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28 February 2012 @ 11:40 pm
I'm making up my own day of the week to cover yesterday—the work day from Hell.

Everything was cooking along until noon, when I started getting emails and four instant message threads all related to a software bug holding up testing, which everyone decided must be mine.

A few months ago, we transitioned from a useful code-database-revision-control tool to one that is a kind of neverending evil. It makes doing our jobs extremely hard, particularly looking at changes to your code from one version to another—which is an utter necessity in tracking down this kind of bug. Plus, my section of this larger software workaround runs inside the ASIC hardware, and is essentially a black box. Fun! Managers wanted to make sure I understood the urgency of the situation, while there was little I could do to investigate it.

I finally got some code-verification going after 3 hours, and debugged with another engineer to push the focus farther along. Ate lunch at 3:30. Missed the daylight hours to go biking outside, and got stuck riding in the garage. What a day. :(

Tonight, I'm reading more LJ Idol entries and watching my own tank in the polls. In book news, I've read the first four No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels. I love the clean prose, coupled with surprising business names such as the Go-Go Handsome Men's Bar or the Double Comfort Furniture Company. I'm also puzzled by the idea of people eating pumpkin as a side-dish. I guess they're treating it as a squash? I've started another series by the same author, Portuguese Irregular Verbs. That is much less fun, and the prose-style harder going. However, I do love the absurdity of someone trying to start a conversation with, "You seem to be fairly tall. Tell us about that."

I'm enjoying Joe Hill's 20th-Century Ghosts. Hill is primarily considered a Horror writer, though since I like his work and don't really like that genre, I see this book a little differently. Some of the stories are more like character studies with unreal elements. The only horror in "The Black Phone" is of the human variety, and the supernatural element could as easily be delusion. "Better Than Home" is pathos. And "Abraham's Boy," which is about an everyday, inflatable boy, reads like a parable of how cruelly the world treats gentle people. In many ways, these stories remind me of some of Ray Bradbury's classics. Sure, one of the stories features a giant insect, but hey, Bradbury would go there. I'm sure he has.

I got a third of the way through Hellbent, and bailed. Too much poop. Literally. I've also drifted away from The Bards of Bone Plain. Really, the motor car was a bad sign. McKillip's storytelling style just doesn't mesh well with anything modern. Well, more time for that Michael Connolly novel then, and Confessions Of An Ugly Stepsister. So many books, so little time!

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realpestilencerealpestilence on February 29th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
Pumpkin in itself isn't that sweet, like we think of when we make pies from it. Anything you do to squash or zucchini-and probably sweet potatoes-you can do to pumpkin. You see it used a lot in African cooking, and pretty much anywhere Africans have spread that has pumpkins.

I liked Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister-they made a tv movie from it, which was different, but also good.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Bookshalfshellvenus on February 29th, 2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
It's interesting that westerners seem to eat pumpkin mostly in its sweetened/spiced form-- pie, muffins, bread. It wouldn't have occurred to me that it's pretty much a large, colorful squash.

Though I also hate squash, so that might be part of the problem. ;)

I'll bet McCall Smith throws that in because it's both authentic and a surprise to most readers.

I also boggle a little at the repeated mention of people getting old, retiring to the country, and growing melons. Melons DO love the sun, but since they're mostly water, I'd think they'd need a lot of that to grow. So, how would they thrive in that climate, in those dry, rural areas?

I'm looking forward to trying Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. My to-read book pile keeps growing, and it's a constant struggle to stay ahead of the max-renewal-limit from the library. :0
Danmuchtooarrogant on February 29th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
Ouch, I hope the error in the code wasn't yours!

I loved the challenge of programming when I did it, figuring out the solution to a particular puzzle, but debugging was always such a drag. Now, when I see a company application running slowly and fraught with constant errors, it makes me scream for a decent programmer who knows what the Hell they're doing every time. :)

Good luck!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 29th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
They found the source of the problem yesterday, which was tangential to my code. And also rich in irony:

We've added software verification procedures over the last few years, and one of them continually complained about "potential problems" in the code that parses mine into hardware instructions. We inherited that code from another long-gone group, and it's complex enough that we'd decided not to "fix" the things that were being whined about by the verification tool.

Except that the current owner apparently got tired of the repeated nagging from the verification tool, and went in and "fixed" things.

The fixes broke part of the code-parser, so my hardware instructions were no longer what they used to be. That was why the problem started up on Monday.

So in "fixing" the code to please the verification tool... the guy actually broke it. Whee!
Danmuchtooarrogant on March 1st, 2012 01:09 am (UTC)
LOL Oh my, that's a classic! I hope the owner was, at the very least, suitably embarrassed.

devon99 on February 29th, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
I just realised that i have no idea what you do for a living. It sounds very complicated. Please do not ruin things and enlighten me, as i now picture you working at some sort of The Matrix style set up.

And pumpkin as a side dish seems normal to me. I roast it along with root vegetables. i have had pumpkin curry which is nice. Pumpkin pie which is very American to me, seems so wrong.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 29th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
Please do not ruin things and enlighten me, as i now picture you working at some sort of The Matrix style set up.

Hahaha! Your imagining sounds VERY cool, much cooler than my actual job. ;)

And pumpkin as a side dish seems normal to me. I roast it along with root vegetables.
Ah, so maybe it's Americans who don't eat it like the vegetable that it is.

Some Americans like sweet potatoe pie, which makes me shudder-- both because of the taste and because of how thick and tacky sweet potatoes are.

But pumpkin pie... I don't really like it, because the pumpkin flavor is too strong for me, but I love pumpkin bread and muffins to a dangerous degree. Adding the flower in mutes the pumpkin flavor just enough, and then the spices are glorious.

Well-- learned something new today!
devon99 on February 29th, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)

This is my favourite recipe site. There are loads of pumpkin recipes here.

And, I have a flister who is a chemist. Whenever I chat to her I picture her in a white lab coat standing at a bench with a test tube rack! I will now picture you in front of a screen processing the world entirely in green streams of binary code.
Destinadestina on March 3rd, 2012 02:37 am (UTC)
The sheer quantity of your book reading puts me to shame! I have books all over the house half-read, that I'm basically reading a page at a time. It's pathetic. *g*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Bookshalfshellvenus on March 3rd, 2012 05:51 am (UTC)
:D If it weren't for the things I can read at the gym, and what I read in bed before falling asleep, I'd make very little headway myself.

And I don't even have the excuse of full-time job plus graduate school taking up all my time. :0

Frustrating, though, isn't it, not to have all the time to read that you'd like? I know it well!