1501 Entries!

How nice it was to receive some feedback from readers after my 1500th entry yesterday. I enjoyed the theories about why the frequency of entries has trended down over time.

"Did you ever think that, when you first started Bradism. you had a backlog of things to say? Maybe that's why the first 500 entries appeared so much faster."

Unlikely. Particularly given that the first 100 entries were actually ported from my old journals and many of the rest were about contemporary issues like the weather, petrol prices and cricket results.

"Did you ever think that maybe your entries decreased because you stopped being funny?"

:(

"Your 500th entry was in 2006, shortly after you bought a new camera. The 1000th entry came in 2009 right before you bought a DSLR. There's an expression 'a picture says a thousand words', have you extrapolated your image posts out and compared the total created content between the three periods after taking that into account?"

It is true that it took me until late 2006 to start posting entries with pictures in them, and until 2010 when I started posting multiple photo entries with any regularity. But that probably has more to do with me being too lazy to write image uploading code and an image album feature than anything else.

"Post more Lego photo stories about boring office stories, please."

Okay, now I know these are fake.


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1500 Entries!

Sometimes I think about replacing bradism.com with a new online journal system. One that is more stable, looks better on multiple devices, is probably way less hackable, easier to update, integrates instagram and facebook, and has cooler features than this home cooked and completely unique web content management system.

I don't think I ever will. I've pretty much learned all the shortcuts, the idiosyncrasies and the manual workarounds to make it do what I need. Plus I'm too lazy to change. That does sound exactly like me. Given that I make up 99% of my own readership I can't see any kind of revolt occurring unless some technological breakthrough occurs that renders PHP generated HTML obsolete. Even now, almost ten years after I made it, this website manages to look good on mobile browsers. Although that may say more about the talents of today's mobile application developers than it does about my pre and post-nightfill battering of the keyboard in the summer of 2004.

The frequency of my updates has definitely decreased over the years. My first 500 entries are spread over 836 days. The next 500 came over 1176 days, exactly 168 weeks. The most recent 500 took 1974 days or 282 weeks. That's over five years! (For some reason all of my quincentennial entries have fallen on Fridays.)

I guess these statistics could seem confusing. I mean, the past five years of my life has almost undoubtedly been the most significant of my post-journal creating existence. There's been marriage, puppies, moving, travelling, national and international work, multiple new jobs and experiences. But then, I never journal about anything important, so really the numbers make sense.

Last year was clearly my worst year for writing things that aren't important (or at least posting them online), and I intend to rectify that this year. This will occur probably not with extra introspection, more likely I'll just cross post my instagram uploads and Facebook status updates. Plus who knows what else. I'll evaluate it in another 500 entries.

Shouts out to all my regular readers, I do this for you.

Magic Beard

Over the Christmas break I may have attempted to grow a beard. It didn't start of intentionally, just a series of serendipitous circumstances lead to me starting my break with a few days growth already. Given my lack of office meetings, general summer day apathy and the knowledge that my 30s would probably offer few if any opportunities to walk around with pubescent bumfluff on my face. I lasted about twelve days before admitting defeat and removing it from my face before 2015 started.

None of this is important. I mention it though because of what happened next. Doubtlessly you will recall in vivid detail my entry on June 21, 2011 where I described in detail my new shaver. The ES8249s is still going strong today, although sometime early last year it did develop a fault with it's LCD screen. All of the sprites in the LCD display would turn on when running and it meant that the time and battery level readouts were both incomprehensible. Seeing as neither piece of information is required for shortening the hair on my face I decided I'd just live with the risk of running out of battery mid-shave, and never knowing when I set a PB.

That's how I lived for months, then I grew a beard. Then I shaved that beard, and like magic the moment it was down the drain my shaver's LCD display works again! I assume it was a magic beard.

Deploying Spring

On the first day of spring I went for a walk at sunrise. It was a chilly morning, but bright, and the air was filled with birdsong and pollen. Of all the sounds, the loudest was the energetic squawking of a hooded plover. It was whooping around the park in quick, wide circles, so excited that it was spring. Like they'd been giving away red cordial on the last day of school.

Those events marked the end of a long winter. Definitely not a cold one; had I not taken a weekend off to visit Melbourne in late June I might have lost my perspective on the season completely. It was "long" because of the fixed, looming shadow of what's to come. The course isn't totally clear, but I can confidently describe what's to come as being a bunch of short, life-shaping events in a row. That's all I can really say. The future is always so much clearer after it becomes the past.

Anyway, later on during these first days of spring I was in Auckland. Auckland is a city where my winter would have had no problems disguising itself as a summer. It was much cooler there. During another of my sunrise walks I heard only a single bird call. This solitary chirp was a much shorter, pessimistic trill by some unseen sparrow. Almost immediately upon its conclusion the rain started.
"Significant," I thought to myself.

You may actually be interested in what I was doing in Auckland. My life is more than eating cereal and making observations about the weather and cities. When I filled out my International Passenger Arrival Card and selected the purpose of my visit I checked "Business", not "Experience trivial reflections about the weather." In a tribute to the bradism.com of last decade I will actually talk about something meaningful in a literal manner.

Lately I have been visiting Auckland to be the technical resource responsible for the local implementation of an integrated e-commerce platform, coded in Germany and deployed in New Zealand. That is, more succinctly, I download a zip file, upload it to a bunch of servers and install its contents on each one. Then I fix everything that was wrong with it. Within my line of work, there is usually a lot that needs a specialist to fix.

I have been paid a lot of money lately to do this and I'm pretty good at it. When I'm not fixing issues I write scripts to do all the things I just installed and fixed automatically. I'm getting good at that as well. I mainly use python. I used python so much this last winter that when I saw a news headline "python kills two Canadian boys in their sleep" I thought to myself, "My code would have raised and handled an exception well before things went that far." This latest project has had its challenging moments already, and I'm becoming better at handling those kind of issues too. By its very nature my role is to essentially make myself redundant and move onto something novel, then repeat. This is my third major project of just this year alone, each using different technologies, platforms and strategies. I'm a specialist in handling new things, basically. And what is spring other than a time for new things?


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Here they just call it Natural Ice Cream

I've never understood why some Australians tend to belittle New Zealanders and make references to sheep when discussing them. That said, when I was filling in my incoming traveller registration to hand to customs in Auckland and I realised that the mound of breakfast cereal in my suitcase triggered not one, but two of their bio-hazard red flags, I was prepared to level some abuse. Fortunately for myself and the sleepy customs agent and trans-Tasman relations in general there was no destruction of my cereal except by me eating it. In the taxi from the airport I even saw a few roadside advertisements for Weet Bix, leading me to comment, "Oh good, you guys have Weet Bix here too." The cabbie, from India and studying IT at the Auckland University of Technology, gave me a curious look. At first I figured he must be trying to work out why Australians were so enamoured by Weet Bix. Then I remembered that horrifying YouTube video I saw once and that was the first moment it began to dawn on me that New Zealand is not exactly a foreign country as much as it is a BIZZARO AUSTRALIA. Its near similarity is actually more amazing than countries which are actually exotic. Scientifically, you might even say it's an Australia like in a parallel world from Sliders - if you were a scientist who loved watching Sliders growing up as much as I did.

New Zealand - or at least the half-a-dozen streets of Auckland that I have visited - is Australia. Most people don't even have a kiwi accent. The only time I really notice I'm not in Sydney is when I say, "G'day" to people unironically and then realise what I've said. What is different though, is the little things. Like at Subway, they don't have shredded carrot. All the apples have different names and the tubs of yoghurt look the same but have different flavours like Citrus and Mixed Berry (same name, but slightly different freaking berries). It's like some butterfly effect where a slightly different person was randomly chosen for a focus group a few years ago. The two dollar coins are bigger than the one dollar coins... which I guess actually makes sense in some ways. Unlike calling a supermarket chain "Countdown".

Oh God... what if there's a New Zealand bizarro Brad and I meet him tomorrow? I just checked bradism.co.nz with my fingernails in my mouth in case there was. No almost-identical journal with subtle differences was rendered, thinkfully.

Markup

Yesterday at work there was a call for a hero. There was a lot of unformatted, unordered data that needed parts of it stripped out and neatly arranged into the form of XML insert statements for a production system. Time was short.

When I was faced with this challenge I set to work using programming patterns I initially learned while working on this very journal. The year was 2006, a hard drive crash in a data-centre in Texas had taken with it five weeks of important journal entries. With no local backups the only method I had to resurrect them was to write a script that would churn through Google’s cache of the entries, rip the important HTML parts out, and then filter all the data into neat SQL insert statements.

I remember running that script on my journal. I’d tested it first, so I was confident it would work, but watching it run and re-create two dozen entries in the blink of an eye was a proud moment for me. I felt the same way yesterday as I watched six-hundred-thousand records zooming into a production data repository at the same sort of speed. I didn’t mention to anyone that my experience in doing this kind of thing came solely from bradism.coming using 0.00004% of the volume of data.
Now I know I'm ready though, ready for enterprise journalling.

99 Days - New Record!

For those who don't know, I celebrated an important milestone this week. That is, I finished the last flake in the final box of the full series of Uncle Tobys Plus that I started eating on June 1st. It has been a winter of pluses. The final box to fall was, predictably, Essentials for Women. It's not that I feel girly eating it, I just don't really dig the dried berries clusters. Also it makes me cry during sad parts of Cougar Town.

To make up for eating a big bowl of Essentials for Women this morning I commenced my new habit of blow drying my hair before work. Wait, that's also girly. I didn't blow dry my hair because of the cereal. I used the hair drier because I've started using Vanessa's shampoo and the heat activates the chemicals in the conditioner. Ah, shit. This is spiralling badly. I did go to the office today with close to 48 hour beard growth, which in terms of boundaries is the equivalent of the West Bank of acceptable stubble. I last shaved on Sunday night... so that I would have stubble for eating Essentials for Women on Tuesday.

Man, cereal, stubble... this entry is a Lego Phocumentary reference away from being a killer entry for anyone playing the Bradism.com drinking game.