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11/16/2001

Sleep’s a crutch

Filed under:General — eric @ 12:12 pm

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This morning I found myself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife, and I asked myself, “How did I get here?” The calendar tells me it’s Friday, and I believe it, but this week has been one blur.

That’s what happens when you don’t sleep for, oh, a while.

I used to do a lot of that in college. Not sleeping. In a given week, I might pull two all-nighters and sleep five or six hours most of the other nights. There were quite a few “five minute power naps” thrown in there, too. One of my mottos was “Sleep’s a crutch!”

I still think that, but I’ll freely admit it’s a mighty comfortable crutch. So soft and warm and cozy. And refreshing. And it’s a handy way to demarcate one day from the next.

The other night — I could tell you which, but I’d really have to think about it — Chris and I moved the chickens. I live the kind of life where, in the span of twenty-four hours, I can go from having complete strangers up on a stage trying to impress me while reading children’s literature to helping make the professional lives of a group of electrical engineers halfway across the country easier to stuffing sleeping chickens into cat carriers by the light of a weak flashlight. The whole operation was relatively painless. I’d designed the chicken coop to come apart with the removal of a few hinge pins, but the theory wasn’t put into practice until now. The only hitch came when we realized the roof too large to fit into the U-Haul, but it was a simple matter to saw it into two still-sound pieces. I had my doubts, but it was reassembled in a matter of minutes in its new locale. The chickens slept right through the whole thing, including the stop for dinner at the all-night diner, and woke up in the same house on the same perch with entirely different scenery. I don’t know if they were amazed or not.

The move is now mostly done. We never got time to properly pack, so there are a lot of loose things still at the old house, and it needs a world of cleaning, but thanks to Chris’ hard work, that should all be taken care of by the end of the day. And I’ll know right when that is, because I’ll be sleeping.

Yay, sleep! That’s where I’m a viking!

Advanced HTML

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:22 am

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My coworkers refer to this little gem as “The World’s Most Advanced Web Page”. It’s meant to be printed, landscape on legal-sized paper with minimum margins.

< proudNerd > It doesn’t look all that complicated, really, but it took me a week or so to get it to work. It gets created on the fly by our software package, drawing in data from a number of sources. It uses HTML, CSS, Python, and a computer language we made up ourselves to create what you see. The problem is that the language underneath web pages wasn’t designed with printing in mind, so it is very hard to manage margins and page breaks and exact layout on the paper. We really shouldn’t be using it at all, but we needed to take advantage of the protability, size, and the fact that every computer had a pre-installed viewer. In the next few months, we’ll be moving to PDF files created on the fly. PDFs are meant to be printed, so I’ll have exact control of the layout, but I’ll need to create the pages at the programming language level — no WYSIWYG editors or anything like that. It will be just like when I programmed PostScript Diplomacy maps by hand. < /proudNerd >