Right, so

Important life tip. Or, if your life isn’t full of drama queens, then at least it’s an important work tip.

Save the receipts. Save all the receipts.

Not shopping receipts… the receipts the kids talk about. The screenshots of things where people say something that you need to remind them of four months later when they act like they said the complete opposite thing. Those receipts.

Having a long memory helps, so you can remember you even have the receipts in the first place.

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Weekends are supposed to be fun

A rough accounting of how I spent the last four days:

  • Thursday: worked 8am-2am, owing to the previously-mentioned deployment problems
  • Friday: worked 8am-10pm
  • Saturday: commuted into town to work at the office. Left at 6am, got back at 7pm.
  • Sunday: worked 8am-4pm

But hey, at least I had a few minutes to (finally) finish up Yakuza 3 on Sunday night. I had started that one back in January or February and hadn’t been able to finish it due to work taking up too much of my time. Didn’t think it was a particularly great game, but by the time I’d made my mind up on it I was already close to the end anyway. The Yakuza series seems to be an odd one to play all the way through in order now. Yakuza 1 and 2 have both undergone full remakes to modernize the way they’re played, but Yakuza 3-5 are still stuck in ‘remaster’ zone where all they got was a fresh coat of paint. Yakuza 3 weirdly manages to look both up-to-date and out-of-date at the same time, while also having a plot that goes absolutely nowhere at times unless you’re into chasing kids from an orphanage around.

So that leaves me halfway done with the Yakuza games. I’ve already started Yakuza 4, and have higher hopes for it just based on the fact that Yakuza 3 lowered the bar from the first two.

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Measure six times, cut once, still lose a finger

The testing process where I work is pretty thorough. There is little appetite to hotshot a code change all the way into a production public safety system where a bug can have an impact on, well, public safety. Any code my team produces go to QA, where they test it in their own environment without interference/influence from us. Then, before it’s deployed, it goes to the deployment team, who has their own environment and their own means of testing the product, and they test it.

(This is in pretty stark contrast to how things worked at my very first development job, where source control didn’t exist and I was essentially testing in production.)

The deployment team is unique in that they have two environments; the actual production environment serving live traffic, and the staging environment where production support steps are rehearsed before being executed for real. The staging environment is supposed to be a 1:1 replica of the production environment so they can rule out environment-specific issues.

So imagine my near-total lack of surprise when I get summoned to join a call last night at 1am because… wait for it… the software was doing something completely unexpected in the production deployment. Why was this? Turns out the staging environment was in fact not a 1:1 replica of the production environment, and the deployment team missed a detail turning out to be completely unique to production.

I’m probably going somewhere with this story, but being this short on sleep has taken its toll.

But hey, at least the finger-pointing process is always a good time.

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Putting more pieces back together

All the posts that I think I have are published (either privately or publicly) to the site. So that’s good. I’ve identified a couple things I need to go back and double-check:

First, I left the WordPress installation configured for UTC, which sounded like a good idea when I started. But what ended up happening is that some of the old posts had the exact time included, so I entered those as I was backdating posts. I’m not sure I realized it at first and may have entered the first couple in local time. Then later on, it dawned on me that the original post times would be subject to the clock moving forwards and backwards relative to UTC time. So even if I remembered to translate a post’s time from its original timezone to UTC, I may not have bothered to check whether I needed to spring forward or fall back. So now I’m going to have to review all the posts and tweak some publish times.

Pending availability of such information, one thing I want to do is try to review the original posts (as they were archived) and make sure that I’ve retained as much of the original formatting, images, etc. as I can. As of now, I have over 150 posts published, so I have my work cut out for me. There are at least a few posts where things are missing. I may have those missing things tucked away someplace, but it isn’t a guarantee. The voicemail I got on my 27th birthday was saved; but the pictures from my late 2011 PC build are probably gone. There have been a couple examples where a media link was broken, but I was sure enough that I remembered what the link was (specific Youtube videos, pictures, etc.) that I felt good about linking to new copies.

There may be a need to go back and update links in old posts to get them working again. I’ve wrestled with that a bit to some extent. Leave them exactly as they were, and if they break, they break? Turn the links into pointers to the Internet Archive, even the ones that still work? If I do that, do I just get the latest snapshot of a page and call it good or try to get the most appropriate snapshot for when the post was originally written? I have a feeling the last one is going to be the way I go.

Lastly, I also want to take another crack at pulling up posts that I missed or thought I couldn’t retrieve after some of the dust has settled. I might be able to take some of the posts that were cut off and turn them into a blurb so I can put the headline back in the timeline, which could potentially be better than nothing.

One thing is for sure… the fewer times I have to recheck or reread the post I wrote about Sid’s death, the better off I’ll be. While the recurrence of the number nine throughout the post stands out as an interesting theme, the older of my two cats is herself nine years old this year. Kind of hard to ignore.

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Putting the pieces back together

The notion of kintsugi seems to be fairly well-understood online these days; at least, in the context of the self-affirming “you can do it” attitude of memes/posts meant to keep people going. I’ll not go into much detail on that on this post because that isn’t particularly germane to the topic at hand. I will say that while I am not doing any self-affirmation here in this post, the process for putting this website back together seems basically to net the same result: gather up your pieces and stitch them back together such that the reconstruction becomes part of the story of the vase or the bowl or glass or whatever got broken.

In my case, the cup is this site, and the pieces have been strewn not just across the internet in various different sites, but across some pretty extreme lengths of time as well. So the task at hand is to gather up all the pieces and try to reconstruct one whole website out of all of them, and the monstrosity that comes out the other end will essentially be a catalog of most the writing I’ve ever done.

Most? Why not all?

So far, the oldest piece I’ve found is from August of 1997. I found a few posts in 2000, a few other things on a Tripod site I briefly ran back in 2001; and some more stuff on an Earthlink personal page before I ever registered this domain. There is a noticeable gap in the 2001-2002 timeframe, when I used AT&T WorldNet for dialup service and stored a few things on a personal web page on one of their servers. I know I had at least one long-form essay on that particular site, but either it was never cached, or the address isn’t what I thought it was. Most things from the 1990s are also gone, but if my recollection is right, stuff from that era would serve more as a case study in contemporary (read: awful) website design than anything else.

On the other end of the scale – although I had originally let this domain registration lapse sometime in the 2015-2016 timeframe, I did occasionally still do some writing on other platforms. In one instance, I had a hand-written essay that I’d forced out of my system after a difficult few months. Whether I transcribe that particular piece of business and put it online anytime in the near future remains to be seen.

But at all stops along the way, the Internet Wayback Machine simply didn’t capture every page. As of now, I still have some digging to do, but the best I may be able to come up with is just a headline, or a headline and a couple sentences before the “read more” link.

There are also a few posts which frankly aged so poorly as to fall into the realm of bad taste. Being angry was the schtick then, even before characters like Foamy the Squirrel or the Angry Video Game Nerd really took off, but sometimes jokes don’t land because they aren’t good jokes. I may yet carry those posts over, but will likely keep them as they are and make them private rather than editing out tasteless content just so they can be republished. The end result is the same in that I’m presenting an editorialized history of things, but keeping things intact will serve as a reminder of how out-of-tune my sensibilities could be at times.

That all said, this is a work in progress. By volume of text, I’m about 1/3 of the way done loading all the content in. But as I was collecting all of this stuff, I noticed that in later years (2007-onwards), the posts started growing in size. This coincided with my going back to school and needing to be able to shit out five or six handwritten pages of material in under an hour for classes. I simply had to learn to write more, develop ideas, and have a consistency of purpose throughout a single unit of work, and that carried over into what I posted online. So, I’m actually hoping that I’m most of the way done since I’ll just be pasting in larger and larger blocks of text going foward.

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