14 September 2013
Michelle's working the wards this month, so we're often up before the sun. I walk the dogs while she drives to work. This morning I spent a little more time than usual strolling and letting the dogs sniff all the things club-goers dropped on the ground last night, enjoying the suddenly cool temperature and low humidity.
As I was approaching the entrance to our building I heard a noise above and then saw a bird fall on the sidewalk twenty feet away. The dogs were naturally excited. Fitz sat down; he knows I give him things when he sits patiently.
I assumed the bird died but noticed its feet, pointed toward the sky, twitching slowly as we passed.
I fed the dogs and put them in our bedroom so they wouldn't freak out about me leaving and went back downstairs to try and move the bird. I couldn't find a shoebox but I had a Godiva bag with some tissue paper in it.
Luckily no dogs had been out since we had come up; the bird was just a few feet from the door and would be the first thing any dog saw on its walk. Good morning!
The bird was back on its feet but seemed stunned and wouldn't fly. I moved the bag towards its body and managed to get it inside.
I brought the bag upstairs and set it on the balcony. I didn't touch the bird but sanitized enthusiastically after this, just to be safe.
A couple hours later, it flew away into the tree next door. Happy ending.
23 June 2012
I read David Kushner's Masters of Doom a few years ago and just finished re-reading it again last night, inspired by Fabien Sanglard's awesome Doom 3 code review. It's a fun read that chronicles the rise of id Software and will leave you wanting to code, eat pizza, and slam Diet Cokes.
The book is interesting to me in the same way books like Founders at Work and Coders at Work are. While I hope to glean insights and learn from great programmers, they're entertaining as a kind of People magazine for entrepreneurs/programmers.
I got my first computer in high school, after Keen, Wolfenstein, Doom, and Doom II, so I never really played them, though I had friends that did. Thanks to my roommate at Georgia Tech, I did get a copy of Quake II. I didn't spend much time deathmatching but I liked firing rockets down dark corridors to light them up while exploring.
At my first co-op job at Tech, I downloaded the Quake source code and got it running with Visual Studio. I made my rockets fly faster. It was amazing to have the source, though I didn't do much with it.
Later, Michelle and I played a lot of Quake III Arena on Dreamcast. Her favorite character was the eyeball. She was ruthless, but prone to falling accidents despite being all eye.
As I read the book I found myself cross-referencing things I encountered: names, games, other companies, and locations. The locations are uninspiring (especially if you read TechCrunch), beginning in hot, humid, economically depressed Shreveport in 1989.
Softdisk offices, 606 Common St.. This is where they all met and worked. Carmack developed smooth 2D side-scrolling. They hauled Softdisk 386 PC's off in the night to work from their lake house on their own projects.
Bridge over Cross Lake to Lakeshore Drive in Shreveport, LA. One night, this bridge (or one around here), washed out during a storm. Romero waded through water to get to the house, where he and Carmack worked through the night.
A view from South Lakeshore Drive. The lake house they lived and worked in was somewhere around here. They cloned Super Mario Bros. 3 here and wrote Commander Keen.
La Prada apartments, Mesquite, TX, where they moved after a short, cold stint in Madison, WI. Wolfenstein development was completed here. Romero worked in an upstairs loft, Carmack sat at his NeXT workstation downstairs by the kitchen. Carmack, fed up with noise, eventually hauled his computer off to his own apartment to work alone.
Town East Tower in Mesquite, near Big Billy Barren's Used Cars and Sheplers Western Store. The black cube. One of the few offices in the area. Doom development.
id offices in Mesquite, across from Hooters and Olive Garden. Quake II, and probably most of the others.
"In the information age, the barriers just aren't there. The barriers are self-imposed. If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you don't need millions of dollars and capitalization. You need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your refrigerator, a cheap PC to work on, and the dedication to go through with it. We slept on floors. We waded across rivers."
- John Carmack
I'm fighting, unsuccessfully, the urge to end this with big things have small beginnings.
23 June 2012
Yesterday Michelle took the last shelf exam of her M3 year. This summer and fall will be, once again, very busy, but it's yet another big milestone. We saw a movie, ate popcorn, walked around the mall, flipped through books at Barnes and Noble, and had tacos with margarita-flavored slushies. The dogs continued the festivities today: Fitz caught his first squirrel (so many previous attempts) and I had to chase after him (he truly believes I want it for myself) and pry it out of his mouth with a rake handle. We've seen him bite calculatingly at his stuffed toys, severing limbs. The real-life version wasn't pretty. Poor squirrel.
16 June 2012
My brother and Megan welcomed Ava Eileen into the world last night. Now we have a niece! It was a little surreal looking at her first picture this morning, despite being past the age where the majority of my Facebook feed pertains to photos of children.
Looking forward to meeting her.
08 June 2012
Sometimes the dogs slip past our feet when we're leaving. At that point it's just easier to take them along for the ride. Bingley hops around the truck like that Corgi that loves to eat.
After Michelle gets out she rolls the window down so they can enjoy the ride home.
07 June 2012
We've been waking up at 5am for Michelle's current peds rotation. We naturally gravitate towards falling asleep around midnight, so any rotation like this (surgery, last fall), is a departure from the norm.
Getting up before the sun has its bright spots. Once she's at the hospital I do any dishes we have, make some coffee, and feed the dogs. Then I start work, typically 2-3 hours before many of my programmer brethren. It's quiet and cool, and it's always amazing to think, around 2pm, that the typical 8-hour workday is over.
How we wake: After my five-minute morning ritual of walking to the bathroom, washing my face, brushing my teeth, I walk back to the bed and turn on the lights and some noise (Pandora, or something from Hulu/Netflix). I like to think this helps her wake up gently, like those $100 gradual light-and-music alarm clocks. The truth is that she has a sleep sentinel that guards her from my waking advances. It dutifully pins up extra-thick opaque sheets behind her eyes, commandeers her ossicles, and installs itself somewhere in her brain stem, with just enough control to swat me away when I shake her. Eventually, after some more shake-then-recoil moves and lots of time to wake up, sweetie, this sentinel retreats. Her eyes open and she smiles at me, unaware of the little skirmish I fought.
Fitz rejects 5:00 am. He'd normally get up and follow us about the house, but at this hour he sleeps, staying in bed until we approach the door to leave, but he is too late, like Joey.
Joey: Ooh, I'll play! I'll play!
Phoebe: No-no! You need your sleep. Night-night! Shh!