Yay life

Life has been full of nice things lately.

I went out with Allison to the Brew Gentlemen and took photos, one of which was used as the front-page photo for one of the sections of the paper. (They used one of the ones where the people were out of focus though, so meh.) But yay for my first Pillbox cover photo.

We got some nice new glass tupperware to replace our random collection of plastic stuff. I feel much better about putting food into these and sending Greg off with lunch in them.

We got a new Carcassonne expansion that came with “giant meeples”. However, the meeples weren’t easily distinguishable from the regular ones, so we added smiley faces to them. Yay happy meeples.

We went to Dave and Buster’s with Yubin and Max to play Pump It Up. It was a lot of fun and good exercise (especially given that the ITG machine has been out of commission for a while). I also got my first full-perfect combo in any dancing game. The accuracy ratings in PIU are much, much more forgiving than ITG or DDR.

I’ve also been cooking more, which is generally an indicator that I’m happier. I made a huge pot of curry over the weekend, and have been making things like burgers, quesadillas, pasta, and salmon throughout the week. Nice things there include a nice hunk of romano cheese to freshly grate over pasta and lots of fresh vegetables (in salad or steamed).

I’ve also been eating a lot this week, which is a good thing. Food is tasty.

Tomorrow is (supposedly) the usual board games with Yubin and Max. Board games are awesome and playing them with awesome people is even more awesome.

I’ve been feeling like rewriting CMU adventures lately and continuing to build it. I just need to get motivated to write code outside of work again.

Yay life. :D

Life, friendships, photo firsts (Kathleen, Ty), and photo stat graphs

life has been updated to go all the way back to my first photo.
It’s really interesting to look back and see fragments of my life from back then, and it’s also interesting how little I used to take photos. The “Photos taken today” value starts out in the single digits, fluctuates wildly (depending on the day and event) between ~150 and ~30, and then starts to creep upward in high school.
Much of this is probably due to the cameras (slower to react) and storage (small internal memories only, small memory cards). But as you start going forward in time, you start having more and more documentation until my senior year of high school hits and I have photos from almost every day of school.

Anyway, the stats page has also been updated, so it’s time for more photo firsts.

First photo of Kathleen:

October 29, 2000 in front of my parents’ house after she came over.

First photo of Ty:

December 21, 2000 when he came over for a sleepover. (The photo is tiny because that’s the resolution I took it at. Yay old digital cameras!) It’s a bad photo because he was doing silly poses for the camera.

I might post more old photos later, but for now, you can go and look at them in life.

In other things, going back and looking at old photos has made me feel kind of nostalgic.
I read an article a while back about why it’s hard to make friends when you get older, and have been pondering the idea in general.
I left my friends group in middle school to go to a special high school (and was later completely abandoned by them when there started to be conflict between our schools over funding), and didn’t have trouble making new friends.
In college, I was thrown into a new situation in a new state and didn’t have too much trouble making new friends. (Took me most of the first semester to find my group though, rather than just latching onto people I knew or lived with.)
When I moved to San Francisco… pretty much nothing. The people I interacted with were people I had already known from college, and it wasn’t until Greg visited me and introduced me to Sharon that my social life there started to exist.
I think the big difference is that, in high school and college, a bunch of us were thrown into a new situation together where we knew very few people (if anyone). We were all forced to meet people and make friends. When you start work though, you’re entering a situation where most people already have lives and friends, and it’s harder to work your way into an existing group.
This is probably also why I am not having much success at making new friends in Pittsburgh. Not that I’m really complaining though, because I do a lot of fun things with the people who are here. But it’s worrying all the same since the people I know here are continuing to move away.

Edit: Here is a graph of number of photos taken by month. The y-axis scale is logarithmic because early months had double- to triple-digit numbers of photos taken, and later months regularly had thousands (and the extreme had over 12,000).

Here’s the same graph with a linear y-axis scale.

Here’s a graph showing number of photos over time.

And here’s a slightly more obscure graph on number of days it took to take another 1000 photos. The x-axis is number of photos, and the y-axis is number of days elapsed between the 1000 photos. (Basically, this measures how often I took photos.)

Temporary files in Firefox, taxes, photos, and life

So the internet has been quite worthless on the question “Where do files get saved when you open them instead of downloading them in Firefox?”. All of the results for things like “temporary files”, “download location”, or “opened file location” assume you’re referring to the browser cache. Sigh.
So it turns out, on Windows, when you click a link and it pops up a “Download or open” dialog, choosing to open will store the file in C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Local\Temp. (My coworker reports that, on Linux, it stores in /tmp, which makes sense.)
This seems like poor design on behalf of Firefox, because it seems like it should automatically save such files to your default download location (normally something like C:\Users\yourusername\Downloads) rather than an arbitrary location that isn’t even associated with Firefox. It means you probably have sensitive data (like I was opening PDFs containing pay stubs) saved somewhere that won’t be deleted, either with a Firefox cache clear or a manual check of your downloads folder. If it’s going to use \AppData, the least it could do is save in the Firefox folder in \AppData.
Combined with all of the latest fun with Firefox (daily freezes, constant slowness, insane memory usage, refusal to properly close when you hit X, and inability to remember the last download location [seriously, it will show me one of my last three chosen save directories, seemingly randomly, when I try to save something]), I think it might be time to move off of it. You were such a great browser, Firefox. What happened?

Speaking of pay stubs, I got a raise at the end of last month, and got my first pay stub afterward today. My before-tax pay went up by $237.50 this pay period, but my federal taxes withheld went up by $304.07, so I actually make less now than I did before the raise. I thought taxes were set up so that this situation couldn’t happen. How very odd.

Life has been full of photos and games lately. I photographed the TOC on campus on Tuesday and (as usual) took photos at Yubin’s game night last night.

Max and I played a game of Carcassone where we completely tied, and we were sharing a huge field with 4 workers each in it. (The field went back and forth many times, including blocked attempts to join a fifth farmer to the field by each of us.) It was pretty awesome. Here’s the game before scoring the last field.

Kempy was also in town for the TOC, and we got dinner on Monday.

Here’s a Ben from lunch yesterday.

In other news, I have finally started working further backward in life.alanv.org through high school, eventually hoping to reach the first photo I ever took (in September 2000). I’m currently back in October of 2003 (my last year of high school), and expect to be done with it by the end of next week. Yay actually completing projects, for once.

Tartan, games, People Wars, photo firsts (Owen, Charles, Mark, Justin)

Today was Tartan production. I was supposed to do layout for sports. What this meant, in practice, was staring at the intranet and its distinct lack of sports articles that were ready for layout. I did manage to get the first broadsheet page to copy though, but that’s because it was a page 3/4 full of ads, so I just filled the remaining 1/4 with a sports commentary and submitted it. Instead, I did some copy and some photography and did some early layout for the special section. Because, oh yeah, the TOC is this week. (I’m not going, thankfully… but this means that some awesome people are back in town and hopefully I will get to see some of them again.)

Afterward, Keith, Dan, Marina, and Owen came over and we played games.

I won the game of Ingenious against Owen in a tiebreaker… up until my last play, we were completely tied (lowest color at 9, next at 11, next at 12, next at 14, and two maxed out). I ended the game with a play that increased my third-lowest color by one and won the game. It was amusing.

Won the (very short) game of CMU Chrononauts when other people patched the timeline to my character’s desired state. It lasted less than four times around.

Lost the game of 6 nimmt to Dan by one point (16 to 17, with Greg in third place at 34).

Then I won the game of Bohnanza by tiebreaker (cards in hand). Dan, Marina, and I all had 14 gold and Owen had 13 gold.

So it was a night with many (very) close games, which was a lot of fun. Friends are awesome, and games are awesome, and I’m glad that games with friends are becoming a regular part of my life.
(There was also an awesome gaming marathon with people last weekend.)

There was interesting funness Friday night when there was a party celebrating Patrick’s successful thesis defense. There will likely never be photos posted from that, because yeah. It’s amusing to me how much grad students can act like undergrads when it comes to alcohol and partying. But there were board games at that too, so I have played lots and lots of board games this month (plus the usual Thursday board games at Yubin’s), and it’s not even 1/3 of the way through the month.

I’ve been working more on People Wars’ new expansion set: Exchanges. The theme of the set is effects that hurt you but grant some larger benefit (like reducing your hand size to 1 but letting you play more items each turn, or reducing work on tasks by 1 but not working when exhausted and letting other players use the character to play cards). I’ve been really happy with how People Wars is coming along… as a game, it feels more mature than its previous variants (PPA TCG, Student Wars), and I also feel like each expansion set has a distinct theme and feel.

In any case, it occurs to me that I never bothered posting the first photo I took of Owen, Charles, Mark, or Justin even though I added them to photo stats, so I should remedy this.

First photo of Owen:

November 2, 2007 in Scotland Yard (with Sully, Sam, and Josh)

First photo of Charles and Mark:

April 27, 2006 at the SCS BBQ (this was before I knew them; can you find them both?)
My first photos of them after actually meeting them were in San Francisco on July 12, 2009 and August 4, 2009, respectively.

First photo of Justin

August 31, 2008 in front of my apartment building (when he was coming over for games)

Life, hike, (hopefully lack of a) rant, and foo

It’s the end of another four month period, so life (both stats and life) has been updated. Yay more life. There are also some photos up at photos.

Things have been funness lately. Today we took a bus and the T down to the Montour trail for a 10-mile hike. The original goal was to hike it for 10 miles, to Clairton, then continue upward to McKeesport (another 5 miles) to catch the 61C home. However, we didn’t get to Clairton until after 5:30 and I was feeling really unhappy by that point (due to the heat, humidity, and dehydration from my stupidity of not bringing drinking water), so we caught the Y46 bus to downtown, ate at the Golden Palace Buffet that wasn’t a buffet due to the dinner and weekendness, and came home to collapse.

I have also now surpassed 300,000 tagged photos. Photoshop album reports 300,951 photos tagged. This is lower than the actual number taken, since I now go through photos and delete many before saving the rest (for example, today’s trip was reduced from the 261 taken to 181 to keep). But it’s still a fun statistic. The 300,000th tagged photo was of New House (Stever?) getting ready for House Wars.
In another fun milestone, my D90 has broken 100,000 tagged photos (100,874 right now). It should overtake my D50 (105,067 tagged photos before it died, after being repaired once) at some point in the next few months.
I’ve also been noticing how more (most, even?) of my photos are now taken portrait style, rather than landscape style. I think this was prompted by the template redesign of People Wars (where card photos are portrait style now), but it’s spilled over into my general photography. Not a bad thing, just something that amuses me. (Even my portraits used to be landscape.)
Speaking of which, I released the next People Wars expansion a couple days ago, and also added a way to list cards by expansion (since the old card database was only useful for listing by type). I need a good “E” name for the next expansion. Any ideas?

I got a raise at work. Apparently I’m doing good work. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it and it feels like I don’t get nearly as much done as I should, or as other people do. But apparently that isn’t true. I’m trying to work better (9-5) hours, given my habit of just working from when I wake up until the evening. So far it’s kind of working out?

KoL continues. The new challenge path (Zombie Slayer AKA become a zombie and eat brains) has managed to get me addicted to the game again. Currently nearing the end of my second run (with good luck, I can be done tomorrow. But this is rather unlikely.) and it’s enjoyable in the same way Boris was enjoyable… less fiddlyness, more of a sense of success after each run, and more being able to push my normal character abilities. The new IotM looks amazing too. Perhaps it is time to break into the horde of Crimbo meat I have to get one.

Not much else is happening. Life continues. Life is good.

New music lately includes Alexandra Burke (sadly not available in MP3 format in the US), Josh Gracin, and Alanis Morissette (which was free after my $3 album credit and $5 coinstar credit). I have managed to keep myself from spending much more money on Kickstarter lately. This is a good thing.

Greg has convinced me to get a bike. Being the sort of “meh whatever” person I am, I will probably pick one up at Costco the next time we’re there for food. We shall see.

I kind of want to write a rant about how “social justice” and content warnings have been turned into these horrible (offensive, in a way?) concepts for me because of things that keep appearing in my (few remaining) social media feeds. But I will refrain from that for now because it will not do anything productive and probably just get me flamed by everyone.
I understand and sympathize… really, I do. I just feel like people take things way too far sometimes and overreact, which in turn makes the entire thing something I am more inclined to disagree with. And, as a concept taken too far, it really clashes with my “personal responsibility” (or lack thereof in current society) view of the world.

Perhaps this has much to do with what I consider my general movement towards being more moderate and generally trying to be more understanding of differing views. …something along the lines of, “People that disagree with you are not wrong and are not unreasonable. They just disagree with you.” Which I suppose is also dangerous because it’s an absolute (yes, sometimes people are actually just “wrong,” like if they’re arguing that the Earth is flat), but it’s closer to what I feel than the opposite.
That part is what I alluded to at the end of my last post, but I still haven’t really figured out a way to put my thoughts into coherent words, so they shall continue being unwritten.

I’ll leave you on a more positive note with photos from today’s hike because I like photos and I like hikes and I like posting. Yay hike.