Wherever batteries are sold.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

On that note...

...this blog will be inactive for now. If the blogger account is still alive by next year's nano, then I will post here again.

Yeah, I'm not gonna make it

I think I would've had a good chance to make it if I had started on time though. :(

I'm not gonna stop though, I think I'll finish this novel.

An excerpt:

“I really should organize my stuff more. You’d think someone living alone deep in the woods would have a lot of time to organize, but no, there’s always one thing or another. Squirrels, usually. Silly things keep insisting their friends are nuts! Or the nuts are their friends, something like that; I never was very good at understanding their chitter-chatter, most of it is about nuts anyway. I think they have like two hundred different sounds to represent nuts, did you know that? It’s funny too how they attach the same meaning to the term “nuts” as humans do. How do you suppose they picked that up? I hope it’s not me, I don’t think I have a tendency to say people are nuts. Aha there it is!”

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm Still Fighting

...but I'm discarding this story and doing another one (which I'm no longer inclined to post chapter-by-chapter here) Shae and Roland will make another appearance in a future work of fiction.

The way I see it, I have 5 full days of work off remaining in November. I'm taking the last two Saturdays off, and the 28th is a holiday. So, I aim to write 10,000 words per day during those days! Any words written in between those days will really help :D (I only have around 2,000 written so far)


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Girl and The Geek

The Girl and the Geek

Shae stared out the 29th floor window blankly, unmindful of the vast array of magnificent fireworks displays marking the end of year revelry. Red, orange and yellow trails blazed across the sky uselessly, apparently failing to distract the young woman from whatever had so entranced her.

The building she was in was surrounded by several other high-rises most of them darkly empty as well. Most of the people were out there; the streets of the Ortigas centre in Metro Manila teemed with people, on the streets, partying, enjoying the extravagant pyrotechnics as the clock ticked away towards the end of 2005. As could be expected from the big-time companies populating the commercial centre, they had paid through the nose for exuberant showings. Never mind that the economy was on the brink of a downslide and that hundreds of thousands wouldn't have any food to eat the next day, as long as we put on a spectacular show. Drink and be merry today, never mind what tomorrow brings. Such was the way of life in the Philippines.

"You okay?"

The query almost surprised Shae, for a moment she had zoned out completely, forgetting where she was. She half-heartedly brushed back her long hair as she half-turned to the speaker, her only companion that night in the almost-empty office.

Roland Javier, senior software engineer for one EnterTech enterprises, sat in a swiveling chair, hunched in front of two Pentium IV workstations, nimbly crunching away at two keyboards almost simultaneously. One computer was connected to their local office network, and Roland was using it for debugging; he had several code windows open and every so often rapidly shifted them around, hoping to find a clue to solve whatever program bug he was currently working on. The other terminal was connected to the internet, where he was chatting live with one of their coworkers, currently in Ohio negotiating with the clients as to whether the rollout of the supposedly critical program fixes could be pushed back a couple of days. Shae figured he was also quite possibly downloading porn, she never could tell with him.

On Roland's desk lay a shiny iPod, with a single earphone leading into Roland's right ear. He had the volume turned up high; with only the two of them in the office and the windows pretty much blocking out the noise barrage from the streets, Shae could just make out the melodies of Gin Blossoms' Competition Smile.

"Sorry," Shae started to say, "It's just..." She shook her head in disgust. "We really shouldn't be here on New Year's Eve you know."

"You've only said that to me around two hundred and fifty times in the last hour." Roland glanced at her to make sure she wasn’t going to throw anything at him this time. He quickly turned back to his monitors when he saw the serious, almost-wistful look on her face. Shae wasn’t too bad to look at, in fact she was rather easy on the eyes. Most guys would probably find the svelte young woman “cute” or “pretty”, although there was a good chance they would find some violence coming their way if they ever expressed that to her verbally in public. Roland knew better than to be caught leering at her inadvertently. He jabbed a quick reply to his Ohio contact, and at almost the same moment turned to the other workstation and commented out a pretty obvious scripting error that he'd been missing for three hours.

Shae didn't even mind that Roland was having a conversation with her while doing several other things at once. Shae was a senior systems analyst and QA staff at EnterTech; she had been working with programmers for the better part of five years. She knew that most programmers (or the best ones at least) are able to find a certain state of mind often referred to as "the zone." When you are in the zone your mind works at an incredible pace, quickly and efficiently plowing through multiple tasks at once. While this practice was often discouraged during day-to-day coding, when it came to those unavoidable periods of crunch time, those with this remarkable talent come into play.

Roland was one such genius; Shae knew that for a fact. She had worked with him on four different projects now, and every time she was glad to have him on her team. Very few other developers could do what he did, at the pace he worked, and with as few bugs as possible. "Stupid clients," Shae ranted, knowing Roland enjoyed the distraction, as it kept him in the zone. "They do this every year. All clients do. When they feel the smell of Christmastime about to come around, they act like kids looking for new toys. So some of us always end up working the holidays."

"Yeah, and we always indulge them," Roland replied, "You know why? 'Coz you know the pay is frickin' good." Shae and Roland, like most of the participants in the Philippines' burgeoning IT industry, were beneficiaries of the recent outsourcing trends. Wages in the Philippines were dirt-cheap to first-world companies, and those Filipinos lucky enough to ride this wave got salaries far better than their less fortunate countrymen.

Shae sighed. "Not everything is about money." She stared out the window gloomily again. "Tell me when you've got the app server up and running."

"Twelve minutes, tops!" Roland called out. "Enough time for you to mope about your boyfriend."

"Shut up!" Shae picked up a small stuffed toy and the desk near her and tossed it at him. Roland saw her movement in the monitor's reflection, and deftly swung aside to let it hit an action figure on the monitor on the desk opposite his.

"You're cleaning that up," he said as the action figure collided into another and formed a small pile. "Wanna talk about it?"

"Eh? I'm not sure it's the sort of stuff you'd want to hear."

Roland turned to her and grinned. "You know me, I'd listen to anything while coding. I’d even sit through you talking about Barry."

Shae stuck her tongue out at him. She was bit glad she and Roland could talk about Barry like this, given their history. A little over three years ago, both Roland and Barry had courted her; or tried to at least. She was anything but the traditional Filipina, and she had kept them both at arms' distance. In the end Barry won out, and Roland had to accept a bitter defeat. Shae knew in her heart of hearts that Roland still cared for her deeply, but for as long as she had known him, she could never think of him as more than an older brother; an annoying, smartass older brother whom she occasionally caught staring at her longingly.

She sighed again. She thought about the things Barry had been planning, the things he wanted. And the things she wanted. "You ever think...", she started to say to Roland, "...that maybe there's more to life than this?"

"Changing the subject eh?" Roland went on, not recognizing the slight change in Shae's tone. He adjusted his titanium-rimmed glasses slightly. "Don't worry; we can sneak out for a midnight snack later when the fireworks die down. We still got some allowance. Ah!" Shae knew the exclamation meant Roland had finally gotten something working. She saw him type something quickly to his chat partner then Roland turned to her. "Server's up, and I've uploaded the files to Edward, he wants you guys can check it simultaneously."

"Okay, I'm on it," Shae said, instantly snapping back into a working mood, leaving behind her train of thought. Barry, and Barry's plans, could wait until after she had a good night's sleep.

As she headed for her workstation, the lights and electricity suddenly died out, and the entire floor was plunged into darkness, save for the illumination provided by the New Year's Eve sky.

"What the hell?" Shae yelled.