lance_sibley: (wake me up)
Not much has happened so far this week with the exception of writing my Visual Basic final exam last night. I would have posted immediately upon getting home, except that after I'd made dinner, and watched House and Boston Legal, it was after 1 o'clock in the morning and I had to collapse into bed.

I think the exam went well. It was ridiculously simple in concept - the instructor gave us the necessary files, including a Windows form layout, and we had to write the code to make it work like the sample application he provided. Some of the code was pre-written for us, which is what made it so simple - except that even after I followed all of the instructions, my version didn't quite work perfectly. I think he left a few things out on purpose. :) Anyway, I managed to fix all of the bugs and get it working by about 9:15, 15 minutes early. The instructor said it would be a couple of days before he had them marked.

Speaking of bugs, don't the rest of you programmer types just love it when you fix something that apparently has nothing to do with a bug you're trying to solve, and the bug goes away anyway? That happened at work today, just before it was time to go home. I didn't believe that fixing the seemingly-unrelated bug had fixed it, but I took my change out and the bug popped up again, so I guess I fixed it after all without meaning to. :)

Anyway, the only outstanding item I have is to clean up my assignment that was originally due last night, but for which the deadline was extended to Sunday morning. I think that all I have to do is make sure that all of my functions and subs are laid out within their respective files in alphabetical order (the instructor likes that, even though Visual Studio has a facility that allows you to jump directly to any method).

So yeah, as I said, when I got home last night I watched House and Boston Legal while eating dinner. House was outstanding as usual, and watching a new episode reminded me that I'd promised [ profile] kosst_amojan that I would write up a panel on the show for Polaris 21 a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn't gotten to it yet. I'm thinking that maybe a discussion of the House/Wilson relationship (slashers, get your minds out of the gutter :P ) might be interesting. I'll have to dig out my old programme books and see what I gave him last time I provided him with a House panel for the con - all I can remember is the title ("Our House Is A Very Very Very Fine House" :) ).

Boston Legal was equally outstanding, I thought; they did something extremely interesting. For those of you who didn't see it, the office was held hostage along with a former defendant of Denny's, and they were forced to relive the former defendant's murder trial. Doesn't sound all that interesting, but the hostage-taker was the now-adult son of the victim. Denny (William Shatner's character) had defended the accused killer as his first case 50 years ago in partnership with his father. Every so often, Denny would get a dreamy look on his face and there would be a flashback to him and his father, 50 years ago. Still sounds dull, right? Except that they used clips from an old black-and-white movie or TV show in which a very young William Shatner had played a lawyer. I want to find out what those clips were from, but I don't really know where to start - he guest-starred on a lot of anthology shows back in the 1950s, and it could have been any of them, or a film. The actor playing his father looked a little like Spencer Tracy, I thought, but he looked too old to have been Tracy in the 1950s. Maybe someone in the weekly thread on the show at TrekBBS knows the answer, if nobody who's read this far does.

I have to pop over there and change my signature anyway, to reflect the new guests we've just announced for Polaris 21: Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG-1's Dr. Frasier, as well as the upcoming Babylon 5 movie) and Tanya Huff. (I guess this means I really have to make an effort to find time to watch Blood Ties before the con...) I'm kind of missing the place, though I can imagine what TNZ has been like over the past week or so just from reading the newspaper.

Oh, and the other thing I should mention is that the nomination period for the Constellation Awards is fast coming to an end (the deadline is April 15). The nomination ballot is available from the nomination guidelines page, here.

First, though, I want to get caught up and see what you lot have been up to over the past 48 hours. Later.
lance_sibley: (Intense)
Where has the week gone?

Work continues to go well - I've spent the last two days trying to solve a nasty problem with an export-to-Excel function on the website taking far too long, and I think that a solution is in sight. I managed to get about half of it coded before I had to leave around 5 to get to my VB class.

We got our results back tonight from Tuesday's quiz - I got 33 out of 35, for 94%. It was funny - when I turned in my answers, the instructor looked at me quizzically because in a stretch of something like 14 answers, 13 of them were "B". He said, "I guess I should have mixed them up a bit?" I had expected that I would have gotten at least a couple of them wrong, but I wasn't about to go back and second-guess myself, and it turned out to be the right decision - my two incorrect answers were to later questions. (I suppose I ought to have a look and see what the questions actually were, and try to find out the correct answers...)

Tonight we didn't really have a class per se, but we were to use the three hours to work on our second assignment, the due date of which has been pushed back 5 days to April 8. Two of the five of us in the class didn't bother to show up, and a third only came in for about five minutes because he'd forgotten to save his work to date on a USB key or email the files to himself, so he couldn't work on it tonight. I was the only one who stayed right until 9:30, actually, despite the fact that I would have much preferred to come straight home because I need sleep. However, I made some good progress, and now I just need to make my output prettier, and finish one more section. I hope to be able to get that out of the way this weekend, and then I'll be able to answer all of the Polaris-related emails that have been piling up in my Inbox (along with several responses to comments here).

Edited to add: I had meant to post this year's Hugo nominees, which were announced this morning. And the nominees are... )
lance_sibley: (Crack - by Raelala)
It's been a busy weekend... yesterday I met up with [ profile] summ3r_daze for coffee around 2. We spent the time chatting about various topics, and at one point she asked what time it was. I pulled out my cellphone and we realized it was just after 5, and we'd sat there for three hours! I'm surprised the staff didn't come over to harass us about buying more coffee if we were going to take up a table (it seemed to be fairly busy the whole time). Obviously we were both enjoying the afternoon. :)

I came home, made dinner, read the paper, watched the Leafs pummel the Buffalo Sabres - always a good thing - and decided to start working on my VB assignment. I'd been thinking a lot about how I wanted to do it, but I hadn't actually started the work yet. Eight hours later... oy. And I was still coming up against a problem I didn't know how to solve, involving navigating between multiple forms. (It seems that when you hide a form, and later reopen it, the Load event doesn't actually fire, meaning that my code to open and read a file wasn't executing - so if the content of the form changed, those changes weren't being picked up.) I finally went to bed around 7 - which is going to kill me for sleeping tonight. :(

I woke up today and halfway up the street to Starbucks, I realized a possible solution to my form navigation problem. For fear of forgetting, I took out my cellphone and called my own home number, and left myself a message describing the solution. Jeez, is that what my answering machine sounds like? Good lord, that's awful. Okay, it's 20 years old, but it's digital, not tape - it shouldn't sound like a tape that's sat in a bucket of toxic waste. I may have to ditch the phone and buy a new one that either has a better answering machine built in, or pony up for Bell Call Answer.

Speaking of Bell, I also paid all of my bills today - that paycheque certainly didn't last long. (Okay, it was only for my first three days, but still...) I discovered that my bank had raised my Mastercard limit another two grand or so - so naturally I went shopping. At Future Shop, I considered picking up the first two seasons of Numb3rs, but decided instead on Stargate: Atlantis S2 - and then I found the entire series of Alien Nation in the 2-for-$30 bin, along with X3: The Last Stand. Then I popped into HMV, which I usually avoid like the plague because it's the most expensive of the music-and-video stores, but today I'm glad I did - I was finally able to get my hands on S5 of Queer As Folk. They had the special collectors' edition, which has some extra bonus features. And they had the Pet Shop Boys CD "Concrete," which is their concert album from last May, which was recorded with the BBC Concert Orchestra and directed by Trevor Horn, and features Rufus Wainwright singing "Casanova In Hell," Frances Barber singing "Friendly Fire," and Robbie Williams singing "Jealousy".

So yeah, as I said, that paycheque didn't last long...

Anyhow, back to my VB assignment for a bit. I hope my brilliant idea actually works...
lance_sibley: (Strike)
I managed to shut off three alarms without waking up this morning - pretty clever considering that they all require me to get out of bed - but still woke up around 7:15 and got into work around 9:20, thanks mostly to the subway and bus both being there when I arrived on the platforms. I had another fairly good day, solving another bug (this one was tricky - it took me a day and a half) and making some good progress on another.

I really must remember to put a coffee mug into my backpack on Monday. What's the use in there being a kitchen and a coffee maker if I don't have anything to drink the coffee from? I've been carrying so much stuff with me, however (1200-page ASP/C# textbook, newspaper, novel, notebook, and on Thursday, my VB textbook and today, my change of clothes for bowling) that I've been afraid that I would break a mug if I tried taking one with me. Now, naturally, I remember that I have an unbreakable Starbucks travel mug...

Bowling tonight was pretty good: 155, 170, 182. [ profile] h8torun had an excellent finish to the evening, getting her first-ever turkey. I'm not sure who was more excited - [ profile] h8torun this evening, or Randy earlier this year when he got his first-ever 200 game. It's neck-and-neck, though at least [ profile] h8torun didn't get so excited she twisted her ankle jumping up and down the way Randy did. :)

There were two mishaps, but fortunately neither one of them was too serious. Mario stuck to the lane just as he was throwing a ball and twisted his ankle. He was in some pain (I'm not sure which hurt more - twisting his ankle, or throwing a gutter ball), but it seemed to go away, and he managed to bowl a 244 in the second game (which we won by 170 - coincidentally, my score). Then Bridgette went outside for a smoke during the break, and despite being told by Spencer's husband1 that it was snowing out, she didn't believe him, and she went outside without changing her shoes. (I guess she hadn't noticed that he'd gone upstairs and outside for a smoke after their first game rather than waiting for the break? So he should have known what the weather conditions were like?) Naturally, she got her shoes wet, and all the baby powder in the world won't help when you do that. She stuck on the lane as well and ended up about six feet past the foul line.

Anyhow, we ended up taking three points, as we also won the third game.

I wouldn't have minded going out tonight if it weren't for a) the snow, b) being exhausted, and c) I'm going out tomorrow night. Oh, and d) I have some friendslist and TrekBBS reading to do. I really should start on my VB assignment at some point as well. Maybe Sunday evening, since Desperate Housewives is a repeat and there doesn't seem to be a new Studio 60 either.

1 - yes, I know he has a name.2 It's just that I know I've mentioned Spencer before, and well, he's hot. His husband? Not so much. Call me shallow.

2 - which I can't recall at the moment. Whaddayawant from my life? Hak nik mein cheinik.3 I think it's Bill, but I wouldn't bet my life on it right now. (Edit to add: I remembered it this evening. His name is actually Rob. See? I'm shallow. ;) )

3 - which is Yiddish for "don't bang on my teakettle". Or as close to it as I can remember in my current sleep-deprived state.
lance_sibley: (Happy In My Pants - by Raelala)
We got our midterm results back tonight - I got 87/95, for a mark of 92%. The computer the instructor used to mark our exams couldn't add, however - it counted 45/50 on one side of the punch card (yes, punch card) and 41/45 on the other despite having marked 87 of my answers as being correct. Apperently I'm not the only one who had this problem; the instructor took our exams back to correct the marks.

We also got our first assignments back, and I got 100% there. The instructor said that if he'd wanted to be really picky, he'd have taken a couple of marks off. Apparently my comments are too verbose. Oy. Oh, and we got our second assignments tonight. This one's going to take quite a bit more work - I don't know where I'm going to find the time now.

First day of work tomorrow. I should be in bed, I suppose, but I only just finished dinner...
lance_sibley: (Hmm  - by little_icons)
We finally had the midterm tonight in VB class, though only four of us showed up. I think I did reasonably well, though again there were a few questions where I blinked and said to myself, "What is he asking?" I guess that when the questions are short (95 multiple choice or true/false questions), it's hard to phrase them in such a way that the questions themselves don't give away the answers. I managed to finish the test, and go over all of my answers once, in about half an hour. (I did discover two questions which I think I had answered wrong, and changed my answers. We'll see whether I should have left well enough alone on Tuesday.)

When I walked into the classroom around 6:15, the instructor told me that he hadn't gotten the assignment I emailed him on Tuesday night (and which he had witnessed me emailing to him) - it seems that George Brown's firewall blocks emails from Yahoo. Looooovely. (This was never a problem in the C# class because the instructor had us email our work to a non-college account.) He had a diskette with him tonight, though, so he just told me to copy it onto the diskette and give it to him tonight.

It's been all over my friendslist already, but for the three or so among you who aren't connected to one of my various networks of friends except for through this LJ, John Inman, who played the flamboyantly (yet somehow, simultaneously ambiguously) gay Mr. Humphries on Are You Being Served and its sequel Grace And Favour (aka Are You Being Served? Again!) passed away today (well, yesterday, now) at 71. Here's the BBC obituary.

I've seen pretty much every episode of both shows more times than I can count; I think I started watching it when Joe and I moved in together, as he was a big fan of the show, and I continued to watch it every night at midnight on YTV right up until a couple of years ago. I always loved his interactions with Mrs. Slocombe, and I think that he probably performed the best spit-take I have ever seen in my life, in the episode "The Hero", when everyone is trying not to mention that Captain Peacock has been discovered to have a boil on his rear end:

Capt. Peacock: I must say, any resemblance between that and tea is purely coincidental.
Mr. Lucas: That's because they never bring the water to the boil.
Mr. Humphries: *spit-take*

(As I said, I've seen every episode more times than I can count.)

I was surprised to learn that he was only 71. I don't know if it was the prematurely grey hair, or just the fact that I knew that the show premiered in 1972, but I had figured he was older. (In fact, it seems that most of the principals from the show are still alive - Frank Thornton, who played Captain Peacock, just finished a movie, and Nicholas Smith, who played Mr. Rumbold, was in the Wallace & Gromit movie and was in another, more recent, movie as well.)

I was also a little surprised to learn that he was gay, since I remember seeing an interview with him in which he expressly stated that there are certain "things" that Mr. Humphries would likely do that he wouldn't. I guess those were different times, though - and, in fact, in the clip on the BBC website in which they interviewed Frank Thornton, he actually says that John never actually meant to play Mr. Humphries as overtly gay, though that was a valid perception - he was just supposed to be a mama's boy. Again, I suppose, they were different times... but I think most of the audience perceived the character as gay, regardless of the intent.
lance_sibley: (Demons Of Stupidity)
I went to class tonight, all prepared to write the midterm... and there were only something like 5 other people there tonight, and nobody else seemed ready because - get this - the instructor had forgotten to post on the class website that the midterm was being rescheduled for this evening.

Come on, people! It was supposed to be last Thursday, but class was cancelled due to the weather. When did you think it was going to be?

So now we're having it this Thursday. Argh.

Add to that, the instructor wanted the assignments (which were due tonight) handed in on a diskette, of all things. When I first learned that, I said to him, "Do you really mean a diskette? Not a CD?" and he confirmed it, and said that if anyone didn't have a diskette, not to bother buying them - he'd provide them. So I said that I would need one. I repeated that the next time the topic came up. So, tonight, does he have any diskettes with him? No! He said, "Nobody asked for one." *headdesk* So he said that we could just email a zip file to him containing all the files, which is what I ended up doing.

Anyhow... interview tomorrow afternoon, so I'm off to bed. I kind of wanted to go to bed an hour or so ago, but I got caught up in "Gay Marriage Debate #647" and "Should Hate Crimes Be A Distinct Class Of Criminal Charge? Debate #428" over at TrekBBS.

*headdesk*s all round.

Hot stuff!

Feb. 28th, 2007 01:25 am
lance_sibley: (hot - by Raelala)
We got our quizzes back in VB class tonight - I got 34/38, for a mark of 89%. What's annoying is that on one of the four questions I answered incorrectly, I had changed my answer from the correct one. *headdesk* We have the midterm on Thursday (yeah, I know... a 38-question quiz and the midterm within a week of each other?), so I should probably review chapter 7 of the textbook at some point in the next two days.

But that's not the hot stuff I refer to in the subject of this entry. To set this up: I'm not normally one for watching entertainment gossip shows like Entertainment Tonight. However, I had Global on to watch the news while I ate dinner after getting home from class, and after the news, they show Entertainment Tonight Canada. Normally I would have changed the channel, but in the intro, they showed a snippet of a black and white photo and said, "Guess which A-list Canadian male star was seen in a passionate kiss with another man!" Naturally that got my attention. *grin* Equally naturally, they didn't actually show the full photo or identify the person until the very end of the show.

Behind a cut for those who aren't interested, but I'm telling you, no matter what you think of him as an actor, this is *hot*. )

Whoa. *grin*

According to the website where I found the photos (fortunately, Global hadn't bothered to remove the watermark when they showed them on-screen so I was able to find them fairly easily :) ), these were taken for the play Wolfboy in 1984. The other hottie is Carl Marotte, who's also been pretty busy in the 23 years since these photos were taken (and who, unfortunately, hasn't aged anywhere near as well as Keanu). You may have seen him in "Skinwalkers," "Murder In The Hamptons," "The Pentagon Papers," "Highlander: The Raven," or "The Facts Of Life Reunion." ;) (Hey, this means I'm three steps away from Keanu - the guy who first gave me the nickname "boy who can't say no" was in "The Pentagon Papers" too.)
lance_sibley: (Strike)
I woke up a bit on the late side today, having worked for three or four hours last night on one of the end-of-chapter projects for my VB class. It was frustrating, as I wasn't having an issue with language syntax or creating the form in Visual Studio - it was actually trying to work out the logic. The problem was to create a stopwatch which will display the current clock time, the active elapsed time, the paused time, and the total of both. The active time was no issue at all, but the instructions said that only two timers should be used - one which fires once per second and updates the clock time (easy peasy) and one which fires once per millisecond. Trying to figure out how to calculate how long the stopwatch was paused for was giving me a headache. (It wasn't as easy as it sounds, because there also had to be a button that would reset everything except the clock time to zero. Otherwise I could have just calculated the difference between the current time and the time the stopwatch was started, and subtracted the active time.) I finally finished it up around 6 this morning when I figured out how to use the TimeSpan data type. Argh. I'm wondering whether I solved it in an unnecessarily complex fashion. Maybe I should email the instructor and ask him.

As for bowling... my arm was feeling a bit better at the beginning of the night - it was no longer painful to straighten my arm completely - but it flared up early in the first game and by the end of the night, it was the worst it had felt in quite some time. My scores were mediocre: 167, 149 and 166. I missed about three easy spares in each game, as I was pulling the ball left (all of them were in the right corner, as I recall), which made it even more annoying. (I came close to sparing another 6-7-10, though. Two centimetres to the left...) And to cap it all off, we lost all three games (though we were bowling without Randy, as he had to work again this week, so it was a miracle that the first game was close and the third game was so close that it came down to the final frame).

What nearly made the evening a disaster is that about halfway through the third game, after [ profile] h8torun came off the lane, and as I was about to go up, she slipped on the step. I instinctively reached out to grab her, and she instinctively reached out to grab me. We managed to grab onto each other, but she had thrown out her right arm and I had grabbed her recently-dislocated wrist, which she still has wrapped. Judging from the way she finished the night, though, I didn't seem to have done any damage. Whew.

I'm supposed to go out with [ profile] cuteteenboy tonight, but he has yet to call. My cellphone died at some point between the bowling alley and home, and is currently charging, so [ profile] cuteteenboy, if you still want to go out and you see this, call the land line. It's the same number you called the other night.

My condolences to [ profile] plaidlibrarian as the Liberals lost yesterday's byelection in York-South Weston, on which he was working. The funny thing is, I know Paul Ferreira, the NDP candidate who won. He bowls on Wednesday nights. Yeah, yeah, I know... big surprise. I know everybody. Mario and I were talking about him tonight - it seems Mario doesn't like him much. I don't think we finished the conversation, though, so I don't know if he ever said why, apart from him being a "typical politician". *shrug* I don't know, he's always been nice and friendly to me, as has his husband.
lance_sibley: (Opportunities)
I got an email yesterday from one of the recruiters I'm dealing with, setting up an interview for Friday afternoon. This is the job for which I took the technical test a couple of weeks ago. I just have to figure out how I'm getting there, since the recruiter gave me driving directions (even though I told her I don't drive). It looks like the #134 bus from Scarborough Town Centre runs right past it, though. I feel good about it.

However, I wasn't looking all that good - I was way overdue for a haircut, as was mentioned Monday night at the Polaris Exec meeting. So I called the place I usually go to, only to find out that my usual guy is on vacation, and the guy I've gone to in the past as a backup no longer works at that salon. What to do, what to do...

It suddenly occurred to me that Lee Knight, who (with her husband) runs the Beefcake/Cheesecake at Ad Astra (and who ran it at Gaylaxicon last year), works at a salon which is about a ten minute walk from my apartment. So I called around 3:45, and lo and behold, she had an open slot at 4. So off I went. I'm very happy with the result, though she put paste in my hair before I could stop her. As a result, I couldn't wear my toque for the c-c-c-c-cold walk home (well, not unless I wanted to get it all gunked up on the inside). Yeah, I could have taken the subway from Davisville to Eglinton, but between the walk to Davisville and the walk home from Eglinton I probably wouldn't have saved any time.

It's kind of nice being able to chat with a hairstylist about something that matters to both of you rather than the usual bland chitchat - though I'm sure the other customers wondered what language we were speaking when the conversation turned to author guests of honour. :) My backup guy at the place I usually go to is a science fiction fan, so we were able to talk about various shows we both enjoyed, but he doesn't go to cons, so it's not quite the same. (I did try to get him to come to TT last year, but I don't think he was there. At least, I don't recall seeing him.)

In other news... my VB instructor confirmed last night that he's giving us a week off to catch up because the textbook only just arrived in the campus bookstore yesterday. This will, of course, add an extra week to the end of the course, but that's not too terrible (both my fall classes ran past the official end date as well, though those were due to the instructors being ill). Since I already had the book, I'm more-or-less caught up anyway, though I have about a chapter and a half to review and a couple of exercises to do.


Jan. 29th, 2007 01:02 am
lance_sibley: (sleepy)
I had hoped that getting to bed by 2:30 or thereabouts this morning would have been the start to getting back on a more normal schedule, but sleeping until 2 this afternoon kind of put the kibosh on that idea.

I knew I was tired from yesterday, but that tired??? Sure, I'd only gotten about four or five hours of sleep the night before, and spent all afternoon and part of the evening at the TT/Polaris crew party, but I didn't think I needed nearly 12 hours of sleep.

The party was fun, though concom members once again outnumbered the volunteers whom the party is meant to thank for their work on the convention. It was held at a pub called "Rails & Ales", which serves the largest hamburgers I've ever seen. A couple of years ago, one of our group was heard to exclaim, "My God, that burger is as big as my face!" As I recall, it took me over an hour to eat mine. Last time we were there, there seemed to have been a decline in both the size and the quality of the burgers, but they seem to have rectified that (though the tzatziki burger is no longer on the menu :( ). I had the roast beef sandwich this time, though, which was excellent, and probably had as much meat in it as the burgers.

People started to trickle in around 2 (I'd gotten there early to meet [ profile] gurudata and put together prize packages). The "who am I?" character guessing game went over well (we all drew a slip of paper on which was printed a character's picture and name, and people had to ask yes/no questions to try to guess who everyone was), though people guessed who I was fairly quickly in both instances. Once someone guessed the show a character was from, the game was usually over within the next two questions. For instance: "Are you male?" (yes.) "Are you from a Star Trek show?" (yes.) "Original?" (no.) "Voyager?" (yes.) "Are you human?" (no.) "Are you Tuvok?" (yes.) I think the round in which I was playing Seven of Nine went even faster, though I joked that they probably would have gotten it in one if I had just thrown out my chest and sucked in my stomach. (Well, maybe two - they might have guessed T'Pol first.) The longest any round went was when someone was playing as Buck Rogers.

We then spent some time trying to come up with false rumours to spread about other members of concom, but there wasn't a whole lot of creativity in the room at that point. ([ profile] elizard100 said she was thinking about starting a rumour that I'd been turned straight, but she figured nobody would buy it.) I suggested that [ profile] yellow_freshia (who is a librarian) secretly likes to fold the corners of pages over to mark her place. She then demonstrated her amazing ability to walk at a near-normal pace with a book balanced on her head.

So that was yesterday, and explains, perhaps a little, why I was so tired last night. And now I'm probably not going to get to bed until 5 or 6 again, because I spent all day today reading yesterday's newspaper and watching TV.

I'm not sure what compelled me, but I watched both The Simpsons or Family Guy tonight, for the first time in ages. I rather enjoyed much of FG - I laughed out loud a couple of times, at the "Wrath of Khan" spoof and the "Anchors Aweigh" bit (which went on, as FG bits often do, a little long, but I guess they had to get the most bang for the bucks they spent on getting the rights to the clip?). I then switched over to Desperate Housewives, which was a repeat. I could have sworn that the Globe TV listings said that tonight's episode was going to be a new one... but I watched it anyway, and thus failed to realize that I could have watched The Dresden Files instead. So I'll be staying up to catch the repeat at 3. Argh. And Studio 60? They've done better, but they've also done worse. This episode seemed to be lacking a bit of zip in the dialogue; I found myself wondering when Aaron Sorkin got bodysnatched by Harold Pinter.

Then I read a chapter and a half of my Visual Basic textbook... which is as dry as dust. Or maybe that's just because I'm reading the chapters I should have read a week ago, when we were covering stuff in class that I already knew.

Now I have a bunch of job alerts from various websites to go through, as I've fallen a bit behind.

I'll leave you all with a thought from tonight's television viewing... there's something seriously wrong with whoever it is at Global Television who thought that it was a good idea to follow up a commercial for Friends4Friends (an agency of the Responsible Gambling Council, which encourages people to intervene in friends' gambling problems) with a commercial for
lance_sibley: (Opportunities)
I've had a headache for about two days now. I suspect it's been caused by one of three things: either schlepping my backpack around with far too much stuff in it during two of the past three days has thrown my back out of alignment, or switching to my boots on Monday has altered the way I'm walking, throwing my back out of alignment, or Sunday's unnecessarily long walk from Yonge and Lawrence to the TCON Board meeting (unnecessary because I could have taken a bus), slipping in the snow (because I was wearing my shoes and getting no traction) threw my back out of alignment. And yes, I know it's my back, because I can feel the tension under my right shoulder blade.

I had my first Visual Basic .NET class this evening. I was the second person to show up, which meant that I got dibs on the last used copy of the textbook that the instructor had from a previous student. I have no complaint about saving $50, though its previous owner kept the software that came with it.

We didn't do a whole lot - the three hour session was mostly taken up by the instructor going over the course outline in excruciating detail and talking about Visual Studio, which I'm already familiar with from last term's C# class (though I do realize that I may be the only person in the class who does know anything about the software, since the only person I recognize from last term was in my Internet Scripting Languages class). We didn't even log on to the network until about 8:30, and we didn't go over anything about the language itself. So even though there was supposed to be an in-class exercise, we didn't do too much of it.

On the job-hunting front, I got an email today from the recruiter I'd been talking to about doing a technical test - she suggested either tomorrow or Thursday. I asked for Thursday, since that would give me a little time to prepare (given that I was expecting that my brain would be full of Visual Basic stuff tonight). Not that I expect to need a lot of preparation - after all, I've spent 12 years of my life doing this stuff. I'd just hate to be asked a question about, for example, how to code a PERFORM statement and respond in PL/1 or C instead of COBOL (which I've done in the past, much to my embarrassment). I'll probably spend a couple of hours going through CICS manuals instead to refamiliarize myself with things like keyed sequential datasets. Or going through the list of SQLCODES, since despite the fact that SQL error codes include English-language descriptions of the error along with the numerical code, in every interview I've had I've been asked things like "What is an SQLCODE -904?" (it's an unavailable resource, usually caused by another program locking a table, or caused by someone having run a LOAD utility without running the checkdata utility afterwards - see, I still know my stuff).

I didn't manage to respond to her email until late this afternoon, after returning home from various errands, so she probably didn't see it before she left for the day. I expect to hear something more concrete about timing tomorrow.


Jan. 6th, 2007 12:09 am
lance_sibley: (Yay - by Raelala)
My grades for this past fall have finally been posted. As I expected, my marks fell a bit thanks to my butchering both finals, but I guess the instructor (particularly the C# instructor, since I didn't butcher the Scripting Languages final nearly as badly) was generous. Whether that was based on my emailing him the complete solution an hour after I got home with a note saying "just to prove I'm not a total spaz...", or because he knew that I knew what I was doing and had just made an early error that cost me over an hour, or possibly because the final wasn't weighted as heavily as I feared it would be, I'm not sure. Whatever the reason, I'm not complaining.

Course Course Title Final Grade

I'm not sure why it says that I attempted 6.3 and 6.0 GPA hours, but earned 0.0. Maybe because Continuing Education classes don't count toward a GPA?
lance_sibley: (Debbie - OMFG - by Raelala)
I just had a HUGE. FUCKING. SPIDER. casually stroll across the wall in front of me, two feet away.

I have no idea where it came from. I just hope there are no more.

(I grabbed a paper towel, shmushed it, and flushed it.)

I didn't hear back from that recruiter today - she wanted me to come downtown to her office for a short technical interview and was going to email me, but I've heard nothing so far. And I managed to get my account at George Brown unlocked today, but my grades still aren't up on the website. Strange - I could have sworn that both instructors said that they would be available by Christmas... Anyway, I popped over this afternoon and enrolled in the Visual Basic .NET class for this winter. Two classes (and the subsequent eating dinner at 11pm or later every night) did prove to be a bit tiring, so I decided on just the one. It'll be Tuesday and Thursday nights.

I can't remember now where I found this (probably in the Doctor Who forum at TrekBBS), but here are pictures of Kylie and the Cybermen, as I mentioned last night.


Dec. 19th, 2006 10:30 pm
lance_sibley: (Demons Of Stupidity)
*insert sound of choking*

That is all.

lance_sibley: (Strike)
I had a satisfactory night at bowling last night: 171, 165 and 189. All three games above my average (though that's mostly because after my slightly-below-average week last week, my average had dropped to 164 - it's now back up to 165). I was a little surprised that I was doing so well for two reasons: first, we were bowling against one of the walls (again - that's the third time this year), and second, because on the bus ride from the subway station, the driver decided to take the first turn out of the station at full speed. I was standing and holding on to a strap, and the sudden change in inertia made my elbow pop - and it was my bowling arm, which still isn't 100% after last year's injury. :( Maybe the pop actually fixed it, though...

The team only won one game out of three, though. :( Again, the other team didn't show up, but unlike the last time this happened, four of them had declared scores. Normally the use of a dummy score would mean an easy four points for us, but we had a dummy score as well, as Randy didn't feel well and we didn't have anyone filling in for him.

Now we have a two-week break - hopefully when we go back, I won't hurt my arm again (it was the first week after last year's Christmas break when the injury occurred). Mario's going to be away that week, though - fortunately he left us with a really good declared score (he had two 200 games last night).

Evidently, the secret to success for the Toronto Maple Leafs is for me not to watch their games. I was working at the computer and noticed that the game had been on for about 45 minutes. I turned it on, and it was already 5-1 for the Leafs. I managed to see Kyle Wellwood's third goal, but then went to make dinner - and when I got back it was 8-1. Watching the Rangers' goalie almost flub a shoot-in from the blue line made me recall a comment about Dave Reece, the losing goaltender in the Leafs' 11-4 win over Boston on February 7, 1976 (and I remember that date because it was the night that Darryl Sittler scored six goals and assisted on four others): they said that Reece was so despondent that after the game, he went down into the subway and threw himself in front of a train - but it went right through his legs.

I spent a little time today tinkering with my Scripting Languages assignment - I noticed an odd behaviour that I wanted to correct. According to the assignment, if a user is not logged in and they try to go to the Reservations page, they're supposed to be redirected to the Login page. Whether they log in or go from the Login page to the Registration page and create a profile, they're then supposed to be returned to the Reservations page. I thought that was working, but then I found that I couldn't get back to the home page if I decided to cancel the registration - I kept getting redirected to the Login page. After I fixed that, I tested it and went to look at the registration table to see if my new user had been correctly registered - and I found a user record with my instructor's name on it. The assignment isn't due until tomorrow, and he's already looking at it. WTF??? I sent him an email to let him know that it wasn't ready yet. Grrrr.

I also fixed another thing that was niggling at me: the "page last modified" date kept getting updated every time I reloaded a page, probably because the text that was being displayed was being generated by the code. I took out the Javascript function that I was using to display that and replaced it with an ASP function that I found that actually retrieves the time the file was last updated, and now that works nicely. Yay. So I think I'm now completely done - or as done as I'm going to be.
lance_sibley: (Part Geek All Man)
I got my Scripting Languages Assignment #3 finished about an hour ago. It probably would have taken about four hours had I not gotten off to a horrendous start by being sidetracked due to a misunderstanding of the requirements...

As predicted, the third assignment was to incorporate database functionality into the Toronto Air Lines website we've been building all term. This required the addition of a whole whack of ASP and VBScript code into the existing HTML/Javascript code.

Trials and tribulations of writing a single website using all of HTML, Javascript, VBScript, ASP and MySQL and getting it all to work together... )

Oh, I wanted to mention, [ profile] rbegley, during Tuesday's C# lecture, the instructor was talking about different technologies that are in use today for working with Web forms, and he mentioned Ajax. When he did, I actually laughed out loud - I had to explain to him during the break that you had mentioned it when I was talking about the trials and tribulations of that assignment. I thought that was an amusing little coincidence...

In other (non-)news, this afternoon I finally got around to cracking open one of those Coca-Cola Blak samples I got a few months ago. (I was feeling a little groggier than usual.) Not terrible, but not great either. It actually tasted more like licorice than coffee to me... but maybe I've just become a Starbucks snob. :)

Off to bed now, I think. I have a lot of data entry ahead of me in the afternoon. Not to mention that I have some studying to do... we were given the option of doing the C# final on Tuesday of next week so that we could fit in one more lecture on Web forms, and I (along with most of the rest of the class) took it. So I have my Scripting Languages final on Monday, and my C# final on Tuesday. But with the assignment out of the way, I have the time now to take care of that, and I can attend the TT21 Polaris 21 meeting on Sunday - I was worried that I was going to have to skip it, after telling [ profile] plaidlibrarian that I'd be there. I may even be able to go for dinner afterwards with everyone.
lance_sibley: (Happy In My Pants - by Raelala)
I came over to school this afternoon because I couldn't seem to connect remotely to the server from home. (Edit: I think it has something to do with the way Visual Studio 2003 differs from VS2005 - when I start up 2005, I'm not given the same options as 2003 gives for connecting.) We started ASP in Scripting Languages class a week or so ago, and I hadn't been able to get the lab exercise working properly. It turned out to be because I wasn't defining the "name" property of the input fields in my HTML form. D'oh! In my defense, JavaScript, which I had to use to do my last assignment, seems to refer to the ID property, rather than the name property... but my ASP page had to be coded in VBScript, not JavaScript. It's working now, though. :)

I guess I should be coding both properties instead of just the one, just to be on the safe side. Apart from this wrinkle, I'm not entirely clear on what the difference is between the two properties...

Anyhow, I got an email from my instructor a few minutes ago. I got an 85 on the second assignment. Not as high as I'd hoped, but better than the first assignment (on which I'd gotten 80).


Dec. 9th, 2006 12:14 am
lance_sibley: (Strike)
I had a mediocre night tonight at the bowling alley - 161, 149, 155. And my team only won one out of three games. Not to mention, we discovered that thanks to some clause in the league Constitution, we lost one of the points we thought we had taken last week when the other team failed to show up, because we didn't break 1050 (we had 1041).

WTF? The other team doesn't show up, doesn't declare their scores or bowl off, and we still are deemed to have lost a game against them? That makes no sense at all.

The weird thing is that it was someone who's not even the league statistician who somehow found out and filed a complaint about us with the league executive. I have no idea how he saw the scoresheets... anyway, Mario is submitting an amendment to the Constitution at the annual general meeting in January. This is ridiculous.

On the bright side, I got those changes I was making to my C# assignment completed this afternoon. I'm sure that I had previously found a way of modifying a record in the middle of an existing file (I'm not crazy, am I, [ profile] carynb? Didn't I show you how I had done something along those lines in class last week?), but that code doesn't seem to be in any of the projects I have on my computer here at home. Using the Write file access mode, I can overwrite the file starting from the beginning. Using the ReadWrite mode, it appends everything to the end, even if I read up to the point where I want to change the file and then write my changed record. A Google search failed to turn up any way of overwriting records that are in the middle of the file. So as it stands now, I'm reading the file record-by-record and writing the record to a second file, unless the record I've just read is the one I'm updating - in which case, I'm writing the updated version. Then I'm closing the file, deleting the original and renaming the new file to the original name.

I was talking to Mario tonight about this, and he couldn't think of any other way of doing it without using something called Ajax Gadgets. He suggested that I put the following somewhere in my code as a comment: "No sane person would ever do this. Sane people would use a database."

Anyhoo, I had considered going out tonight, but a) I'm sore from bowling (another sign that I was bowling poorly - when I'm bowling well, my body doesn't bitch at me), and b) it's freezing out there (according to, it's only -4 with a wind chill of -12, but it felt like -20 when I got home an hour and a half ago). So fuck that noise.
lance_sibley: (Intense)
I meant to post about this earlier, but I've been busy working on school stuff all day...


Some 59 percent of MPs rejected Stephen Harper's motion calling on Parliament to restore the "traditional definition of marriage." The motion went down to defeat 175 to 123.

Not that it was a huge surprise - this result was widely expected, to the point where people have been accusing Stephen Harper of wanting the motion to fail so that his government wouldn't have to re-open that can of worms. Besides, the vast majority of polls have been showing that the Canadian people want to forget about this issue.

Still, good news. Now, if only the rest of the world (looks accusingly south) would catch up...

In other news, it turned out that I had been missing something in my C# assignment - I'd forgotten that I needed to create a Windows Control Library to hold all of the classes relating to my address form. I took care of that this afternoon - now I just need to figure out how I got one of my previous projects to overwrite portions of an existing file for the bonus marks. I know I got it to work once, but I can't seem to get it working now. Argh. And naturally, whichever project I got it to work for is one that I don't have the code for on my home machine. It was probably one of the ones that I had worked on while logged on to the instructor's account on the college's network (since they still haven't gotten around to fixing the security issues that have been preventing us from creating files or accessing databases under our own accounts). And since he seems to have cleaned those up (at least, I couldn't find any of my work when I was over there tonight), the code may be gone. Damnit.

Remember a few days ago when I mentioned that I was having a problem with my Scripting Languages assignment, where shifting focus to a field with an error caused the validation on the blank field to raise another error? It turned out that pretty much everyone in the class had had the same problem, so the instructor told us to take out the portions that focus on the erroneous fields and resubmit the assignment by tomorrow. I took care of that today as well.

Part of the reason why I got so much accomplished today was that my C# class was cancelled. I'm not sure why - supposedly the college phoned everyone in the class to tell us, but my cellphone was charging and the land line never rang while I was home, so I schlepped over there and sat outside the room for an hour before someone finally came up from the office and put up a sign. There were two other people who apparently also didn't get the message, but they left before I did. But hey, I was reading the newspaper...

The other screwup happening at the moment is that the Scripting Languages instructor wants us to come in on a non-class night to write the final exam because he had missed a class. Problem is, he's proposed the same night as my C# final. I've been getting good marks, but I'm not that good. :( I had told him last night when he first proposed that date that it was the same night as my other class, too.


lance_sibley: (Default)

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