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FF Sparks (Casual)

[General] Life, the Universe and Everything

So, it's been... well, forever... since I posted in LJ. So I should at least drop a hello to everyone and a general sort of 'what I've been up to.'

I've been sort of quiet due to some stress in my life; lest anyone worry, the stress has nothing to do with me personally, or friendships, or anything work-related or even online. But it's just there as a background stress and all.

At work, Trillian Astra's public alpha is coming along nicely. As most people know, we threw out most of Trillian and started over, which is why there was such a long delay between 3.1 and the Astra alpha, and why Astra is /still/ alpha. We've been writing reusable, portable code and generally avoiding the mistakes of last time.

For the XMPP goo in Astra, I'm rather happy with how the (now-reusable) implementation is coming along. Instead of trying to implement every mutant variant every client out there has, I'm being much stricter; I'll be liberal in what I parse, but I'm generating pretty strictly vanilla XMPP stuff outgoing. Since the library IS reusable, I've split the 'generic' XMPP plugin and the Google Talk plugin into two separate entities. (Later I'll do an LJChat plugin, but that'll wait until I have Gizmo-specific stuff in. And there's no rush on it.) The plugin isn't where I want it -- there's no xdata/fneg yet because of some UI concerns and some stuff still needed in the Trillian core, and thus no MU-C or stream-profile in there yet -- but as soon as that's in, I can finish off the rest of my todo list.

In the meantime, I'm much happier having a strict outgoing implementation; it's much more maintainable if I'm not trying to detect what's at the other end and generate the appropriate mutant variants. The code last time got scary when you consider I had no less than 12 different variants on the login code, all for slightly non-standard goo in a server. (Like ones which required you to authenticate against an LDAP server record then use an LDAP id to login, even though the ID didn't match your JID. Blergh!)

Meanwhile, my Top Sekrit Project of Doom related to Astra is coming along well, though periodically it makes me want to go 'waugh' and throw reference books out the window. However, once it's done, the code should be nicely reusable for a lot of things, and should make for a very interesting feature in the Astra blog posts. I do look forward to it no longer eating my brain, but it's an interesting intellectual challenge.

I'm still obviously taking photographs, albeit posting fewer of them lately. Been so busy and all! I'm hoping to go get some good photographs this coming weekend, especially with the weather seemingly improving.

I'm also of course still riding, though I've shifted one of my lesson times to Tuesday (and now ride with Jan for my instructor on Tuesdays). I also am now half-leasing Derby, so I can actually have some justification when I refer to my big dopey thoroughbred as 'my' big dopey thoroughbred. This also allows me to ride on Saturdays outside of lessons. :)

Unfortunately, I've gotten almost no writing really worthwhile done of late; I got involved in a word-challenge but found I was basically writing garbage each week just to make the word count, and throwing it out. I think perhaps due to the stress, I've had trouble focusing on more than just world-building; the prose has been difficult to put down to paper. I've been tinkering a bit with a few new ideas, though... and moreover, I've decided I'm going to spend some time this weekend going back over and revising The Last Page more to my satisfaction, then maybe send it out in its entirety to some pre-readers again in a few weeks (if I can find any)!

I've also been toying around in Second Life, including working on building a pub (the Rusty Cog) to open in the steampunk-themed town of Babbage Square. Haven't gotten much building done on the Cog in the past week or so, due to work et al, but I'm getting there.

I've been trying to reduce stress by relaxing a bit beyond the usual, too; in that vein, I went to Teahouse Kwan Yin yesterday for lunch while doing some errands. I sat and enjoyed a cup of pink chai (chai with so much cardamom it turns the milk pink) and relaxed for about fifteen minutes before returning home. It was nice and pleasant, especially with the weather improving.

Beyond that, shadowfey's husband has started a new tabletop campaign in his world-setting and system, meanwhile, which kieri and brent2005 and I all play in. That's a nice change from other stuff as well. :)

Despite the fairly constant level of background stress over the past several months, life is generally good.


I still need to get your anime and Bone back to you at some point...
I've been curious. There are times I spot what I feel would be an excellent photo opportunity, but of course I don't habitually carry my camera around like an accessory. Do you take yours places only when you plan on snapping anything that might come along, or do you generally have it with you most of the time?
I do actually often carry the DSLR and one lens (my "nifty fifty") with me to lunch. It's unfortunately not terribly portable; I am considering getting a good high-end point-and-shoot to augment the DSLR by leaving it in my satchel all the time.

There are times I don't want to haul the DSLR along with me just due to general bulk or because I plan to pick up groceries on the way back, and regret it because I miss a good shot (like that old truck I saw the one day, and had to try taking a picture with my crappy cameraphone).
My exact dilemma - the bulk. My Canon digital is small enough to carry in a shoulder bag, but it's no lightweight. I may start looking around for something I can tuck into a side pocket.
If you were less busy, I might try to tempt you more with the Heroes Socks thing. ;)

Oh, heck, I'll tempt you anyway.
Ergh. Alright, link me to who's still open and I'll at least take a look. :)
The taken list is at the profile. Off the top of my head, I know we still need a Linderman, D.L., Micah, Audrey, Janice, Sandra and Lyle Bennet, and Hiro's dad. It would be reeeeallly cool to get a Linderman and D.L. especially, IMHO.
I'd actually almost be interested in Micah, but I'm not sure he's old enough for an LJ. ;)
Good point. The actor is 12, but the character is supposed to be between 10 and 11. We did briefly have a younger child character LJ in the SS, but if you think it's illogical, that's totally valid. :)

I always thought Audrey was a fun side character, Matt's little FBI partner, if you want somebody low key that wouldn't eat up much time. Granted, she hasn't been in it lately, but I don't doubt she'd show back up.
Not necessarily illogical (especially considering Micah's got a genius-level intellect, and possibly more), though perhaps a little silly. I mean, I can't see D.L. or Niki wanting him hanging around on LJ all the time! ;)

I'll ponder Micah or Audrey, anyway.
Cool, let me know if you decide you must be sucked back into the insanity. ;)