Thursday, August 24, 2006

ampersands are the debil

Ampersands are out to get me this week. That's right, the cute little &. He seems so harmless ... and yet he is wreaking havoc on all my tools. At quitting time, nonetheless.

Tuesday, 3 p.m. (Yes, that's quitting time. I get in at 7. Really!) I get a frantic IM from one of my users, the transfer app isn't working. Now, we have this transfer app because we have no less than 7 networks. (Ok, ok, so maybe it's only 4.) So, this transfer app moves a file from one network to a different network. I only worked on the first part of the transfer process, but it's the first part that the customer sees, so that means I get the frantic IMs. Plus, I'm way more approachable than your average developer, so I get frantic IMs for tools that aren't even mine. Because, honestly, if you have a choice between adorableness or cranky-pants magoo, you're gonna go with adorableness. Even if you know adorableness may very well refer you to cranky-pants.

But, anyway, the transfer app stopped working. I'll spare the details, but it turns out that transferring a file that contains an ampersand in the filename causes the whole tranfer app to just quit working. A DOS, if you will, for all the nerds out there. I haven't fixed the issue yet, I just told the user to avoid ampersandy filenames for the next week or two. Seeing as it's been 5 months and this is the first ampersandy filename any of the users have tried to transfer, I'm not *too* worried it'll happen again before I fix it.

Thursday, 3 p.m. IM from another developer, one of our web apps can't display search results from certain criteria. I started digging through log files, and I discovered the problem: ampersands. The search results end up in xml, that is xslt-ed into html - and ampersands aren't allowed in such things. So I patched that up, and proceeded on my merry way. Luckily, that particular web app is in a permanent beta state, which means that we, as developers, don't guarantee that it will run without kinks. Or even that it will always be available. But, I fixed it in 28 minutes, because that's the kind of dedication to my customers that I have. Or maybe it just really bothers me when someone finds a bug in one of my tools. Either way, it's fixed.

Ampersands. are. the. debil.

airport socks

I was at Target the other day, and had the sudden need to purchase new socks. After perusing the sock aisle, I finally settled on a 3-pack of socks: one white pair, one white-with-green-and-blue-stripes pair, and one NEON GREEN pair.

I'm not normally in the habit of wearing neon green socks, but the price on the 3-pack was right, and the striped pair really are rather cute. And so I now own a pair of neon green socks.

I took a cross-country trip last week, via plane. Which meant that I had to go to the airport. Which meant that I had to go through airport security. Which meant that I had to take my shoes off. Which meant that I had the perfect opportunity to wear my neon green socks.

I hate taking my shoes off at the airport. It's a hassle, the floor's always dirty, and then there's nowhere to sit down after you get through the metal detector so you end up walking while juggling your open backback, laptop, purse, belt, shoes and boarding pass until you can find a seat.

And so I decided that I would wear my neon green socks to the airport. So people would look at me and think: "That girl is wearing neon socks." Or: "Wonder if she knew she had to take her shoes off." Or: "How embarrassing." And also, as a quiet (as if neon could be quiet ...) protest to removing my shoes at the airport.

Friday, August 04, 2006

vitamin water

I just discovered the best thing ever! Vitamin water is the most amusing way I've ever experienced to get my vitamins.

It used to be that getting my vitamins meant one of three things: Eating a healthy, balanced diet, that contained a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; swallowing a horse pill shortly before or after consuming a large meal to avoid queasiness; or, chewing up a barney, dino and wilma.

Eating a balanced diet is a smart practice that will undoubtedly add years to my life, but it is not fun. In fact, it's a lot of work, especially when there is cheesecake in my fridge. And ice cream in my freezer. And m&ms in my cupboard. And a husband who only eats pop tarts and cheeseburgers in my basement.

Swallowing a horse pill makes me gag. As does the ensuing queasiness. Every few years, I buy myself a bottle of vitamins in an effort to be 'healthy' without giving up cheesecake. Or ice cream. Or m&ms. Or my husband. But, undoubtedly, I only last a few days, and I eventually throw out the vitamins when I can't remember when I bought them. Because surely that must mean they are too old to still be effective. Besides, they are just a reminder of my failure to be 'healthy'.

Eating a handful of children's vitamins is mildly amusing. As are the questions I get at the checkout line about my children. (Note: I have no children.) For real, it happens when all you're buying is captain crunch, lunchables and corn dogs.

But vitamin water is, by far, the funniest way I've ever gotten my vitamins. First off, it's fruit flavored water with vitamins in it! Who ever would have come up with that idea? Secondly, the packaging is really something else. It's reminiscent of a generic brand, with no pictures, only text. And there is a LOT of text. Telling me it's ok to eat a double bacon cheeseburger and fries, as long as I wash it down with vitamin water. And that the potassium and B vitamins will get me energized. And that the inside is natural and the outside is plastic.

So, here's to a 'healthy' diet. :-)