The never ending grind of annoying projects…

Sometimes you get assigned an exciting project that challenges you in interesting ways, sometimes you get a boring project that is just dull and menial, and occasionally you get assigned someone else’s problem. You know, that project that you kept hearing for months but knew no one that worked on it, the project that everyone grimaces and sighs at the mere mention of its name. A project that has been rotting away for month before someone remember it existed and hurriedly tried to sweep it under the carpet, only for it to keep getting more and more rancid. In other words, the one I am working on right now.

From what I have been told, this project was originally due to be installed last October, but the business side kept “forgetting”. It also went through five different project managers, none of whom will be blamed when this whole thing inevitably go belly up. We were a week away from integration testing before the first draft of the design was “finished”.

What could possibly go wrong…

Needless to say I am not having a lot of fun, and from the way things look, we are not going to be done with this thing even after the “official” install date.

So how do I stay positive in the face of never ending frustration? Simple, remember that things could be infinitely worse. Cue my new favorite Youtube channel: The Great War! A week by week documentary of the first World War. I cannot think of anything more miserable than the prospect of futile trench warfare, and that really put my current problems into perspective.

Plus, it is a very educational series. There is so much stuff that was never taught to us in school it is embarrassing. It is not just all the different fronts I never heard of, like the ones in Gallipoli, South Africa or in Mesopotamia, but all the wonderfully cartoonish characters like Conrad Von Hotzendorf (crazy Austrian general and his Capetian offensives) or British general Haig (whose plan all hinged on a glorious cavalry charge against machine guns). Heck I though U-boats were an innovation of the second World War, but sure enough, Germany was already torpedoing boats indiscriminately back in 1915.

There is so much depth and stupidity going around that I understand that you cannot teach everything that happened but I feel like It would have made history lesson a lot more interesting.

Anyways, now that I have reevaluated my current situation, what else has been happening?

I discovered something interesting the other day. While walking by the TDAmeritrade building, I heard this heard this strange alarm. It did not sound like a car alarm or a fire alarm. It was in fact a strange security drone/roomba thing that kinda looks like a Dalek.


It slowly rolls around and occasionally bleeps at things. I am not sure if it is remotely controlled or if it is autonomous. It stopped beeping at me after I waved at it, which would make me lean toward the first, but I was clearly on the public path, so who knows. It looks stupid to me, and easy to tip over. I wonder, do they have more than one? How it charges itself? Does it dock into a station or does it just park itself predetermined spot and someone has to plug it in? So many questions….

Oh and then I saw wild turkeys!


It was a good day.


A much needed break…

You know that feeling where you feel nothing is going your way? Spending a lot of time on a project that is going nowhere but needs to be finished by the end of the month? Apps on your phone constantly crashing for no reason? Weather being stupid and very cold? I know that feeling, because that was exactly me not two weeks ago. I needed a vacation.

Conveniently, I had one planned just at the perfect time, taking two extra day days after Presidents day and met up with the rest of the family down in Miami Florida. It is always nice to get a break from the cold weather and go somewhere warm (though arriving in Miami with a big winter jacket is hardly practical).


I have technically been to Miami before. Back in the summer of 2007, coming to the US for the first time for a language exchange program, we landed at Miami Dade international before flying up to Orlando. Almost all of the other kids in the program had never been in such a hot and humid environment, while my sister and I, fresh for seven years in Japan, felt quite at home.

So what does one do in Miami? Well, if partying is your thing, there are more bars, restaurant and clubs than I could count, and they start early. We were walking down Ocean Drive at around 2 in the afternoon on Saturday and most of the bar were already pretty full and one hotel had their go go dancers out and about! Also I am pretty sure that some of the party goers would have drunk more alcohol in a single day than I would in a month or two.

Miami also has a very interesting architectural side to it. You might think that, after watching a lot of CSI Miami, that there is nothing but giant condo towers and malls for tourist but the truth is that there is a lot of preserved Art Deco building, especially on Ocean Drive and Collins avenue. Those building also get some really cool lighting during the night too:

But of course, the real reason to go down to Miami is the food. Holy mackerel, the food is delicious down there! Very expensive too! Oh I still dream of the food…. Between ceviche, steak, and Cuban food, the choice was endless. I definitely took on some weight during this trip!

We did try to stay active, as we usually like to, going kayaking in the everglades, paddling and snorkling in the keys off Biscayne bay (where we got to see a lot really cool wild life like sting rays and sharks!). It was not as intensive as the 9 mile treks we were doing last summer in Utah, but you know, there are no mountains in Florida.

Coming back to Nebraska was not to harsh, the weather was not as bad I though it could be, though it did snow pretty bad the day right after, but now it’s full on springtime! The project I was working seemed to make more sense to me after not looking at it for five days, though the deadline is still looming over our heads… Finally, my phone decide to update to the latest version of android and my podcast app has stop crashing when I lock the screen on phone!

See! All my problems were solved by going to Florida! Sure, going that had nothing to do with it, but hey, it make for a better story…

Snow terror…

I thought I knew what it meant to drive on snow, but I guess I was wrong, for I have experience true terror on my way back from work.

There was a big snow storm a couple years back and I drove around without any issues, but the thing was that no one was on the roads and it started snowing early in the morning. All the snow was crisp white snow and that has good traction if you have snow tires.

Thing were different today, it started snowing around 10 O’clock and the city had not had the insight to salt the road preemptively… That meant that there was a lot of people on the roads making the snow this annoying slushy dirty snow that has no traction what so ever. It was rather unnerving when my car decided to plow straight forward when I had the wheel spun all the way left! At least it is fairly easy to tell when you lose traction, the steering wheel stops to resist your input.

The traffic was predictably terrible, as a couple cars got stuck trying to go up hills. Hopefully, the plow will have done their job and have the roads cleared.


A very interesting weekend…

There has been this pattern in the weather recently. It gets really cold in the first half of the week, everything freezes, then it gets really warn, almost spring like even, and everything thaws. While that means you get a nice couple day to do something outside during the weekend, it also means a lot of potholes!

Water leak into the porous road surfaces, freezes and expands, creates nasty cracks, and Baam! The roads opens like the gaping maws of a Lovecraftian horror. I swear that there are a couple ones of west bound pacific street that are at least a foot and half long, maybe 7 to 8 inches wide and  4 inches deep. Unless you are driving a Humvee, I would recommend keeping a sharp eye, especially on the curb side.


There was a gun show this past weekend and I actually decided to drop by Sunday morning and see what that was about. It was a fairly low key type of deal. There was maybe just over dozen sellers and maybe maybe 50 people looking around.

War… War never changes…

With the exception of one seller who kept everything locked in a display case, everyone else let you handle the guns, which gave the chance of handling the big scary rifle that keep anti-gun people awake at night, The AR 15!

While I have never handled a real gun before, the AR definitely felt intuitive to handle. It was actual not that heavy (some of the shotguns were definitely heavier) and simple enough to operate. At a show special $500 – $600 price tag, I have to say they were very compelling products, though I had no intention of buying.

I got to handle a bunch of handgun as well, and most hand guns are denser than they appear. One of the first handgun I pick up was a Glock of some description and was quite surprised as I pick it up, those have quite a bit of heft to. There was some neat pocket pistols, though some of them were price higher than some of the AR and AK rifles…

At the end of morning, the only thing that I bought was some beef jerky and a couple raffle tickets. I was tempted by some cool metallic ammunition boxes at just $20 each but I did not have any really use for them.

OOOOooohhh, bazookas!


After a nice morning at the gun show and quick lunch downtown, I took a stroll down to the convention center and took a look at what the auto show had in store. Unsurprisingly, it was mostly cars, and for some reason, there was also a stand for a martial art school.

I got seat in bunch of interesting and expensive cars, which is way less exciting than handling guns by the way. The most exciting thing that happened was that I nearly locked myself into the back of a Chevy because the child safety was on and the handles did not work. Thankfully, the window on the passenger side was open so I could reach and open the door from the outside.

This is what happens to your car when drunk driving…

A number of the of higher end sedans started to include either a tray or a slot for smartphones in the center console, which is a really neat feature. Most slots design were too tight for my phone, though it would fit most if I removed my phone case.

Out of curiosity, I went to the Toyota booth and asked about their hydrogen car initiative. Basically, unless you live either in California or in the north east of the United States, you be seeing Hydrogen cars anytime soon. When asked if we would see them by the end of next decade, they said “maybe”. If you are an enthusiast for cutting edge technology, get a plugin electric car.

Obviously, the best car of the show!

There were fewer pickup trucks and SUV this year compared to the last time I went but other that the Chevy Bolt, there were no all electric cars, and few hybrids (mostly Prius unsurprisingly). I suppose that it was representative of the current market in the Midwest.

It was fun going around a taking a seat in corvettes and Mustangs, but at the end of the day, I did not see anything that really tickled my fancy. I am definitely no going out to sell my car to upgrade any time soon.

Off to a cold start…

Man has it been cold outside recently. I wanted to go for quick walk to Walgreens the other day, but about after 5 minutes outside, I decided to turn around before my fingers froze solid. In the twenty or so minutes it took me to run my errant, the humidity inside my car had condensed and froze on the inside of the windows!

It was -25°F with the windchill… 

I like winter and snow and all, but I would rather that it was not so cold. Temperatures below zero means no running outside, no running outside means treadmill which is incredibly boring. Autumn and Spring temperatures are best temperatures for running. So much for my half marathons prep…


Talking about staying inside and doing nothing, let us talk about Esports. I understand the idea of competitive video games, I like watching high level players in games like Starcraft 2, but I just don’t understand why someone would look at a game like Overwatch and think “Yes, this fast paced and manic first person shooter, with 20+ charatcers with unique abilities is exactly what we need to bring Esport to the public!”. 

The “Overwatch League” inaugural season was last week and out of curiosity, I decided to watch some of and I honestly could not figure out what on earth was going on. Between the fast moving characters and the constant switch between points of view made things quite hard to follow. Also each match involve four separate game modes,  which meant that I got quite confused when they switched between a capture the hill type event to an escort a target event (I think they called it a payload mode?) while I went to make some tea.

The one thing that I somewhat liked was that each team had nice color coded skins for their characters. That made determining who was in which team a bit easier. The commentary team was not exactly useful but I was better than some of the commentary I have heard on some League of Legends tournaments, those are mostly gibberish unless you have master degree in that game.

I still think the best Esport game is Starcraft, because it is, in my humble opinion anyways, simple enough for someone who never played to understand. There are two players, one on each side of the map, collect minerals to create massive army and the first to destroy the other wins. Simple! Sure there is a lot more to it, but I think that you don’t need to know everything to grasp the gist of what is happening.

On a side note, after every round, all the players would grab a couple of those hand warmer pouch thing and warm their fingers. What was that about? Does it really makes that much a difference? Was it just cold in the studio where they were playing? Were they just showing off? Who knows….


I am going to have a bit of a choice this week end as there are couple interesting events going on. There is the Midlands auto show downtown at the century link convention center that is always fun to visit and see what current trends there are in the car industry. They will even have a Delorean! How retro!

On the other hand, there is also a gun show happening across the river in Council Bluff. I don’t actually plan to buy or own a gun but I am curious american gun culture. Going to a gun show is on my bucket list of  all-American things to experience I want to do along with Rodeo, drag racing and Monster trucks. Might as well drop by and stroll for a few minutes…

A fresh new year!

Happy New year! Yes, I know it was six days ago, but better late than never right? Anyways, I hope you all had a great holiday.

Ah 2017, what a year. I got myself a VR headset, I went on an amazing trip through national parks in Utah, ran a half marathon under three hours, learned some new recipes, and ended breaking up my glasses in late December. Also I really started listening to podcasts on a regular basis and discovered that there is only about four brands that pay for advertisements. There is something subtly annoying in having your murder mystery podcast being interrupted by a cheerful Blue Apron ad…

Anyways, new year, new resolutions! I was going to start with a joke that my new year resolution was 4K, as I originally thought to get a 4K television for Christmas, but decided that it would mostly be a waste of money. So what about some proper resolution?

Obviously there is the usual stuff of trying to lose some weight, not get fired, meet new people. Here are some more specific ones:

  • I will continue running and training for Half marathons, hopefully this year I’ll be able to do 2 hours 45. I did sign for three this year, so it’s not like I won’t have the opportunity.
  • I have been meaning to learn C++ for the longest time, but I never really got around to sit down and do it. Code wars has a lot of nice exercises to learn the basics and I have a nice book. Just need take the time to go through them.
  • I have been thinking about making an android app. I already know quite a bit of Java but I just have no real plan as to what the app would be.

Oh and I guess it would be nice to start playing D&D or Dark Heresy again. I should look for a RPG group.

Bitcoin’s early Christmas gift…

After spending a week preventing the company from going bankrupt, and probably several other big businesses, and several boring meetings of “what can we do to prevent this happening again?” (The answer is nothing because it was not our fault), I think I could use some change of scenery.

Remember Bitcoins? It’s not like it has been making headlines for the past couple month. Anyways, a long time ago I had invested a small amount into it. I was hoping to explore where I could spend my newly earned crypto-currency and discovered that there was not much I could do at the time. I figured that I would probably hold until the price had gone up and make my investment back, which I did. Little did I know that it would be a terrible mistake.

Now, if you were to lazy to make the calculation yourself, had I not sold back then, my investment would have been worth nearly $3000!! AGGHHHHH!!! Why did I sell? How could I not have foreseen that the price would explode over a year in the future?

Joking aside, I did not sell all the bitcoin that I had. There was 0.029 bitcoins left over that I had not converted, and that was now worth $450! Nice. But what could I do what that? Well, $450 is enough to get you an Nvidia GTX 1070 TI graphics card, and turns out that Newegg accepts Bitcoins! Miracle!

So, what do you do with a nice graphics card like that? Virtual Reality of course! My current graphics card, AMD’s RX 480, is capable of VR but I figured that it was worth future proofing my computer a little bit. This upgrade was also perfectly timed with the probably the biggest VR release of all time, the most anticipated Desert Bus VR! Oh, and some game called Fallout 4 VR.

The upgrade in graphics card, despite the fact that that 1070 TI is far better than the RX 480, does not make much difference in VR. Everything feels subtly smoother but it is hard to quantify. The only game that I have ever seen lag was Space Pirate trainer when multiple drone exploded at once and that seems to have gone away with the new card.

I think the best part of this story is that effectively I only paid about $5 for a $450 graphics card. I could have had a whole new top-of-the-line computer, but what ever. Anyways, thanks bitcoin for getting me an early Christmas gift.