Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mario's last day at work

When I first started at my current company, I was placed in the Ruby group working on community-oriented features. At that time we were a mishmash of Ruby, Java and Python but eventually the scope was reduced such that Java was nearly taken out of the picture all together. As a result, many of the Java programmers found themselves without much work to do and so they picked up a Ruby book and started reading.

Within a few weeks they were all up to speed and cranking out code. Slowly, we stopped seeing each other as Ruby vs. Java and begin to identify instead with the product we were working on. Old alliances gave way to new ones and people who I had once thought of as hostile seemed much more amicable.

It's a me, Mario!One of these formerly hostile types was a guy named Mario. His height and booming voice combined to make him stand out in our colorless cube farm. He also had a strange occupation with a place called Java Green where he went everyday for lunch and returned boasting of their tofu chicken and rice bowl. I eventually accompanied him on one of these outings and offered him my advice on which Ruby book was best for a beginner with lots of Java experience.

That was nearly three months ago and in the time since we've become great friends. From late nights at work writing "f'ing migrations", as he so eloquently put it, to clubbing at 1223 across the street, we've certainly had an interesting past couple of months. And despite that his new job is way out in the 'burbs, I am confident that we will remain great friends.

Mario, you will be missed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hustle and bustle

Last week was quite busy for me so let me see if I can provide a quick rundown. Monday I think was my only down day, if you could apply such a label to a day that starts at 7am and ends somewhere around 12am. The next morning I was up bright and early to go vote for progressive change at the ballot box. Though I was dismayed to see the amendment banning gay marriage pass, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Jim Webb, a Democrat, would be Virgnia's newest Senator. He has an excellent record and I think he'll represent us well.

Death Cab for Cutie at DAR Constitution HallTuesday evening I went see Death Cab for Cutie at DAR Constitution Hall. I didn't know very many of their songs aside from what I'd heard on Alt Nation but it was a pretty good concert regardless. Afterwards, while walking to the Archives metro stop, I spoke to my parents on my cell phone and learned of the Democrats impending victory just as I was passing by the White House. This caused me to make an impromptu demonstration right there, in the general direction of the west wing. It was a small "gesture", most likely noticed by no one, but it felt good nonetheless.

Sean and JayashriWednesday looked to be winding down to a calm evening until Sanjeev, the recruiter that brought me to my current company and in general a cool guy to hang out with, invited me to a happy hour at Science Club just down the street. I figured I could go there for a few beers keeping in mind that I had a dentist appointment early the next morning. I ended up staying a bit later and having a really great time as many of the faces there were familiar. Jayashri was there too which was awesome since she lives all the way up in Columbia.

Finally, the day I had been dreading arrived. Two weeks previous, I had gone into the dentist for a routine cleaning only to find out that I had a slight case of gingivitis on my back molars. Now don't panic people, it's actually more common than you think. Probably even more so for those of us with less-than-stellar dentists who never alerted us to the issue. Fortunately, I'm with a great dentist now although I wasn't heaping such praise on them while they did what's called a "deep cleaning" on my gums. The local anesthesia helped but the best solution would have been a better brushing regimen so that I could have avoided the entire issue. So remember kids, don't forget to floss!

Any free time I had this past week was spent playing with my newest toy, a MacBook Pro. That's right, I've opted to convert to the "other" platform and I am not looking back. After hearing that such Ruby luminaries like DHH himself used a Mac and seeing so many of my co-workers using them, I decided to take the plunge. I'll write a full length article on it sometime in the next few weeks. For now, rest assured that this platform is absolutely amazing to work with for both development and daily computer use.

This week is looking to be just as hectic, though hopefully less painful, than last week. I just got back from seeing my buddy Steve out in Fairfax where he's staying for the next few days while he's in town for work. Tomorrow I'll be taking in an opera and Thursday through Sunday is booked solid with various dinner parties and get togethers. After that it's Thanksgiving and then onto December!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

How to throw a Guy Fawkes party

Remember, remember the fifth of November
The Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why the gunpowder treason

should ever be forgot.

401 years ago, a group of conspirators attempted to blow up the English parliament. Their demolitions expert, a man by the name of Guy Fawkes, was caught with several barrels of explosives beneath the building, ready to set them off. From there the entire conspiracy fell apart with most of the participants being hanged, including Guy Fawkes. I first read of the event on Wikipedia a few years ago but it wasn't until I saw V for Vendetta that I was inspired to do more.

Kidney, it's what's for dinner!By more, I don't mean anything political of course but instead something more celebratory. In this case, a dinner party. I prepared five separate courses and invited a gaggle of friends over. Authentic English beer in the form of Guinness and Boddington's Pub ale were made available. I had also planned on us watching the aforementioned movie but time constraints on a Sunday evening meant everybody leaving by about 9:30pm.
  1. Welsh rabbit
  2. Cornish pasty
  3. Steak and kidney pie
  4. Veggie bangers
  5. Old-fashioned carrot pudding
Shayan looking satiatedThe courses listed above all turned out great and I ended up with tons of leftovers. It was my first time cooking authentic English meals and as one of my friends so assiduously put it, the food was 'quite dense'. Unfortunately some of the other things that go along with the celebration, such as fireworks and the burning of a Guy Fawkes effigy, were not possible due to local ordinances. But we had a great time nonetheless and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.