curve (i.e. find the area bound by the DPS graph for the ship). Of course, this led to about 15 hours of wrestling with a truly atrocious integral. After consulting with Wolfram’s online integrator, engineers at work, the think tank at SDN, my dad, Cody, and Dr. Math,it became clear that the only way to solve the integral was via approximation and a computer.  I wrote up a Python script to do the integral and started getting good results.  I’m not really sure how valid they are, though.  Mathematically, they’re sound, but I’m not sure about their practical application.

I think that’s about it for now.