Entries for January, 2009

Ah, a retrospective post. If there's one thing I think everybody should do this year: write about your lives. I don't even mean on Tabulas - anywhere. Write. In a journal, on a sheet of paper ... anywhere. It does not matter you think there's nothing to write about or that it's not interesting. You're doing it for yourself - I would hope, at the least, you find your own life interesting. The benefit of online journaling is the convenience of it - my most honest posts come at the tail end of a draining day, where I just need to vent. Best therapy ever. And although I cringe with embarassment when I read my old posts, it's also reassuring to know that I have grown this year and it is embarassing.

I was just going back through some of my past entries for the year (333 entries!), and it was nice to rehash so many of those memories. Lots of smiles ... but time to leave that in the past!

A couple things I'm going to work on for 2009: not dwelling in the past so much and accepting the uncertainty of life (I'm generally good with this, but I had flashes where I tried to control situations I couldn't). 2009 might turn out to be a rather tumultuous year (Let's hope the economy holds out) ... but so far I feel very optimistic.

Good bye, 2008 ... and hello, 2009!

Time to head off to a New Years party ... adios!

Currently listening to: Kanye West - Stronger
Posted by roy on December 31, 2008 at 06:05 PM in Personal | 3 Comments

I love random connections between strangers. A couple of months ago, a couple of us were hanging out at a bar until closing time. One of the guys who worked there (guess it was a busboy) came around and said, "Closing time ... you don't have to go home..." to which I naturally responded, "...but you can't stay here." (Confused?) I thought it was a cool moment - I love it when there's that instant level of understanding between two people of what's going on.

Anyways, hope all of you had a safe and wonderful 2009. So far, I've learned that the word "discharge" (noun) is an excellent word to use when playing Catchphrase.

There've been a couple of articles stating that 2008 may be the least favorite year for many people under 70, given the economic turmoil that we're in. So for those people who had a bad 2008 for whatever reason, here is my second-favorite Semisonic song just for you:

Semisonic - This Will Be My Year

Thursday's crush is a Friday night rush
And a Monday morning cry.
It's the tail that you keep chasing
And it gets away every time.

New Years Eve and it's hard to believe,
Another Zodiac's gone around.
While you drank yourself high on hoping,
And watched the ceiling spin from the ground.

Counting down from ten it's time
To make your annual prayer.
Secret Santa in the sky,
When will I get my share?

Then you tell yourself
What you want to hear
'Cause you have to believe
This will be my year.

Pound your fist and cross it off your list,
But you know you're not that strong
When the man at the stop light catches you
Singing along to a brand new song.

Well maybe it's trash or the overnight smash
That brings a ship crashing through your wall
So you can make your grand departure
From a world getting way too small

One wheel in the ditch another
Spinning in the air
Put your pedal down to the floorboards
But you're not getting anywhere

Then you tell yourself
What you want to hear
'Cause you have to believe
This will be my year.

Download linkie or listen to it here:

Edit: As I was reading the Semisonic wikipedia entry, the first paragraph cracked me up:

It was awesome, indeed. Go vandalism!


Posted by roy on January 1, 2009 at 03:06 PM in Music | 3 Comments

Does this story sound familiar? Via TechCrunch:

Blogging platform JournalSpace has ceased to be, following a wipe-out of the main database for which there was no back-up in place.


JournalSpace had apparently been around for 6 years, and will now be releasing its source code to the open source community, and possibly sell off the domain name and trademarks.

By all indications JournalSpace was smaller than Tabulas, but that still doesn't dimish the blow for the loyal users who stuck with a smaller service. My heart goes out especially to the owners - losing a six-year labor of love has to be rough. Even though Tabulas is much smaller now than it used to be (and there are suitable alternatives out there), I know if I lost Tabulas through something like a database wipe-out, I'd be devastated. I mean, Tabulas has existed for 20% of my life (it's sixth birthday is coming up this year).

Anyways, my heart goes out to the JournalSpace guys.

(By the way: Tabulas runs monthly database back-ups to S3, so I'm somewhat shielded against catastrophic database losses. I also offer each Tabulas account - free or patron - the ability to backup. Take advantage of it.).

. . .

This is a bit late, but my picks for the week 1 of NFL playoffs: Cardinals, Colts (sorry SD fans), Ravens, and Eagles.

Posted by roy on January 3, 2009 at 01:58 PM in Ramblings, Tabulas | 1 Comments

Sanjuro recently commented "Actually I find these insights into the management of a fairly big website very interesting. So keep'em coming!" I'm going to pre-apologize right now if this entry bores you to tears; just imagine the despair of the electrons who were fired onto you with futility! 

Tonight, I wrapped up a back-end project for Tabulas that's been ongoing for a couple of weeks now (dates back to early December). What I've successfully done is to place the burden of serving Tabulas images onto this server, instead of Amazon S3. Geniuses like PeteE or fdn are probably thinking to themselves: "Oh man, this would take me all of twenty minutes." Unfortunately, I was not blessed with smarts, but instead dashing good looks, so this took me a couple of weeks instead.

Back in the day before Amazon S3, everything was hosted in a datacenter on several servers I rented from EV1Servers. This included both the database, as well as the flat files. If you remember the old PDS (personal data servers), they were aces.tabulas.com, lca.tabulas.com, jbiel.tabulas.com - your account was tied to these servers.

This worked fine, but there was the issue of the servers one day going up in flames, and me losing all the data (I don't like RAID, and I only had the time/skills to backup the database and the raw files). There were also issues of scaling I never addressed (for example, what would happen when aces.tabulas.com ran out of disk space?).

Then Amazon S3 came along and I crapped my proverbial pants (and quite possibly my literal pants).

When an image is uploaded to Tabulas, I store 4 versions of the same file: a thumbnail size (small), a web size (medium), a large size (large), and the raw image. In the early days, I didn't expose the raw version, but kept it archived on a separate server. I didn't have the skills to keep file systems backed-up, so I figured if the PDS server ever went toast, I could use the raw versions to regenerate the different sizes.

So obviously, the first thing when S3 came out was to transition the raw files to an "original" bucket (ACL: private).

And then a couple of months later, I created the new bucket images.tabulas.co and started hosting images on S3 directly. I also exposed the "raw" format publicly, which pretty much deprecated the usefulness of the "original" bucket. And all this was working fine until a couple of weeks ago.

While S3 simplifies the maintenance of the server, it is still not very cost effective. The bandwidth/data storage costs are much higher than if you ran it yourself - but for a guy like me who is more interested in cutting cruddy code than maintaining servers, that added cost is fine. Well, to a certain point. When my S3 costs started spiraling into $300/month, I decided it'd be worth cutting some code.

So I created i2.tabulas.com, which was routed through my servers. i2.tabulas.com, without the math getting complicated, gives me "free" storage, with bandwidth costs of $0.0485/GB per month. S3 costs $0.17/GB per month. It's 4 times as cheaper, even excluding the storage costs.

So when a user requested a picture from Tabulas, it got routed to i2.tabulas.com; i2 would then ask, "Hmm, do I have a local copy of this file?" If so, it would simply serve that image out (using PHP's fpassthru) to the end-user. If it didn't, it would retrieve it from Amazon S3 once (and store it on the local server), then serve up the image.

I waited for people to complain about things not working, but there weren't any complaints. So I took it to the next level.

One of the problems I have is that people were using images.tabulas.co when referencing images - so even if I was telling Tabulas users the subdomain was i2.tabulas.com, people who had embedded images from other sites would constantly hit S3.

My goal was to have images.tabulas.co's DNS no longer point to S3, but to Tabulas.

But there was one caveat. When I serve up images from i2, I send HTTP headers that tell your browser the file size, as well as the filetype. I was missing this information for most images (I told you, I used to be quite lazy).

So I had to write a script to retrieve about half a million pictures on Amazon S3 and retrieve the file metadata. (Conceivably, I could use the local copy I get from Amazon to get this information, but I've had bad experiences with mimetype detection locally). When I ran this script, I noticed that roughly 6,000 images on Tabulas had data records, but missing files.

Being on a "spring cleaning" mode for the Tabulas database, I decided to fix these images by writing a script that would (1) go to the "original" backup bucket and retrieve the file and (2) regenerate the file images and (3) update the data records accordingly. Using this, I fixed roughly 5,000 of those images. The last 1,000 I just deleted from the database (hell, the images don't work, why would people want them in their gallery?).

While doing this, I realized how useless the "original" Amazon S3 bucket was - so I started running a script to delete that whole bucket (I think it weighs in at around 60GB or so - that'll save me a whopping $100/year, but it's a bucket I absolutely don't use, so it'll be good to do that).

Once I verified all images stored in the Tabulas DB has the appropriate metadata, I flipped the switch by removing the CNAME DNS record which points images.tabulas.co to Amazon S3 - now even images.tabulas.co points to the primary Tabulas server!

Of course, after this was done, I also decided to clean up any entries which had embedded images over the past couple of months - I wrote a script to go through all entries posted in the past three months, and fixed up all references from i2.tabulas.com to images.tabulas.co (although I plan on maintaining the i2.tabulas.com subdomain indefinitely, by ensuring all data inside Tabulas was referencing images.tabulas.co, I could cut down on some code.

Doesn't it seem weird that there's so much work being done just to maintain the status quo? All that work, and its success was judged by how little had changed.

But it was all worth it - I got to remove an unused Amazon S3 bucket, I cleaned up the Tabulas DB, and I made the data inside the images table of the database more consistent. And not only that, I added a feature that had long since bugged me: privacy controls on the images themselves.

In the past, you could set privacy controls on albums, but they would not be enforced on the images themselves. For example, if you got an image URL, you could easily just share it with somebody. The false sense of security = not cool.

Facebook still does this; I have an album that's set to "Friends Only", yet conceivably this link to an image in that album works. (I'm guessing the problem is compounded probably due to Akamai - CDN with auth will be hard).

Anyways, I finally got this implemented in Tabulas with just a few lines of code (G will probably snicker due to my usage of $wg, but I don't care!):

// do a privacy check if the album isn't public
if ($Image->getAlbum()->getStatus() != STATUS_PUBLIC) {
      // define the site user
      $wgSiteUser = User::fromId($wgTitle->getPath(0) /* userid */);

     // do the privacy check
      if (!$Image->getAlbum()->canView()) {

If you are logged into Tabulas and are a Tabulas friend, you can see this picture. Try logging out and hard-refreshing. Can you see it now? NOPE! Burn.

Of course, the one use case this breaks: users who uploaded background images for their Tabulas in their gallery and "Private"-ed the album to "hide" it. Maybe I'll add an "archive" or "hide" album feature instead.

I'm pretty sick of working on images, but there is one last thing I'd like to add: EXIF image parsing. There must be a wealth of knowledge there already.

So yeah, that was what I did yesterday and today. Fun!

Currently listening to: The Old 97s - Timebomb
Posted by roy on January 4, 2009 at 03:05 AM in Web Development, Tabulas | 1 Comments
  • I rarely click Twitter links (I hate, hate, HATE the blindness of tinyurls), but my hit rate is much higher if an item is re-tweeted.
  • On the topic of the crappiness of TinyURL, the best website idea of 2009: http://www.longurlplease.com/
  • Facebook's floating lower nav bar is totally useless to me. I know it's there, but I don't think I've ever used it. It's hard to discover, and I'm not even sure it's more usable.
  • I love Jimmy Eat World's songs, but their videos are atrocious. They're always just shots of the band - why not tell the story the songs paint? A music video should be judged by making people like (or at least think more) about the song it's about - Jimmy Eat World always seems to fail on this account.

Guerric re-tweeted this image from Irene on Twitter, which is absolutely hilarious:

Posted by roy on January 5, 2009 at 12:11 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Before you read further, I want to just say that I ran this idea by Corey, just to make sure it wasn't too crazy (I've long since given up trying not to be weird). So if this entry makes you think I'm going insane, I blame Corey.

For some reason tonight, I thought it'd be hilarious to prevent Tabulas users from ever using tinyurl.com in their entries. (I really hope I wake up tomorrow morning thinking it's as funny as it is to me tonight). I just imagined some spammers trying to hide their sites behind TinyURLs, and discovering they kept getting converted to their real equivalents.

After seeing the best website idea of 2008 (they launched the last week of '08) in longurlplease.com, I decided this would be worth the twenty minute investment. Over the weekend, I had added code inside Tabulas to do link parsing of entries (on save) for some new features, so it was relatively trivial for me to add a little hook that would convert the links to their non-tinyurl equivalents (using longurlplease.com's API). 

So basically, any time you try to use a tinyurl in a Tabulas entry, I'll magically convert it to the real URL. This is a pretty jerk-ish thing to do (I'm generally very against ever touching a user's content), but I'm just too tired and grouchy to care today. Plus I think it's hilarious.

I've posted a screencast of it in action at http://screencast.com/t/oOsZtUf8Jth

Why I hate TinyURL as a service can be saved for another post.

Posted by roy on January 5, 2009 at 10:29 PM in Tabulas | 2 Comments

Let me first say that I'm not a big fan of fiction; I've always been more interested in works of non-fiction. So if this review is overenthusiastic, it's simply because I don't read enough fiction. Apologies to those who are more well-versed than I ;D

My sister recently recommended I read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." Before going to bed tonight, I started it. And I was blown away. Enough to get me back on the computer to write about it.

Cormac McCarthy writes in the exact style that I try (and fail) in my super crappy short stories. I haven't even gotten 30 pages into the book, and I've already been re-reading whole passages - his mastery of words is amazing. I'm going to share some of my favorite passages so far (the absence of punctuation is part of his style, and not a typo - I'm doing a complete transcription):

They passed through the city at noon of the day following. He kept the pistol to hand on the folded tarp on top of the cart. He kept the boy close to his side. The city was mostly burned. No sign of life. Cars in the street caked with ash, everything covered with ash and dust. Fossil tracks in the dried sludge. A corpse in a doorway dried to leather. Grimacing at the day. He pulled the boy closer. Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.

You forget some things, don't you?

Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.

My favorite passage thus far, emphasis mine: (this story is about an unnamed father and boy in post-apocalyptic America)

An hour later they were on the road. He pushed the cart and both he and the boy carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks were essential things. In case they had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watch the road behind them. He shifted the pack higher on his shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the still gray serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? he said. The boy nodded. Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other's world entire.


Posted by roy on January 6, 2009 at 12:18 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

This month is gonna be brutal at work. The most significant MindTouch Deki release since Hayes, Lyons is slated for release sometime in February. As we usually do, we aimed quite high on the number of deliverable features. Just check out some of the features that are on the board - amazing what our engineering team is capable of (it's only been about three months since Kilen Woods!).

We're also going through a bunch of professional service projects that I had stalled out on at the end of December (the vacation depleted the prof services team at MindTouch, and I needed to step back into the product side). There's a huge project launch in the middle of January that is a bit stressful - let's hope we get that out without problems!

Supposedly January 5th is the most stressful day of the year, and I certainly felt that yesterday. Just getting back and having to deal with everything was hard. It wasn't so much coming back to work that was difficult, but the urgency of "Let's get things started off on the right foot." I'm starting to bring my work home more often (case in point: tonight until 1am, boo!), but it will all be worth it at the end. Just... gotta... get... through.. it (flashes of that Daniel Bedingfield song come to mind)

Anyways, I don't know what I'd do without the beaches here. There's nothing more relaxing than driving out to the beaches here and just emptying my mind of all its burdens. What *did* I do in NC? I can't even remember. Probably played Starcraft.

I foresee many beach runs this month!

. . .

So I keep giving away my digital point and shoots - I swear I've bought three or four over the past couple of years, and I keep giving them away. Anyways, I gave my Canon G5 to my parents when I was home back in October, so I've been without a digital point-and-shoot for a couple of months. I love my SLR, but I'd like to carry a smaller camera with me on a day-to-day basis for those "little moment" pictures.

I've convinced myself that I want a Ricoh GX200:


The glass looks great (24mm - 72mm, f2.5 - f 4.4), stores in RAW, it's compact, and has manual control. Plus I think the camera looks gorgeous (in that industrial, inconspicuous way).

Posted by roy on January 7, 2009 at 03:04 AM in Photography, MindTouch, San Diego | 11 Comments

Movie reviews in one word:

  • Slumdog Millionaire - perfect
  • Revolutionary Road - aesthetic

Danny Boyle is a genius. Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, (2/3s of ) Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire? What an eclectic mix of great movies.

... And I find myself awake at 9:15AM on a Saturday morning. How I desperately miss being able to sleep in.

Playoff picks: Panthers, Ravens, Giants, Chargers

Posted by roy on January 10, 2009 at 10:38 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

I knew this name sounded familiar ... it was the guy from Extreme ("More than Words"). Anyways, a nice song to kick off Saturday:

Nuno Bettencourt - Pursuit of Happiness

(I hope you feel better now)

So you got to go, but you don't know where
All that you know, is you can't stay here
What's left to do, wish you the best
In your pursuit of happiness

You say it's not me, it's just you
I'm the only one, in the room.
Asking myself why you have left
In your pursuit of happiness

All the papers read
Happiness is fled
Known accomplice to the sad

I hope you find what you're looking for
Your piece of mind, I want nothing more
Lost somewhere over the rainbows end
In your pursuit of happiness

All the papers read
Happiness has fled
Attempted fraud astrology

Is everybody happy?
Is everybody happy?
Smile everybody, happiness

Time can move fast now that you're gone
Can't dwell on the past, what's done is done
Starting over again, more or less
In my pursuit of happiness
Starting over again, more or less
In my pursuit of happiness

Download linkie or preview:

Posted by roy on January 10, 2009 at 01:05 PM in Ramblings, Music | Add a comment

Hit up the Spanish mission San Luis Rey de Francia with Aaron and Ashby up in Oceanside this morning. It was built in 1798 - which means it was built after UNC-CH accepted its first student. A weird historical chronological hiccup - I forget that California, as a state, is still relatively young (it joined the union in 1850).

Today was my first time shooting in RAW - I had resisted for so long out of stubbornness - wish I hadn't. RAW is awesome. Especially with Photoshop - I didn't know you could do much manipulation so easily! (readjust white balance, add vignetting ...)

I can continue to veil my photographic mediocrity behind technological advancements - sweet.

I've started using Flickr again, so I've posted the photos there.




Posted by roy on January 11, 2009 at 10:08 PM in Photography | 2 Comments

"What the Internet has actually done is not decimate literary reading; that was really a done deal by 1970. What it has done, instead, is brought back reading and writing as a normal activity for a huge group of people."

- Clay Shirky

Posted by roy on January 13, 2009 at 11:01 AM in Ramblings | 12 Comments

Back in 2002, when I was scanning my (film) positives for the web, I told myself, "There's no reason I should post pictures that are bigger than 400 pixels in width!"

Boy, I was stupid. I finally got around to getting the film rescanned a couple weeks ago and touched them all up. You can now see how little progression I've made in six years of having photography as a hobby! (Although I only picked it back up a couple of months ago, so really, I have an excuse.)

The new scans are not only bigger, but I've rebalanced the color to be of higher fidelity - the originals were a bit off. I've also taken some liberty in blowing out the shadows in some of the exposures (the 2002 pictures also suffered from a case of the "I'm too lazy to fix underexposed components of these slides").

The whole set is available on Flickr for viewing.

My favorites, rescanned and retouched:

I keep telling myself I need to travel more - maybe this'll be the year I actually take a real trip somewhere. 4 years is too long between international trips! Peru sounds really nice right now :)

. . .

Saw this quote on my iGoogle, and couldn't help but to post it: "We think in generalities, but we live in detail." - Alfred North Whitehead

Posted by roy on January 14, 2009 at 12:39 AM in Photography | 3 Comments

My sister got accepted into the summer internship program at the Poynter Institute where she'll be studying more about sports journalism - then she'll follow that up with an internship in the sports department of a newspaper (assignments are given later). Congrats, Anna!

(Posting a picture of her when she was younger in hopes of pre-emptively nipping decimating the "Your sister is hot" jokes)

Posted by roy on January 14, 2009 at 07:39 PM in Ramblings | 10 Comments

Of you guys, I know you love me. Or you at least love to make fun of me. Or something along those lines.


In an effort to show the personal side of MindTouch engineering, I've started a (group) developer blog for MindTouch at http://blog.developer.mindtouch.com/

This is not only just a blog about boring engineering things, but also about the awesome people who work there and the little stories that crack me up about everybody - I just want to give you a glimpse into what it's like to work at a small, exciting company like MindTouch.

I will also be pimping out stuff that's happening with MindTouch Deki there (I'll mostly be taking credit for everybody else's work, as I usually do) ... but I promise it won't be that boring.

So go check out the blog and subscribe to it via RSS. I've put up what I thought was a pretty funny story that happened today.

So far, I'm the primary poster, but I hope to corral more devs into blogging there - hopefully the casual setting will encourage people to be more involved.

Let me know what you think of the blog!

Posted by roy on January 16, 2009 at 01:14 AM in MindTouch | 1 Comments

My buddy Potter from high school (right) came and visited me this past week. (This photo is from our high school graduation - this was a rather anti-climatic experience as I had already gone through my freshman year of college - I walked with my class at the request of my parents). I had a great time catching up with him; he's probably one of the people who knew me from my really weird and awkward phase.

I don't keep in touch with him often (last time I actually spoke to him was his SD visit back in March), but it's always easy to pick things back up. I think what helps keep that connection is the fact that we both (more or less) ended up doing what we expected coming out in high school. We are both in careers we feel very passionate about (he's interviewing for orthopedic surgery residency programs), and we both work our asses off. While our lives are completely opposite, I think that shared passion towards our careers is something we both relate to quite well.

What struck me as I talked to him was how long we had both been going down our individual paths, and how long it took us to get there. It's been seven years since that photo, and I still feel like I'm only starting to get traction in my career. He's still got another five years of residency left! And we still got a boatload of work left at MindTouch to get to a place where we can really say we're a successful company.

It took us this long to get to where we are today - that's having the benefit of knowing what we wanted, and working our asses off towards that goal. Seven years! Seven years never seemed so short, yet so long. Makes me wonder how I'll grow over the next seven years. Or what'll change.

A scanned polaroid of Potter as he left yesterday (He's posing with my Christmas tree and my Lenin poster):

. . .

I've been listening to Akon's new album, "Freedom" all day - it's pretty great.

Posted by roy on January 18, 2009 at 03:01 AM in Personal, Ramblings | 6 Comments


Yet another sunset picture from Coronado that looks just like all the other ones I've taken ... sorry.

What a long weekend. While looking for that picture of Potter in the previous post, I ended up finding a whole bunch of old pictures from college. I finally got around to getting my scanner working with my laptop (the drivers are from 2003 - ouch), so I ended up scanning a whole bunch of old pictures.

Work, as expected, is being pretty brutal. Two immediate projects have to be launched: one big client project, and Lyons. Afterwards, I'll have the task of driving the cleanup of the MindTouch Developer Center. This is a pretty daunting task; the design doesn't lend to good content discovery, the content needs editing polish and reorganization, and we don't quite yet have all the pieces yet to support smooth single sign-on between Deki, vBulletin and Mantis without a separate home-rolled piece of software (DekiSocial). Fortunately, we have tons of content, so it's just a matter of presenting it well.

There's been piecemeal progress on MDC - Corey's graciously started trying out ideas for cleaning up the documentation, and there are a lot of suggestions on improving MDC so far. The biggest issue, for me, is the IA of MDC. Navigation between properties is atrocious. I figured I could use the blog as a starting point to start sketching out ideas for potential layout ideas. So this weekend, I worked on a very simple design for MDC:

Incomplete items in this design: logo and footer

The design itself is pretty minimalistic - I'm concerned that trying to create a fancy design will be hard to translate into the vBulletin, Mantis, and Deki. For engineers trying to find how-tos and documentation, content is king. The design should do its best to stay out of the way (hence the neutral feel). I'm not sure how much overlap there will be in structural design elements for each sub-site in MDC ...

I'm feeling OK about this design - it's not completely polished, and could probably use a passover from a second (or third) set of design eyes (thank goodness we have talented designers at MindTouch). The markdown for the design was relatively straightforward; see it in its HTML/CSS breakdown.

I got to take a break from this tonight by grabbing some dinner with Corey and Pam at Red Lobster - I was awfully disappointed they got rid of their endless shrimp promotion (sad).

Afterwards, headed over to Pacific Beach to work with Guerric on identifying bugs which must be fixed for Lyons. As we go into stabilization period, we'll be going into a "zero bug bounce" mode, where our team will have goals of closing every bug linked to the Lyons release. I had over 250 bugs assigned to me - I've triaged it down to 90 bugs (of which 30 bugs are must-fixes for Lyons).

Now I'm back home, but I have an urge to fire up the laptop and get some development work done - there's still so much UI work left to be done with polishing all the features we crammed into Lyons.

I can't wait for the weight of these multiple projects to get off my shoulders - I can't wait for February to come!

Update: I got distracted by a two-hour project. I'll write about it tomorrow. For now, I sleep.

Posted by roy on January 19, 2009 at 01:08 AM in MindTouch | 1 Comments

While learning the fine art of WordPress templating for the new MindTouch Development Blog, I had a massive craving for Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream. The craving wasn't enough to justify a walk down to Ralph's, so I decided to see if I could hit the ice cream jackpot with the 7-11 downstairs.


There is nothing more fulfilling than satiating food cravings so easily. I know instant gratification is a bad thing, but MAN, was that frickin' awesome.

. . .

I must be all Akon-ed out, cause my musical mood swung violently in the other direction (towards Blonde Redhead):

 . . .

Wrapped up implementing the design I worked on this weekend at http://blog.developer.mindtouch.com/ - a nice little 20-hour project that familiarized me with WordPress.

Currently listening to: Blonde Redhead - 23
Posted by roy on January 20, 2009 at 01:25 AM in Ramblings, Music, MindTouch | Add a comment

fatigued and frustrated. two more weeks.

Posted by roy on January 21, 2009 at 12:14 AM in Personal | 4 Comments

I'm trying to take a Polaroid a day; you can track my progress on my Flickr. I'll probably start posting them on here - they really force me to create a narrative about the random things in my life.

Today's photo of the day:

One of the bigger projects at work is a site we've been working on with Washington Post. The project kick-off was when I last visited NC (I drove up to DC to meet up with the Washington Post folks) ... and finally, we launched tonight. Three months - almost a MindTouch Deki release cycle in itself. Amazing work on that site - too tired to really talk about it (will probably just link to other people who write about it instead).

Mary, my counterpart at Washington Post, wrote a short and simple email:

WhoRunsGov.com is officially launched!

THANK YOU to everyone for getting us to this exciting milestone!! 

Couldn't have put it better myself. Now, time to move back onto the Lyons release...

Posted by roy on January 22, 2009 at 12:25 AM in Photography, MindTouch | Add a comment

Caroline posted this and I wanted to share it as well. A letter from Barack to his kids, with a great snippet:

I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much—although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential."

Read the whole letter.

Posted by roy on January 22, 2009 at 03:18 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

It was long overdue - throwing a beach bonfire gathering. With Pete in town and a need to dispose my Christmas tree, there never seemed to be a better time to throw a beach bonfire bash (ooh, alliterative!).

Pete and I went out on a mission to find firewood on Wednesday night (we knew the super-dried out pine tree would catch fire in a New York second) - with great success, we procured 25 quality logs of wood. I stored all that wood in my car; I had a lot of wood in my trunk the latter part of this week. (Don't you love that phrasing?)

While this solved the problem of the longevity of the beach bonfire (good wood is CRUCIAL for duration [did it again!]), it didn't solve how to transport my six foot Christmas tree to said party. Fortunately, Guerric convinced me I wouldn't be able to cram my six foot tree into my trunk (ok, I'll stop) so he brought over his saw so we could chop up the tree into two parts. The two parts I was able to fit into my car (a rather snug fit, if I say so myself).

So tonight, we finally met up at Mission Beach after dark (they have firepits for bonfires) to relax, enjoy the sights and smells of the ocean, and to burn the Christmas tree.

As master of ceremonies, I led the burning of the tree with the classic song, "O, Christmas Tree" (but of course, nobody really knew the lyrics). See how fast this sucker burns: (Watch in HD if possible!)

Credit goes to Guerric for the fantastic video work. That sucker did burn REAL hot - those people who are edging away aren't doing it to be safe - that thing was INTENSE.

In memory of what once was:

 (What's odd is that today, we had our delayed office Christmas party; a Christmas tree burning; and a random acapella outburst of "Jingle Bells")

I'm definitely getting a Christmas tree next year.

Posted by roy on January 24, 2009 at 03:09 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment

10 days ago was my two year anniversary in San Diego. Wow. Two years. I remember the exhilarating feeling of freedom as I moved into my own space. (One day I'll get to feel what it's like to own a place ... but for now, I am a renter)

The morning after day 1. (My bed is now in the exact location of my sleeping bag)

I've been feeling a bit motivated to change things up in my place - nothing's really changed in my place in the two years I've lived here. Maybe it's time to stop putting off all the stuff I wanted to do to spruce up my place. Hmm...

Posted by roy on January 25, 2009 at 01:52 AM in Loft, San Diego | 2 Comments

Oh boy, the economy. Everybody's writing about it. I have some thoughts which reflect my actions as of late. At the end of '08, it got pretty clear that equities were no place to be. It's not that stocks weren't undervalued (they were, and they still are), but the buyers simply have dried up. I had put in stop losses on all my positions, and my last position got stopped out two weeks ago (GE). So I threw everything into ING savings, except they keep lowering their rates (I think it's down to 2%) which makes it pretty useless. 

The government battled the liquidity crisis and alleviated those issues by pumping in significant amounts of money. But that money isn't being spent - just like me, banks are hoarding it. Even as the Fed continues to get interest rates close to zero (risking what's known as a liquidity trap - a situation that plagued Japan for over a decade), people aren't doing smart things with the money (like investing it).

In a situation like this, monetary policy fails - no matter how much the Fed makes it cheap to borrow money, people either will not borrow it, or will hoard it in short-term/safe securities (hence the negative yield on T-bills at one point!).

Obama and team are smart enough to realize that fiscal stimulus is needed - if consumers won't spend money, then the government will. The idea is they will create demand, thus getting people more used to spending money (the cynic in me also notes this gives govt carte blanche to spend money - never a great idea).

I remember thinking two years ago how silly it was to put money into CDs - the inflation rate of 2% would really cut into your 4% return! Now, I'm convinced that holding money in a 2% savings rate is a better bet, because I'm betting more deflation will occur. This is the exact mentality that's trashing the economy. (Oops)

I read an interesting point today (can't remember the blog, will post the link if I recall it) - that another method for fixing the issue from the monetary side is to convince people that holding cash is worthless, thus inducing people to spend money. One way (and it's already happening) is to drive the yield on anything "safe" to 0% (Treasury Bills, savings, etc.). What'd be even better is to make  you lose money simply by holding it - this is inflation. As the value of each dollar declines (as the govt prints more money), the purchasing power of that dollar diminishes. Unfortunately, even with all the cash the Fed is pumping into the system, there seems to be more deflationary pressure than inflationary pressure.

Since people aren't responding to this (and this is the point the blog made) - it might be good to take Milton Friedman's idea of "helicopter money", where the government would print $2 billion dollars (a drop in the bucket, compared to what they're spending elsewhere) and literally shower money onto people from helicopters. By doing this, people are convinced that cash is absolutely worthless, and will start spending it into investments (real estate, etc.). In a sense, Bush did this with the tax cuts last year, but all we seemed to have done with it was pay down our debts (not a bad thing!).

So this makes me wonder: the government is doing a LOT to kick the economy back, but consumers/businesses are resisting. But what happens when the tide turns? As the billions in dollars flows back to banks and consumers, what happens to equities and the values of investments? I know a V recovery has been largely discounted, but I wonder if the pressure from the fiscal side as well the monetary side eventually causes an explosion of economic growth. Low commodity prices, cheap money, low debt ... if only demand returns ...

P.S. The low mortgage prices have even got *me* thinking about buying - if rates stay low through 2010, I can't imagine I'd pass up the opportunity to lock in those prices - just gotta scrounge together enough of a down payment.

Posted by roy on January 25, 2009 at 11:37 PM in Finances | 5 Comments

I've long stuggled to describe what the manager aspect of my job entails in a clear and succint manner. Rands in Repose, a brilliant writer (and I'm guessing an awesome manager) has written a post where he describes exactly what being a manager involves. I wish I had written this first. I'm going to quote the article in its entirety here, because everything in this post is 100% true:

A Disclosure

My management career began with a misunderstanding.

"Rands, you're doing a great job on tools development and I'd really like you to Lead the effort."

It sounded liked your standard professional compliment. Atta boy! Go run with it! Problem was, I didn't hear the capital L.

Lead is what my manager had said. Not lead, but Lead. He asked poorly and without definition and specifics, but he did ask. He was subsequently baffled two months later when I said, "I don't think I can finish this by next month, I need more time."

Him: "Why don't you hire another engineer?"

Me: "Wait, I can do that?"

I see three possible situations whereby you might become a manager:

  1. You decide. "I believe I am going to be a better manager than engineer. I choose management."
  2. You evolve. This is what happened to me. Essentially, a series of small decisions and actions where, at the end, you end up being a manager.
  3. You have no choice. "You. Manage this team. Go."

Whether you get to choose or not, there are aspects of management that you need to understand.

Management is a total career restart. Now, if you're evolving into the career, this will be less obvious, but if management just landed in your lap, realize that while you're in the same game, it's a totally new game board, and you're at square #1. You will use the skills that made you a great engineer, but there's an entirely new set of skills you need to acquire and refine.

This sensation will appear at the end of the day when you ask, "What did I build today?" The answer will be a troubling, "Nothing". The days of fixing ten bugs before noon are gone. You're no longer going to spend the bus ride home working on code; you're going to be thinking hard about how to say something important to someone who doesn't want to hear it. There will be drama. And there be those precious seconds when there is no one in your office wanting… something.

You go to a lot of meetings. You already knew this, but Managers Go to Meetings. Meetings are the bane of my existence and I consider it my personal goal to kill as many possible, but I still go to a lot of meetings. As best I can tell, there are two useful types of meeting: alignment and creation. Briefly:

Alignment meetings sound like this: "It's red, are we all in agreement it's red? Ok, swell. Wait, Phil thinks it's blue. Phil, here are the 18 compelling reasons it's red. Convinced? Done now?"

Creation meetings sound like this: "We need more blue. How are we going to do that? Phil, you're our blue man. What should we do here?"

There are other meetings out there, but you will learn to avoid them. One being the therapy meeting. They sound like this: "Show of hands, who likes to talk about blue? Or red? I don't care. Let's explore our color feelings for the next 60 minutes."

In time you will learn which meetings to attend, but when you start you will go to all of them because…

You are a communication hub. One of your primary jobs as a manager is to be a communication hub not only for all of those working for you, but for everyone who needs something from you. This means you are going to spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in random conference rooms and listening. Hard. Who are they? What do they need? Do I understand what they are saying? Should I say no now or let this fester?

Confusingly, as a manager, you often get credit just by showing up, sitting there, and nodding. As a career management strategy, the "nodding fly-on-the-wall" approach isn't proactive or helpful. But there are critical times when all that is being asked of you is that you are the receiver of the rant. Simply by listening, by letting an idea be heard, you are helping.

However, you need to do more than listen. Whatever is being said in this meeting isn't just for you; parts of it are for your team, which means you need amazing skills of…

Abstraction and Filtering. During these endless demands for your time, you do need to communicate, but if you're relaying all the information that's being thrown at you during the day, all you'll do is relay. Your new job is one of abstraction, synthesis, and filtering. During that 30-minute status meeting, you need to develop the mental filter to listen for the three things you actually need to tell the team in your alignment meeting, but in a mere three minutes instead of 30.

Your thought is, "If there are only three things I need to know, why the hell are we spending 30 minutes in this meeting?" First, I relate to your frustration. Second, the three things you need to relay are different than the three things each of the other folks in this meeting needs to relay. Third, if you blow this, here's what's going to happen: more meetings.

See, your world has expanded, now…

You will be multi-lingual / translator. Each group in the company has a different language they speak and a different set of needs. As a manager, you need to be able to speak all the corporate dialects of those you depend on. Think of the healthy tension between Engineering and QA. Remember that flame war that went on between you and the QA guy for a week in the bug database? Engineering and QA actually speak the same language, but have different goals. As a manager, you will discover an entire company of languages and goals. For example:

  • Sales cares about selling and doesn't much care how hard it is to build.
  • Marketing is passionate about brand, content, and voice and will argue endlessly for details you find to be irrelevant.
  • Tech supports talks to the customer ALL DAY, but still feels no one listens to what they say.
  • Admins speak many of these languages and have more power than you think.

Everyone believes their job is essential, everyone believes everyone else's job is easy, and, confusingly, everyone is right.

These roles exist for a reason. The groups each bring something unique to the corporate organism. You can giggle and make fun of their bizarre acronyms as an individual, but as a manager you must speak their language, because once you do, you're going to better understand what they want.

Learning new languages is tricky, especially when you're just getting started. You're going to spend 90 days being totally confused, and it gets worse because there's…

Drama everywhere. Your manager calls you into her office first thing on a Monday morning. It's clearly urgent. She sits you down and starts, "I'm, uh, making a change in the organization. Amanda is really excelling in tools development so I've asked her to take over Jerry's management responsibilities. I think this will make everyone more successful."

Wondering what happen to Jerry? Feel like you're getting half the story? Wrong, you're getting 1/10th of the story. People are messy and a huge part of the management gig is managing this messiness. Who knows what personal or professional issue Jerry has that is forcing this management change. It's really none of your business. However, it is your manager's business because the people are her job.

As an individual, you're seeing 10% of the organizational drama your manager is seeing. I know it's intriguing to get the full story, but again, it's often none of your business, and it's not your job. As a manager, you get front row seats for all of the drama in all its messy glory. This is why you have a monthly 1:1 with Human Resources. Their job is to train you how to manage the drama. This is why you need to become a great…

Context Switcher. This is your morning. Six 30-minute 1:1s starting at 9am. This day is unique in that in your 4th 1:1, your architect resigns. The guy who has been designing the heart of your application for 18 months has been poached by a start-up and had piles of money thrown at him, and it sounds like there's no way of saving him. Sounds grim. What's harder is that when your sky-is-falling 1:1 is done, you've got your next one with your QA Director who has no clue your architect resigned, and she urgently wants to talk bug database, and that's exactly what you need to do. You need to quietly and confidently forget that you're fucked and give this team member your full attention.

There will be a steady stream of curveballs headed in your managerial direction, each with its own unique velocity. One of your jobs is to not only deftly handle the pitch, however bizarre, but also shake it off and calmly expect an even stranger one.

There's a reason you'll see an inordinate amount of bizarre organizational crap as a manager. See, the individuals can handle — and should handle — the regular stuff. You want a team of people who aren't bringing you every little thing, but if you successfully build this team, your reward is that what is ends up in your office is uniquely kooky.

As these freakish pitches whiz by, you will be judged in two very different ways. First, what did he do about the pitch? Are we going to see more of these? Second, how was his composure as that pitch whizzed by, missing his nose by an inch? Does it look like he handled it or is he freaked out and ready to bolt?

Leadership is not just about effectively getting stuff done, but demonstrating through your composure that you aren't rattled by the freakish. Fortunately, one of the new tools you have to control the proliferation of freakishness is the ability to…

Say No. This is your second most powerful tool. Whether you're a manager, considering management, or just here for the Rands, I want you to pick the hardest problem on your plate. The one that is waking you up at 4am. I want you to decide and to say out loud:


You're not going to do that thing. QA can't test it. Engineering won't finish it. If we attempt to do it, we will fail and we don't fail, so the answer is "No".

You had this tool as an individual. You could say no, but you usually did so by cornering your manager and explaining, "Here is why No is the right move here," and then he'd say no.

As a manager, you are caretaker of No for you group. When it is time to do the right thing by stopping, it's your job to bust out the No. You defend your team against organizational insanity with No.

No does not come without consequences. Saying No because you can rather than because it's right slowly transforms you into a power-hungry jerk, but again, this is your new tool to do with as you see fit. Also, it's not all No, you can also…

Say Yes. Yes is how you begin building both people and things. It's not just a positive word; it's the word that provides the structure for moving forward. "Yes. Begin", "Yes, I know he's leaving. What are we going to do?" and "Why yes, we should tackle the audacious."

There will be times when your Yes needs to be unencumbered by reality, where it needs to be the inspiration that demonstrates how you perceive the unknowable.

"Yes, I think you'd be a fine manager."

Trust So You Can Scale

As a new manager, whenever the sky falls, you'll become an engineer again. You're going to fall back on the familiar because those are the tools you know and trust, but it's time to trust someone else: your team.

If I could give you one word, a single, brief piece of management advice, the word would be "scale". Your job as a manager is to scale the skills that got you the gig in the first place. You used to be the guy who did the impossible when it came to fixing bugs. Ok, now you're the guy whose entire team does the impossible bug fixing.

It's time to translate and to teach what you're good at to those who you work with, and that starts by trusting them to do that which you previously only asked of yourself.

The benefits of defining and maintain this trust create a satisfying productivity feedback loop. By trusting your team, you get to scale, and scaling means you hopefully get to do more of what you love. The more you do, the more you build, the more experience you gather, the more lessons you learn. The more lessons you learn, the more you understand, and that means when more shows up you'll have even greater opportunity to scale.

Posted by roy on January 26, 2009 at 09:13 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

Read the funniest thing today: (emphasis mine, with some editing for conciseness)

I have – framed above my desk – a $100,000,000 note – serial number AA23100220 and signed by Dr G Gono – the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

This – it seems – offers the solution to all our deflationary woes – one that doesn’t require any helicopters or even the printing of any money.  It is more than sufficiently irresponsible.

Ben Bernanke should resign forthwith and Dr G Gono should be appointed as Chairman of the Fed Reserve. 

Nothing need change.  Monetary policy can remain in the effective hands of the other governors – but the appointment of Dr Gono will rapidly raise inflationary expectations – and the new inflationary expectations should induce the spending of the massive hoard of saved dollars – providing all the economic stimulus needed.

Dr Gono may be the wrong man for Zimbabwe – and the right hand man of a dictator.  But he is what America needs right now. 

Do you think we can get him confirmed?

Backstory: The Zimbabwean dollar, under Dr. Gideon Gono, has been undergoing rapid devaluation spurring hyperinflation. According to Wikipedia: "According to Central Statistical Office statistics, annual inflation rate rose to 231 million percent in July 2008." Check out the chart, and notice the y-axis is in POWERS of ten.

You can currently buy a $100,000,000,000 ($100 billion) banknote on eBay for under $10. That's sickening. I can't wait until the $100 trillion bills come out next month.

Since the US' primary concerns are deflationary pressures (lack of demand, everybody hoarding cash) ... the joke is that by hiring somebody so inept at managing the money supply ... we'd force everybody to spend, thus getting us out of this slump!

Or maybe that's just funny to me.

Posted by roy on January 28, 2009 at 12:46 PM in Ramblings, Finances | 1 Comments

When I was in school, I hated chemistry. But I was so deep into it that it wasn't worth it to quit. So to balance out one set of finals I hated taking (not like I ever went to class), I decided to take economics; an area I have an amateurish, non-professional interest in. There's a post in the NY Time blog which (indirectly) poses the question: "Why has the field of economics made so little progress in fifty years?" If you look at any other scientific field, noticeable progress has been made. But with economics, we seem to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again (but whether econ is to blame, or bad players is debateable).

There was a comment in that post which reminded me of a post I was going to write.

Who cares what the multiplier is? The government has got to make clear what it is going to do or not going to do so that private investors can fix that variable in their forecasts. It’s more important for the government to make a public commitment to do something definite and then stick to that than it is what the government does in my opinion.

What follows is purely speculative, and lacks the deep thinking that you should expect. Take all of this as fiction; I'm sure somebody smarter can refute most of these claims. You're reading this on a blog, after all.

Here's a short list of companies that spring to mind which have been affected over the past year: IndyMac, Lehman Brothers, Citicorp, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, & AIG (there's a lot more, but these are the ones I want to focus on).

In the case of companies like IndyMac, the process was relatively straightforward: customers, fearing their deposits, made a run and the FDIC seized the bank. Company files bankruptcy, assets and liabilities get sold off, and the stakeholders get paid off.

In the case of companies like Washington Mutual, the FDIC seized the bank, but immediately turned around and sold the assets and liabilities to JP Morgan. However, even the debtholders got shafted in the process for WaMu.

When you are investing in a company, there's a couple of different ways to do it; each type of ownership has its benefits and disadvantages. But when it comes to bankruptcy and the order you get paid, the general order is: senior debt, junior debt, preferred shares, common shareholders. If you own stock, it's generally common. Senior debtholders, ala Wiipedia: "In the event the issuer goes bankrupt, senior debt theoretically must be repaid before other creditors receive any payment."

It must have come to a surprise that the FDIC decided to take all the good parts of the bank and essentially give it to JP Morgan, and leaving everybody else (including those who thought they got highest priority during liquidiation) holding the bag.

This by itself isn't so troubling, but then the FDIC followed that up by trying to force a marriage of Wachovia and Citigroup for $2.2 billion (the cynicist would note that this would help replenish Citi's capital reserves by being able to tap Wachovia's rich deposit base). So maybe it was another government-assisted firesale (remember Bear Stearns for $2?)... but then Wells Fargo swooped in and offered $15.1 billion in stock for Wachovia. Intentions of the FDIC aside, in this case, a potentially troubled bank (remember that trust is the only thing that prevents bank runs) managed to get all of its shareholders and debtholders paid. But if the FDIC had its way, they would have been paid a lot less.

I don't want to fixate on every individual story (I'm sure there will be a lot of books on that), but on the fact that the government is acting in a very erratic and unexplainable manner. Some companies they save (AIG), others they leave to burn (Lehman). Some they seize and give away assets (WaMu) while others they arrange a forced marriage (Citi and Wachovia).

Wells Fargo demonstrates that private money is going to pull us out of this mess - while I don't disagree with fiscal approaches to getting us out of this mess (the $900 billion stimulus package), ultimately, private money has to come out and play.

And unfortunately, nobody knows the rules of the game. When the Nordic countries were undergoing a crisis in the 90s, the government did not nationalize immediately. Norway, in particular: (emphasis mine)

The process used in Norway was to assess the shareholder capital of the bank.  Shareholders were given FIRST RIGHT to recapitalise it.  If private money could be raised they kept the bank.  If they were short capital the government loans (which had previously guaranteed liquidity) were converted to equity and the old equity was written down.

I'm not saying that nationalization is the right or wrong answer; all I'm saying is that there needs to be some due process to this whole mess, and until people know how the game is played, everybody's gonna sit on the sidelines.

What worries me the most about the stimulus package isn't the debt (Keynesian economics is in such vogue right now!) or the wasteful spending; it's the fact that it may not stimulate the economy. A bunch of money will be thrown into the system, and it won't provide the necessarily stimulus. What, then?

And while I'm happy that we're continuing to fund AIDs/STD research, why was $355 million alloted to it (page 147 of the bill). I'm not sure that AIDs scientists are the ones who are feeling the pinch right now. How about allocating that towards the Rust Belt and Detroit and finally providing transition money to those industries we still hold onto, but are no longer really competitive? (Steel, car manufacturing...)

When it comes to fiscal discipline, I stand pretty closely with the Republicans. I understand the need for a fiscal stimulus (our monetary toolbag is empty), the way we're spending it seems pretty unfocused. (And for the record: more "tax breaks" is exactly what we *don't* need - we just need to spend more in areas where blue collar employees will feel the benefit).

Posted by roy on January 28, 2009 at 03:46 PM in Finances | 1 Comments

This photo demonstrates my lack of foot-eye coordination:

Not. Even. Close.

Posted by roy on January 28, 2009 at 11:08 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

This was one of my favorite Oasis songs.

Oasis - Don't Go Away

Cold and frosty morning,
there's not a lot to say about the things caught in my mind
And as the day was dawning,
my plane flew away with all the things caught in my mind

I don't wanna be there when you're coming down
I don't wanna be there when you hit the ground

So don't go away,
Say what you say,
Say that you'll stay,
Forever and a day in the time of my life,
'Cause I need more time,
Yes, I need more time just to make things right

Damn my situation,
and the games I have to play with all the things caught in my mind
Damn my education,
I can't find the words to say with all the things caught in my mind

I don't wanna be there when you're coming down
I don't wanna be there when you hit the ground

So don't go away,
Say what you say,
Say that you'll stay,
Forever and a day in the time of my life,
'Cause I need more time,
Yes, I need more time just to make things right

Me and you, what's going on?

All we seem to know is how to show the feelings that are wrong

So don't go away,
Say what you say,
Say that you'll stay,
Forever and a day in the time of my life,
'Cause I need more time,
Yes, I need more time just to make things right

Download MP3 or listen to it:

Posted by roy on January 29, 2009 at 01:33 AM in Music | Add a comment

Don't know about the video, but this song is so chill.

Daft Punk - Something About Us
It might not be the right time
I might not be the right one
But there's something about us I want to say
Cause there's something between us anyway

I might not be the right one
It might not be the right time
But there's something about us I've got to do
Some kind of secret I will share with you

I need you more than anything in my life
I want you more than anything in my life
I'll miss you more than anyone in my life
I love you more than anyone in my life
Posted by roy on January 29, 2009 at 06:48 PM in Music | 5 Comments

I've been pretty out of it lately - just completely stressed/burned out. I took a half-day on Tuesday and just skipped work altogether on Wednesday. A combination of high stress deadlines converging into a couple of weeks, along with the fear of no immediate relief ... just caught up to me. Juggling a bunch of balls, and dropping them all at once is never a good feeling. It was one of those situations where one thing put me in the bad mood, which would make me generally irritable, which just triggered a negative feedback loop. Break out of it!

I've blown off a lot of steam over the past week, and I feel oddly refreshed tonight (it helped to have a project at home to focus on). I need to buck up and think of this as another insurmountable challenge (those are the only ones I seem interested in undertaking).

I should take it as a blessing that I feel challenged - this the life I wanted - where every step you take gets harder as if you're mired in mud; this is how I grow stronger. If I fell back on everything that was familiar and easy, I'd always be the same person; I should always be pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

I'm looking forward to powering through this weekend and getting back on my feet. I'm not firing on all cylinders yet, but I feel cautiously optimistic tomorrow is gonna be the start of a great weekend.

Posted by roy on January 30, 2009 at 12:07 AM in Personal, MindTouch | 2 Comments

So I've been redecorating my place - I've been here for two years, and I was never completely satisfied with the way it looked. I mean, I'm young and living in a loft downtown - I should really be doing better. So in an effort to do so, I've decided to become the guy in Fight Club who obsesses over his living quarters (but I hope to avoid the creation of a second self). I imagine this interest will wane pretty quickly, so I'm doing my best to compact the whole process down to a few weeks.

I've been unloading my furniture (via Craigslist and coworkers) - I hope today that I can dump off my two sofabeds, my breakfast table, and the shelving unit by my front door. I picked up a new sofa last week (which should be delivered today). I've also settled on ideas for painting walls - the far wall will be an accented red, while the column will get some chalkboard black (I hope chalkboard paint works!).

I've been honing and refining a couple of ideas over the past week on what to do - I did manage to rearrange half of the room (I'm very happy with the layout of the living (entertainment) area and my sleeping area) - but I'm having a very hard time figuring out what to do with my desk, my dining unit, and my piano.

Unfortunately, I know that even after this, I'll only be 60% there - I'll probably be hitting up all my design-oriented friends (thank goodness I have a bunch) for feedback, once "Phase 1" is complete.

Posted by roy on January 31, 2009 at 01:16 PM in Loft, San Diego | 7 Comments
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