What She Said

April 12, 2002
1:10 PM
One of the most annoying things about being a programmer in a "periodic" environment is that sometimes you've made an error in a program and by the time it becomes a problem you can't even remember why you did it that way anymore, let alone if you were in fact the one to do it in the first place. Today we ran up against a problem wherein people were unable to add a fee option for the summer. Turns out the program had a bug in calculating the timeframe in which this option could be added. The bug was placed there by me in August. After Summer in other words. Actually the section of code it's in is in two places, one for summer and one for fall & spring. The fall & spring code worked fine and has been working fine. Why I would have dickered up the second section is beyond me - I'm 100X smarter a programmer now than I was back in August, and compared to a year ago when I started this gig, I wasn't even an amoeba back then.

This is not to say that this bug was a big deal per se - my Boss isn't losing her hair over it and no one's mad or anything, but it's still annoying to wonder why I would have made a seemingly obvious mistake like this back then. On the other hand, I identified a pretty nasty bug that's been broken for some time now, and people are just now starting to complain. I guess it happens to everyone.

April 11, 2002
11:07 PM
One Tony Jimenez points to another reason the headlights in Canada were out more often (besides being on more often). To wit:

Cold weather causes the lights to go out more often, which would explain why you saw it all the time in Canada, but very few times in Texas. My wife was from Minnesota so there were many there. My guess is that the constant freezing and thawing makes causes the vacuum seal for the light bulb to fail more often, thus requiring a local law forcing people to get them fixed.
Works for me.

This evening was full, lemmie tell ya. We loaded down my Wife's credit card with crap from Lowe's, then we discovered the two large plastic lawn chairs were in fact too large to fit in my car. After a few failed attempts to flag down friends with trucks, we just tied the trunk down as best we could (as it turns out, Lowe's gives you free string to tie your trunk down with, along with those red plastic flags). This killed most of the evening.

Because my wife had things to do I volunteered to go to the grocery store for us, as well as picking up this evening's dinner. I wanted to hurry up and finish the shopping since I was hungry and I wanted to get some coding in before the night was shot. I got nine of the ten things on the list with no problem, then I hit the problem point: Velveeta. Crap. Without going too deep into Seinfeld mode, I have a mental block against Velveeta. That is, I can never remember where it is in the store, no matter how many times I get it. Plus, the stores tend to move it around. Once, at a different store my wife and I finally found some, and the clerk actually complimented our ability to find it, which she told us was rare for that store.

The key problem with Velveeta is that it's not a defined food. It's not in the cheese section (usually), since it doesn't have to be refrigerated. However, there's not a really logical section for "unrefrigerated cheese", so it's a crapshoot where the Velveeta is. I was happy since right off the bat I spotted small boxes with "Velveeta" on them. But when I got there they were Velveeta Shells and Cheese dinner. Shit. I even walked past a large can (tub is more like it) of Nacho Cheese, the kind they spread thin at band booster concession stands. Cheese? Hello? No Velveeta to be seen.

Supermarkets are laid out in such a way that you can usually narrow it down to where your food isn't. At some point in the store, the items stop being food and tend to be things like mops and detergent, until you hit the wall where the frozen stuff is. Then on the other end of the store tend to be things like produce and the deli/florist/pharmacy. So I had the Velveeta narrowed down to a subset of rows, but I went up and down these rows repeatedly. Add to this the fact that I'm getting more hungry, tired and flustered and the situation started to really suck.

Finally I found it. In the snack section. The snack section. Who in the hell is eating Velveeta as a snack? I mean, I'm making a snack out of it, but the Velveeta itself is not a snack. Good grief.

After getting home, eating and assembling a VCR thingy (more later) I was too frayed to get any coding in. Oh well, there's always tommorow.

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