August 20th, 2007

color cycle (slow)

Desks, living space, and mind-numbing horror

Rakeela and I have an actual living room now!

I suppose we always did, but now we can actually enjoy the space. Almost all the boxes are out of it, or at least out of the way. Most importantly, this large nice computer desk that was torn apart by the moving company and not reassembled is, with the help of the local hardware store and its screw section, now in the number of pieces we want it to be in. That is three, instead of one- it's a corner-shaped desk, but we don't have any corners to put it in. So it's along part of one wall of the living room now, and the other arm of it is extending the hallway (there is no "into" missing there- the hallway is longer now, if you consider part of a desk to be part of the hall); we didn't put up the shelving/cabinet section along that arm of it because that would block any view from the kitchen of the goings-on in the main room. The cabinet along the wall got put up, but the other one didn't- now it's standing alone as a little short shelving unit of its own, to the left of the desk, under where I have my larger white board set up. (We're allowed to put nails in the walls in this apartment complex- which is good for picture-hanging and white-board-hanging purposes. I still haven't figured out where to hang this picture... I got a better frame for it today, instead of the leftover damaged plastic frame my mother found in a closet. Yay for the store Tuesday Morning and its tendency to have random useful crap.) Finally, there was this useless overhanging thing that ran between the two cabinets, over the area where a computer monitor is to be placed; it's too narrow to use as any sort of shelf, so I have no idea what purpose it serves. Rakeela suggests it's a shade to reduce glare on the computer screen; that makes sense, and I also suspect it might be to complete the look of the desk were both shelves to be there, because it looks too split otherwise. That's got no practical use. Anybody need a medium-sized wooden trapezoid?

With that built, the living room doesn't feel like a construction site anymore, it feels like part of a home. That's how I want it to feel. I'm settling in very well to this apartment, and the whole bit of living out here has been great- it's working for me. Now that my apartment is nearly in order, I might actually get a chance to explore the area- finally make my way into Seattle. (Rakeela went there yesterday to join a pro-marijuana protest and assist the people running a "Ron Paul for President" booth there. I agree with the cause, but I decided to stay back and get stuff moved so desk construction would be possible- a good choice, because- surprise, surprise- there were a lot of people smoking at the demonstration.) The living room layout is slightly odd: a computer acting as a media center in one corner on a small plastic desk, and a much larger workstation opposite it without a computer set up at all. (Once I get another surge protector, I'll be setting my laptop up there habitually- like a "docking zone". With an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor, this laptop might as well be considered a desktop, since I installed an extra gigabyte of RAM last weekend.) That's the living room- and with things going on in opposite corners, we have two computer chairs, but no couch.

No couch could work- there's no angle for it. But beanbag chairs do. The previous occupant of my office at Microsoft had one, but he didn't want it and left it behind. He got it from the occupant of the office before him, who got it from some product launch party. (Microsoft gives these sorts of things away.) My officemate and boss each didn't want it, so I took it home (with the blessings of each- now it's out of the way) and it works very well in that space. One isn't enough; we need at least one more, and preferably two or three. A lot of people have those beanbags, don't want them, and have nothing really to do with them- I figure that I can probably get a few more just for asking! They're ugly by almost any standard- not beanbag chairs in general, but those beanbag chairs are- but they're free, and useful. The furniture is plastic, particle board, and duct tape- ugly beanbags fit right in!

There was a perfect place over the wall side of the desk to hang a wall clock, but I don't have one. So I hung the insides of a floppy diskette drive there instead.

With just that, it's like the place has totally changed- and I suppose at least that room has, from a pile of boxes and a disassembled desk into an actual living space. And the main bedroom has- I have an actual bed now, not just my boss' air mattress! Of course, I'm still using that mattress- what I have is a bed frame, and they're supposed to send the mattress tomorrow. Or maybe Tuesday.

It's been a great weekend after a rough end to Friday. Friday afternoon, I was brutally stripped of any illusions I might have been harboring that I would be working with reasonably-written, maintainable code. I found my first truly horrifying hack job, and it's up to me to fix it- that's my job now. At least I know I'm needed, but the code I found was mind-numbingly horrible.

Until that moment, I thought the term "mind-numbing" was just an expression. It isn't.

I was literally stunned for several minutes. I think the first word I was able to blurt out after comprehending how horrible these ten lines of code were was "Fuck." At least it explained the bug I found. My supervisor, when I showed it to him, had a similar opinion of it, if slightly more coherent: "Oh my God, is this... this can't... it's... holy shit this is beyond awful. Well, you know what you'll be doing Monday: fix it." I didn't even have to tell him that I couldn't start on it today. It had ruined my ability to think coherently for a while- it was the first production code of this magnitude of horrifying I'd ever seen, and he could tell I was still in shock.

I got lost on the way out of the building.

Other than that, things have been going well- and yay living room, this place suddenly really feels like a home.
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