Greetings from Thailand?

So I’ve been here for a few days now, and I’m not actually sure what I can write about, since not much has really happened.

Yesterday we had food at a Thai buffet. The food was rather bland, but at least they had a large selection (including a few things I had never eaten before). Nom nom.

I bought the first season of Torchwood and the Planet Earth series here, as they are cheaper (and region free). Unfortunately, the other 4 movies I bought that were marked as all regions are actually region 3, so I will likely want to buy an external DVD drive at some point so I can watch them without changing the settings on my laptops’ drives.

Turns out that I was right, and the shutter on my D50 is shot and needs replacing. This will run upwards of 5000 baht ($150), so I’m basically going to be getting rid of it once I return to the US and buying a D90. It’s not worth the repair cost.

I still find it silly how full-service everything is. Buying something at a department store involves one person to hold the merchandise, one person to scan it, one person to bag it, and one person to take your money and give change. Restaurants aren’t much better… one person to refill water, one person to remove plates, one person to take your order, and one person to bring you food (often on a per-table basis), not to mention the people who bring you to your table, park your car, whatever. I guess labor is so cheap here that you can afford to basically hire a 1:1 ratio of staff to customers, but it feels kind of wasteful.

Besides that, we’ve been driving around getting some legal issues resolved and eating lots and lots of food. Mmm food. Mmm tasty Thai fruit.

Greetings from Hong Kong

I’m sitting in the Hong Kong airport right now waiting for the flight to Thailand. I have no idea what time it is… my internal clock is so screwed up right now. The flight last night left SFO 1:40 AM or so, and they pretty much immediately served dinner (as it was dinnertime in Hong Kong). After eating, I wasn’t particularly tired anymore, so I watched a movie (the Benjamin Button one, which was kind of weird but decent), eventually falling asleep. Woke up at some other hour (not sure when, exactly) and watched Milk and played games and had breakfast, and then we landed. I think the time here is around 7 AM, but my body is generally very confused since it thinks its around 4 PM but I just woke up (and the sun just came up).

The flight was uneventful. The food was decent… dinner was a beef and tomato stew with veggie mashed potatoes, smoked salmon, potato salad, and pear cheesecake. Breakfast was a croissant with egg and canadian bacon, yogurt, and fruit. There was also plenty of ramen and peanuts. I hope they serve a second breakfast on the Thailand leg. Food is tasty.

I brought along my mostly-broken camera with my mostly-broken lens, which is resulting in rather interesting photos as I can’t shoot at high shutter speeds, nor focus at faraway things (and certainly not at infinity). The goal is to get them repaired in Thailand (assuming repairs are significantly cheaper there), use it for photos, and give it to my parents so I can buy my new D90 in the US once I return.


Doing the right thing

Why does it always feel so weird when you do the right thing?

In fourth grade, I got back an exam that was marked with a 100% at the top and a sticker. However, several of the answers were marked as incorrect (and, indeed, were incorrect). I took it back to the teacher, who thanked me and corrected the grade (it ended up being a 91% or something).

This month, we get our bill for rent for June, which states we have a credit of $140 and, besides that, our rent for June is about $150 lower than it should be. We call the “customer care center” who tells us that someone made a mistake when entering the new lease (since we had just renewed our lease for July 2009 through July 2010, at a lower rate) and changed the rent starting May 6 instead. They tell us not to worry about it, but I go into the rental office anyway and point it out. The lady there thanks me and corrects our June/July rent and goes back to fix May, so we end up with no credit and the full amount due for June.

In both of these cases, I feel like the guilt (or even paranoia, in the second case, since they have a signed lease with the correct amount) alone made them worth correcting.
But I can’t help but feel a bit of regret.

What are the odds that someone would have looked at one particular lease in a huge filling cabinet and noticed that the amounts between that sheet and the “official” amount in the computer were wrong? Probably more than the odds of the teacher asking for the quizzes back and noticing that mine had been graded incorrectly… but still remarkably small. But what it is that makes us decide that, regardless of how good the odds are that we could get away with it (and, really, we’ve done nothing wrong, so why are we worried?), we have to get the issue resolved?
I’d like to think that it’s because humans are fundamentally good and honest but, given how I’m feeling right now, I don’t really know if I believe that.

Bleh MSN and Breadcake!

Your little bit of stupidness today comes courtesy of MSN Messenger.
When you add someone to your blocked list, you are apparently also adding them to your contact list. What this means is that, if you block sufficient numbers of people, you can’t add people anymore.
This by itself wouldn’t be too terrible… except you actually can’t delete people from your blocked list. This basically means that, once you block someone, that space on your “contact list” is filled forever. (At least, it is if you are using any normal MSN client to connect, since you can unblock and such, but can’t actually delete entries through the UI.)
Fortunately, I found this tool that will do it for you… but since MSN imposes additional limits on things, you can only remove 40 blocked SNs at once and have to keep resubmitting the page to clean everything out.

Today’s adventure in baking is breadcake.
I had a ton of bread crusts from making finger sandwiches this morning. I decided to try a culinary experiment with them, and it actually turned out really good. Em says it reminds her of cinnamon bread mixed with french toast, which makes sense because it shares most of those ingredients.

Crusts from 1/2 loaf of bread
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Cinnamon and sugar to taste

Beat eggs and mix in milk, cinnamon, and sugar. Rip bread crusts into tiny pieces and gradually mix in until crusts are thoroughly coated. Place mixture into small baking container and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cool and slice. Serve with honey.

Also, as promised, here are two of the new Student Wars v2 cards with the redesigned templates: Tim’s FA character card and the new Attachment card type (this particular one attaches to GPA cards).

Today was also the Bay to Breakers parade, which was quite interesting. I have a ton of photos from it, which will eventually be posted to photos 2.


It’s been an interesting (and busy) week at work. I left work after 6:30 every day this week except Wednesday, when I left at 6 for a baseball game and returned for more work from 9:30 to 10:30.

Monday and Tuesday were some last-minute tweaks to the login page reskin (which you can now view at and other miscellaneous foo. I don’t remember exactly why I stayed late those days now.

Wednesday was a patch release that I got pulled into. Ultimately, they found an issue and rolled back the release. It was also a A’s baseball game with various teammates. $2 tickets and $1 hot dogs are fun.

Thursday was the re-release of the patch, so I had to gackwatch that. After it went out, we found an issue with the new login page that I had caused by checking in an incorrect configuration. This resulted in an emergency release that lasted until 11:30, so I didn’t get home until 11:45. I didn’t mind staying, since I had caused the issue, but felt really bad for all the other people that got pulled into the mess. Meh. I guess we learned some valuable lessons about the importance of peer reviews and testing differences between internal and production environments. And at least the problem didn’t cause any breakages, persay… just annoyance. I’m also incredibly thankful that it was only a small config change, which meant the fix could be deployed in about 2-3 hours instead of requiring a full code release, which takes around 6 hours to stagger.

Today was the Sandbox release. I fortunately didn’t have to work it, but I stayed late anyway for the food and to finish up some refactoring work.

Next week will be similarly busy because I have some stuff I want to finish and get checked in before I leave for Thailand. Hopefully I won’t need to stay late often, though. I’m tempted to go in tomorrow to do some work because there’ll be leftover food from tonight and I really want to get the next project (which is awesome and a lot of fun) done, and also to verify the checkin I made today at 6.

I leave for Thailand for a month on May 23. Internet access will likely be spotty, so you should contact me through email.

I should sleep soon, as it is almost 2:30. I have been working on the redo of Student Wars v2 for the past 3 hours or so. It’s coming along nicely… I’ll post some cards next time.