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Petri Wessman's weblog

Winter hibernation

Still alive, though the recurring flu of this winter is (was) back for a short while. Feeling much better now, but we spent the weekend in Jyväskylä at a wedding and Sunday morning had me feeling like something the cat dragged in… and I didn’t drink that much. Decided to stay home and vegetate yesterday, was feeling pretty crappy – and it was worth it, now back at work and more or less ok. Managed to watch some small bit of my tv show backlog when I wasn’t horizontal in bed, so at least something good….

Otherwise it’s life as normal; nothing spectacular has happened but I manage to keep busy and entertained. I bought the board game Arkham Horror and most of the expansion packs, and we’ve been trying that out. Fun game, and even though it is complicated we’ve mostly managed to figure it out. FFG really does publish some brilliant board games; the newer Battlestar Galactica board game is also very, very good and a huge amount of fun.

Been playing a bit of EVE now and then, but it comes and goes. The new expansion does sound very interesting, I have to admit; I’m busy brushing up on my exploration/scanning skills so I can go try out the new “wormhole” stuff once it goes live. At the moment nobody knows how the new Tech3 stuff will work out. I suspect the devs are clueless there, too, and the “let’s tweak it as we go along” model is in play. I’m ok with that, as long as they do balance things eventually.

Oh, and I do have to mention my new (work) phone, the Nokia 6210 Navigator. Now, it’s not often that I praise anything done by Nokia, I’ve usually found their hardware to be ok but the software abysmal. Well, this thing is actually pretty sweet. Nice, compact form-factor, a navigation suite that actually works quite well, and software (on both phone and PC side) that doesn’t utterly suck. Even the PC Suite thingy was usable now, instead of the mind-eating horror it used to be. Go figure. It’s not a total home run.. the GPS reception is patchy at times, and in true Nokia fashion the menu choices and “which button does which logical thing” seem to be randomly assigned at times. But I don’t want to bitch too much – this is a very nice phone. I’m especially loving the combined A-GPS navigation plus compass… having a GPS map on a phone which rotates according to your own orientation is cool. As is the walking (or driving) routing guidance it can do. I’ve already used it as a car navigator a bit, and it works. Pretty well, in fact.

Life wins, slowly

Spent Sunday at the salle, Ilkka held a seminar on Bolognese sidesword and dagger techniques. Was a lot of fun, once again, and it’s really nice to be back to normal health (if not good shape, yet). I had a really long-term flu / throat infection thingy, and since that carries a small but non-zero danger of heart injury it you exert yourself too much, that meant a month+ of no exercise for me. Which was doubly nasty because the flu wore me down and the lack of exercise did the same. Finally felt well enough to come to the salle last Monday, but a month’s pause in training shows. Oh well. It’ll come back, it always does.

The training, I mean. The flu can stay away, as far as I’m concerned.

I’m also slowly waking up to the fact that Christmas will soon be here. I’ve only begun to think about presents, and only have a few taken care of so far. So… some shopping this week.

Work has been really interesting (if very busy) during the last month or so, since I’ve managed to convince my bos(ses) that doing a certain new app with Rails, with a REST datasource in our Java/JBoss main server end, is a good idea (and I honestly do think it is a good idea). This means that I’ve been coding Ruby/Rails a lot, and also tinkering with some lesser-known aspects of it like ActiveResource. It took a while to puzzle out the HTTP/XML format Rails expects and to duplicate that on the Java side, but once it’s in place it’s pretty impressive: the Rails app can now get a data feed from our server with just a few lines of code, and that feed behaves in many respects like a normal ActiveRecord database object. Cool stuff. I’ve also dived into testing with rSpec, with heavy use of mock objects and dynamic fixtures (since I want to keep the tests independent of server data). Figuring out HttpMock took a while, but now that also works.

Rails rocks, it’s by far my favorite wep app framework nowadays. Nothing else comes even close.

Added later: …though I do have to say that some of the lesser-used facets of Rails (like ActiveResource, especially with nested resources) can be pretty poorly documented, or not at all. I’ve quite often had to resort to hacking the Rails core code to figure out what the hell is going on. Today has mostly been spent in figuring out how the hell I can actually create nested REST resources. Finally figured it out, but it wasn’t exactly documented anywhere I could find. Today’s headaches also include puzzling out the exact XML format for server-side validation errors (no, it’s not what the docs claim it is) and in working around the fact that the XML formatter wants to turn all underscores into dashes in element names. Sigh.

Rails still rocks. But prepare to enter “Here There By Tygers” territory if you use some of the more bleeding-edge facets of it.

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The Wages of Sin

…are a flu, apparently. We watched some movies on Saturday and then made our way to a party – which proved to be a hell of a lot of fun. Lots of alcohol plus my introduction to the evil gizmo “SingStar” made us stay there until something like 3.30am. The next morning I woke up with a killer hangover… and sometime in the early afternoon I figured out that it can’t be just a hangover. Took my temperature and found it to be 38C. Duh.

So Sunday was spent mostly in the horizontal, as was Monday, I was in no shape to go to work. Still feeling shaky this morning and I had a robust fever last night, so I’m staying home today, too, and hoping to be ok tomorrow.

Funny thing, when I was a kid staying “home sick” was mostly cool. Now it’s mostly annoying, especially since there are lots of things that I’d like to do since I’m at home but all I have the energy for is… curling up on the sofa and reading, trying to ignore a small headache. Annoying.

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Flu considered evil(ish)

While I guess I can thank my lucky… whatever that I’m generally pretty healthy and in ok shape (would be “good shape” if I did more regular exercise), but I do have one built-in health flaw: I attract flu germs like a magnet. Where other people get a slightly sore throat, I get a clogged-up one and some light fever to boot.

So yeah, guess what I’ve been hosting again this week. Sigh. Stayed home yesterday, today was at work but decided not to go to swords practice because I’m still feeling a bit shaky. Maybe tomorrow.

This week is once again bracketed by VTES games, it’s not hard to tell that the European Championships are approaching. Last Saturday we had a mini-qualifier at Fantsu; my Kiasyd deck did ok (2 VPs) but didn’t quite make it to the finals. It’s a pretty nice deck, though, I intend to tune it some more. The final victory went to Otso Turunen, playing a fairly stock Imbued deck which seemed to be tuned pretty well. Because this was a mini-qualifier, the only qualification of the day went to Otso.

This Saturday we’ll have the second “proper” ECQ in Finland, this time in Tampere. This will be my last chance to get a qualification before the EC’s “last chance” qualifier. We’ll see.

Other than game stuff, I’ve been reading a bit: the two first books of Charles Stross’ “Merchant” fantasy series (very good escapist adventure), Stross’ “Glasshouse” (excellent take on the posthumanist scifi genre), Greg Stolze’s “Reign” (wonderful new fantasy rpg engine and world) and “Manacle & Coin” (slavery, drug use and other fun stuff for Exalted). I currently seem to be reading half fiction, half rpg material. Works for me.

I also had to ugrade our Cat Alcatraz Feline Containment System (tm). Typhoon, the small fuzzy renegade, managed to find a hole under the fence and vanished for hours on end. I finally found him in the near-pitch-black woods nearby, after searching in the gathering dark for 1.5 hours. Not fun. So I added some more mink mesh… and what do you know, the little critter found out that he could climb a tree in our yard and jump to the top of the shed from there. Sigh. So next up is something to stop the cats climbing up the tree.

Cats. Never boring.

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Snif snort groan

So do the plans of men get foiled by tiny invisible critters. Instead of trying out sharp swords and other fun stuff today, I’m home just barely mobile trying to deal with an aggressive flu+fever combo. I did manage to attend the VTES tournament yesterday, at that point I was “just” feeling a bit under with the flu and somewhat tired. The game was fun, but I just felt worse as the day wore on. When I got home I just collapsed on the sofa, and by late night I was running a 38.5 c fever. Blech.

This morning my fever was gone (as usual with these things), but I was in no shape to even drive, let alone swing swords – so I had to cancel. Not happy about that, but what can you do.

So now it’s quiet life with lots of warm drink, some reading and some watching of TV. I sort of suspect I’ll have to call in sick tomorrow, too, but we’ll see.

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