Archive for January 14th, 2007

1/13/07: Control

Word count: 12087 | Since last entry: 1874

I have started coding again, at work. Although I was supposed to start coding almost three weeks ago, I allowed myself to be distracted by various design tasks. I should not have. Now that I’m writing HTML and CSS and JavaScript and Java code again, instead of making pretty pictures in Photoshop, I remember why I changed from tech pubs to software engineering in the first place. When I code, I control the user experience; when I design, I can only make suggestions. And because I care about the little details, like making controls line up and properly disabling buttons based on the states of other controls on the page, a lot more than most people, coding it myself is the only way to make sure it comes out the way I want it to. Coding is frustrating sometimes, but deeply satisfying when it works.

Yes, I am a control freak. I revel in my control freakness.

In other news, we have pretty much nailed down the details of the Thailand trip. We will be flying to Singapore with an hour and a half layover in Tokyo, then staying at the Perak Hotel in Singapore’s Little India district for a couple of days before the actual Club Geek event in Phuket. There are many keen things to do in Singapore but I sum up my plans for those two days as “sleep, eat, and goggle.” From there we’ll proceed to the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket for five days of corporate largess, including (if everything goes as planned) a Thai cooking class, an elephant ride, and a certain amount of speechifying and banqueting with colorful local entertainment. Then we fly back by the same route (Phuket-Singapore-Tokyo-Portland), except that this time we spend only six hours in Singapore and the whole thing somehow takes just one hour (depart Phuket 6am, arrive Portland 7am the same day). Voom!

The writing proceeds apace, 100-500 words a day with occasional days off. Today, thinking about Maria, my Earthling viewpoint character, I realized that her people, like the Pilgrims, would most likely not own their own ship. And a rented ship would have to come with its own crew. This provides an excellent opportunity for increased tension in her viewpoint and also lets me have at least one character who isn’t white and Christian. I don’t know why it bothered me to have the humans in my cast so homogenous, but it did. Maybe it’s because I grew up on Star Trek (the original series). Anyway, I spent most of today’s writing time (500 words or so) going back and inserting a new secondary character into Maria’s viewpoint. I also decided to change her name to Rachel. Because I wanted to.

A snippet:

“So,” said Gideon, turning his attention to Keale. “Our alien contact specialist assures me that the ship is not in danger. Therefore, according to the contract, your authority is secondary.” He lowered his head just slightly, reminding Rachel of a bull pawing the earth. “Is that clear, Mister Keale?”

“Yes, sir,” Keale replied. Though his lips moved, his teeth did not part.

Rachel watched the simulation spin in its frame, keenly aware of how fragile Kestrel and her sister ships were — slim pencils of metal, composites, and fabric. If the unknown craft attacked, they could all be dead in seconds. And God alone knew what an alien species might consider a hostile action.

Dance, little characters, dance to my will! Bwahaha!