Thursday 6-14-2012, Work, then nothing

I actually rode the bus in to work today to avoid a huge storm, then was busy all day.  Now I'm home and there's really nothing to do but drink and eat, kind of sucks.

I got up a little late again today but probably could have made it into work on time.  But it was really dark outside and when I checked the radar there were really dark red rain clouds moving in from the southwest. I decided not to ride all the way in but instead take the bus.  I actually brought a change of clothes even doing that, and it's a good thing that I did.  When I got off the bus it was really pouring and there were rivers on the street 3-4 inches thick.  I missed out on any hail but still by the time that I made it the 6-7 blocks from the last bus stop to work my socks were soaked as were most of my shorts.  I was wearing a rain jacket so my shirt was dry. 

I changed when I got in and then got started working on the events system for this big job.  First off I was finishing up the work that I'd started yesterday making an events slider out of the code that I'd done for Attributes Slider.  I was about 3/4 of the way done with that when we all stopped to have a group meeting with Robert, our production manager and me, to go over the rest of the functionality that we needed.  I was really worried about some of the aspects but after talking through it it seemed to be stuff that I could figure out.  Once the meeting was over I went back to work on it and kind of got distracted, I ended up working about an hour and a half after I usually stop for lunch and not even noticing because I was so engrossed in it.  I cooked up some lunch and ended up kind of half working as I ate and finishing up the home page slider.  I was pretty happy about that.  I had kind of messed up the query when I was first coding it and need to go back to work on that a bit tomorrow.  Right now I'm pulling all events (which are Advanced Forms records) out of the database and then looping over them to see if they are featured on the home page or not.  I need to make that at least search only from the current date forward.  For our other tools files to get the events we're setting a start and an end date but for this one there is no end date, an event could be three months or a year into the future and it should still show up in the slider.

After that I moved on to the calendar proper.  I'd already worked on it somewhat with Robert, I hooked up a view file using Full Calendar with a tools file to output the date data, then a second tools file to pull in the detail data and a lightbox borrowing some of the code from Scott C's Items Calendar to do the event click callbacks.  What I needed to do today was modify this so that it was searchable and had a list view.  I was pretty worried about this, I'd done the first hookups with the tools file with dummy data but I hadn't looked at any of the code to actually pull in the data from Advanced Forms, Robert had done all of that.  The search needed to work with keywords against the event title and 'district number' which was another field in Advanced Forms.  It also needed to work searching only for the current month that you are displaying in the calendar, and work to switch months in the calendar and keep the keyword or district number filter active when you move to a new month.  The list view needed to switch back and forth between the calendar view and list view while also keeping the current filters.  It seemed really complicated to me, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to figure it all out.

After a lot of phutzing around with it and reading up on the methods available for Full Calendar I managed to get everything working without needing to get any help on coding it after the initial direction during the morning meeting.  I was pretty happy about that.  I didn't break out my time log into the home page slider vs the calendar search and list view but I think it was about three and a half hours for the list view and search.  I had originally thought it was going to take me at least five-six hours to get everything done so that was a lot better than what I thought it was going to be.  I felt pretty good about that too.  I wasn't sure in the morning if I'd even be able to figure out how to do it but I managed to get everything done by the time I went home.  In the end I had 4 different sections to the view based on get strings and four different tools files pulling in the data, one for the calendar, one for the calendar when searching, one for list view and another for list view while searching.  A lot of callbacks when changing views in the calendar too updating the hidden form values for start and end date in the search form to get it working properly to search only the month that was currently being viewed.

Robert and I talked some about the overall platform that we are using with the Full Calendar with tools files and Advanced Forms.  We will probably use it in the future for other projects.  It seems really flexible.  It's not something that would work well as a marketplace item but it would work really well for the kinds of custom work that we end up doing for our clients.  The only drawback is really how expensive it is for Advanced Forms.  Robert mentioned how concrete 5 is a great system and free but once you start licensing everything that you need to really make a site work, especially a complicated one you end up paying as much as you would for another CMS that is licensed differently.  He mentioned wanting to check out one based on CodeIgniter but I don't remember what the name of it was.  It would take me quite a bit to learn another system I think but I could probably do it.  I've done some coding with CodeIgniter actually, we were starting in on building a customer portal a while ago to allow people to update their DNS records and email logins and update their credit card information.  I did a set of views and controllers that allow people to update their credit card information and personal data but I honestly don't remember much about it.  We only got partway through working on it when we decided to go with a canned system that does more, we installed that but have had client work filling up most of our time since then so we haven't gotten any further with it.  From what I remember of the CodeIgniter framework it made a lot of sense but was more difficult to understand than concrete 5 for me.  Maybe that's just because I have so much experience with c5.  I could see how having a less defined framework might make it easier to do more complicated things.

I ended up leaving a little early from work because the next thing up was incorporating the events into the sidebar where we had been using Hutman Events.  I only had about a half hour left in my shift and I knew it wasn't enough time to get much of anything figured out as far as making this display work.  So that's up first for tomorrow.  There's still a lot more to do on the site, our client keeps coming up with more things even though we are getting very close to the actual deployment date.  I think the thing I might end up trying to do tomorrow is a really complicated form for making room reservations for hotels at conferences.  I looked at the IA documents today, we just found out that we needed to have this portion of the project a couple of days ago and today was the first I'd heard of it at all.  It seems really complicated but I'm hoping that breaking it down into discrete chunks of functionality.  It's a whole lot of javascript interaction which worries me because my javascript skills aren't the greatest but I think I can use some jquery libraries to make it work.  There are probably other portions of the site to get working as well, I think some more search functionality in two areas which I might end up doing.

The storms had all passed by the time I was ready to leave so I didn't take the bus again but I did wear pants instead of shorts because my shorts were still damp from the storm in the morning.  I should have changed back into them, I ended up getting really sweaty on the ride.  Came home and drank a beer and surfed facebook a little bit but wasn't really into it.  Went back out to buy more beer because I didn't have anything to do tonight and didn't feel like being sober.  I posted on facebook asking if anyone knew anything that was going on tonight but didn't hear back from anyone so there was nothing for me to go do.  I guess I could have gone back out and ridden my bike again but I really didn't feel like doing that either.  I really need to come up with hobbies to do when I don't have anything else to do but I'm such a workaholic that I don't like doing anything that isn't actually being productive towards some sort of goal.  That's really why I don't draw or make music any more, I found it just so pointless to do and I didn't feel like I was actually all that good at it, only mediocre so why continue?

I had a nice bonus on my paycheck that is coming up tomorrow, I'm not sure if it was including the developer license for Attributes Slider that we agreed upon for work.  It might have had that but also had other bonuses from something else because it was more than that, I'm also not sure if the Attributes Slider license actually made it onto this paycheck or not, if not then I still have another bonus coming up on the next paycheck which will be really nice.  It will come in handy this weekend when I head out to REI to buy a tent and stove and cooking kit for the Pizza Farm trip at the end of the month. I'm hoping that doesn't end up being too much money but I'm OK with having to dip into my savings a bit for it because it's a good investment into something I do like to do for recreation.

I'm also going to try to make a large payment on my credit card to start paying off my new laptop, and maybe pick up a pressure sensitive tablet for drawing on my computer.  I'm thinking of the Wacom Bamboo Create pad which seems like a pretty decent one for not a whole lot of money.  I'm hoping maybe I can get back into drawing if I can do it directly in Photoshop or Illustrator instead of being limited to pen or pencil which is all I seem to use any more.  I'm not sure really what I want to draw, probably just more humanoid stuff like I used to when I was an artist, faces running into faces and machines overtaking body parts, stuff like that. I had tried using a tablet before quite awhile ago, maybe 8 or 9 years.  But I only had it a little while before I had to sell it to make rent or pay for whiskey or something else, I wasn't nearly as good with my money back then.  So hopefully having it more than a few weeks I can start to get used to it and create some real artwork with it.  I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish by getting back into drawing, maybe just trying to have anything that I do as recreation to try and seem more interesting if I make another profile on a dating site.  Which really isn't a great reason to do it.  I don't think that I'm going to become a world class artist or anything, or make anything that will really make anyone think or anything.  But I still feel like doing it, maybe just to fill up some of the extra hours that I have when I sit around the house alone.

I've wanted to get back into playing music as well but that's a lot more expensive to get started, especially if I want to actually do any recording and create digital backing tracks for drums or bass or other sounds.  The guitar I have won't stay in tune anymore and doesn't have pickups any more, I want to start playing electric again if I start up.  That also brings up the whole noise problem with living in an apartment building.  So I think anything that I do towards that goal will probably be waiting a couple of years until I have a better living situation and more money.  I may not ever get back into it really, I do really feel like I burned out the circuits in my brain for creating music by abusing it trying to take LSD every weekend for several months on end to play music on street corners to make money.  I made a lot of money but I also got really antisocial and felt like I played everything that I would ever play, and I just got sick of hearing the same things coming out of my fingers over and over again.  When I try to pick up the guitar now all I hear are echos of actually being good at it, all I have is frustration that my fingers don't do what I'm telling them to do any more.  I'm not sure what I can do to break free of this, I think actually starting to record and using software to mix in with samples and other instruments may help but it could just be that I'm now broken and will never be able to play properly again.  I've thought about trying to take LSD again and see if I can 'undo' the damage done to my neural pathways.  That seems pretty dangerous though, I haven't taken any hallucinogens in years and wouldn't even know where to get quality product any more.  That was actually one of the problems with the stuff I was using when I was playing the music on the street corner, it was low quality and it was more the other chemicals that were influencing me, making me play faster and more coherently but not having the same insight or connection with the guitar.

Anyway that was really about it for today.  Tomorrow is more work and then my first appointment for counselling to try and be less depressed.  It's only a half hour session so I'm sure not much will happen, just probably finding out what my goals are and what my problems are.  I know exactly what my problem is, I'm not OK with the fact that I'm doomed to be alone.  That's what all of my problems come back down to at the root of them, really.  I'm not sure how they're going to help me with this, it seems like an insurmountable problem to me.  I guess that's why I need help.

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