Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How To Fix a NullPointerException?

Here's one of those memonts when my lips and my mind say/think differently.

QA Guy runs web application and hollers: Hey, Ann! There's a NullPointerException.

Gaaah! I hate it when people call me Ann*. But now that I'm a small fish (tropical, that is) in a big pond of US Citizens and immigrants, I have given in. Why? I guess I just got tired and lazy to exacerbate the triviality of this annoyance. And oh, since he had to shout out loud "NullPointerException"... I might as well call the ambulance! Boohoo!
ME: Okay... In which screen? Have you logged it as a Defect?

We have a cool tool you know. You sign in, open a few screens, describe your findings, and I'll get back to you with a solution. That's HOW it works, ya know!
QA Guy: No. Looook.

Fine. Now he wants me to walk over and read the logfile. Okay. He might make sense this time, who knows? He might be a wonderful professional afterall.
ME: What did you do to find that error?

QA Guy: I don't know. You think you can fix it?

Sure. I can fix anything. I've been involved in this project for barely a week. Sure. I can fix anything. And yes, a NullPointerException explains EVERYTHING. A NullPointerException can be caused by an OCEAN of possibilities! I need specific details, phhleeeazzzzz! I don't have to explain that to you. You must have been in the IT industry when I was still watching Sesame Street or Ghostbusters!

ME: I can try.

Fast forward one month. He got moved to another floor. Yippiyayey!!! Here's a bonus, my Project Manager wanted me back to join my former team. Goodbye lazy, pretentious QA Guy! You're a shame to the real QA people I know (back home) who know what they do and are good at it.

* Ann sounds too girly for me. Too common. And, guess what I prefer to be called with? Marie. Hahaha! Someone once reacted, "And you think "Marie" isn't common? Duh!" Yeah. I'm wonderfully weird sometimes. Thank God for friends who can say such things in my face. Really.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Lost In Translation"

Who: YBW - Young Brown Woman (That's me!) and OWW - Old White Woman (Well, an old white American woman)
What: They had a short, weird chitchat
When: One sunny Saturday afternoon, many weeks ago
Where: Inside a chapel

OWW: "What time does the mass start?"
YBW: "I'm not sure, I haven't been here this time of the day before."
OWW: "I see."
(short pause)
OWW: "Are you Thai?"
YBW: "No, I am Filipino. Why?"
OWW: "Nothing. There's just so many of you here now, it's hard to tell."
(some silence)
YBW: "Are you here for the anticipated mass?"
OWW: "Say what?"
YBW: "anticipated mass" (Speaking slightly louder. YBW wonders if OWW has hearing problems.)
OWW: "Oh.. oh yes!"
(short pause)
OWW: "Nice. You are not second class [Filipino]."
YBW was silent. Her brows could knit a table cloth!

What the hell was she trying to say?!?! I don't have a clear understanding of what she meant upto now. A dozen thoughts rushed into my mind that moment but, I rather not jot them down here. I leave the rest to you, my fellow Filipinos.

Monday, July 30, 2007

How to be a Lazy Jogger

"So where are you going today?", asked my roomie who just got dressed for work one Saturday afternoon. "I'll take a jog nearby, maybe just by the park around this block," I said. "Be careful, okay. Remember when two big men saw us jogging together and stared at us like they were going to eat us? Argh! Be careful, okay?" "I will," I assured her.

Tada! Forty-five minutes later, I found myself more than a mile away from our apartment. I have a couple of books in my sling bag which I intend to return to the library. I've been going to the Evanston Public Library since I moved here; and I never had to buy books! (I am not cheap, just smart. Haha! Okay, okay, cheap AND smart. Hey, I consider it my way of taking benefit from the taxes the government takes from my paycheck! Besides, I really enjoy spending a few hours in the library, when I feel like it.)

I spent a few moments browsing through a current issue of Home Journal magazine which has two of my favorite celebrity chefs on its cover: Giada de Laurentiis and Ina Garten. I got a hold of 3 more books that I could take home with me. I borrowed Like Water For Chocolate, Moby Dick -- The White Whale, and The Inquisitive Cook. Yey!

I checked out of the library and jogged around a corner. I felt hungry and I was craving for freshly baked bread when I saw the Panera Bakery. Yeeeeee! The lazy jogger decided to take a break. She took her time skimming through the overhead menu. She was delighted with the sight of bread and pastries in the store. "I'd like to have a Portobello Mushrooms and Mozzarella Panini, please, ... and a tall glass of green iced tea."

The lazy jogger savored every bite of her grilled sandwich. She munched on the crunchy bread that hold together the stringy cheese and tender mushrooms. She picked up small bits of caramelized onion that fell off at every bite. Yummmy... She wondered, "Should I still jog my way back home or should I just take the train?"

She headed out of the bakery. With a fully belly, she decided to walk to the lake. The lake was making beautiful crashing sounds against the rocky shore. So, the lazy jogger sat by a big rock and basked in the sun. She let the wind brush her sweaty hair, reminding her of the ocean she misses back home. She misses the triggerfish that almost bit her on one dive, the big waves at Siargao, and the colorul fish and corals in the shallow shores of Anilao.

Time to jog. Again. She jogged alongside health buffs who were sweating like crazy. Some faces were familiar -- faces that she had seen jogging past by her an hour ago. She got distracted with the sight of one man jogging with his baby in its trolley. Cool eh? Talk about multitasking -- jogging and baby-sitting!

She heard dogs barking by the beach, with their owners throwing neon-colored toys to the lake. The dogs happily swim to the lake to get the toy back! The lazy jogger stopped and realized she finally found the Dog Beach she once read online. Lucky dogs. Then she wonders, do these dogs have lifeguards too? Could they be dogs, too?

It's past 5pm and the sun is still glaring. The lazy jogger forced herself to continue and not be distracted anymore. She made her promise till she realized she almost got lost. Thanks to the grid-like streets of Evanston, she managed to get home, relying on basic high school geometry concepts: perpendicular and parallel lines.

"What a pleasant afternoon jogging around Evanston! Now it's time to shift gears; time to do my laundry..."

Monday, May 14, 2007

KANAN, right?

Boat named "Kanan" @Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
Notice the boat docked at the Navy Pier here at Chicago, IL. "Kanan" in Filipino means right, hence my title-that-tries-to-be-catchy. This boat Kanan brings tourists around Downtown Chicago (backdrop), which I yet have to try. For now, I enjoy waving at them (or not) when these boats cruise along Chicago River which is very close to my office building.

Here's more about Navy Pier and Chicago's love for the arts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I'm 28 on the 28th

That's tomorrow -- my first birthday away from home.

When I was very young, I dreamed of getting married at the age of 28. It's the age that I think I am already capable of nurturing my own family and withstanding its difficulties. It's the age that I think I am mature enough to do a lot of things on my own. Well, I'm turning 28 tomorrow and I certainly am not getting married soon. I am not so sure if I am "mature enough to do a lot of things on my own". But I certainly am on my own now.

Contrary to other people, I like celebrating my birthday no matter how simple or extravagant the celebration may be. When I say celebrate, I do not necessarily mean having a party. I mean, celebrating it in a sense that I take that day more special than any other day. I do not keep it a secret from the people around me. To me, a birthday should be remembered not so to have a reason to indulge in parties and gimmicks. Likewise, I don't keep it a secret so I don't get pestered by my friends to have me treat them for snack or dinner. (Yeah, that's how birthdays are celebrated in my home country -- the celebrator spends for the party.)

A birthday is a reason to pause and look back at the blessings I have had in my lifetime. It's a stop sign in life's freeway to remind me that I have gone this far! I may not yet be as rich as I wanted to be... not yet as "fulfilled" as I wanted to be... but all that matters is I am here. I am alive. I AM.

Yes, I am geographically distant from my family but they are always in my heart. I admit I feel a tinge of pain for not having them around tomorrow. It's a feeling I cannot tramp on. Still, I feel blessed for belonging to them. Life is good. All it takes is a positive perspective.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Who did it???

Belle Isle Park @Detroit, Michigan

I took this picture during the winter when we were driving around Belle Isle Park. We were simply enjoying the view when... splat! bird poop!

Who among you did it???
Belle Isle Park @Detroit, Michigan

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I do not write poems but, one night, I find myself rolling uneasily in my shallow sleep. I've been pondering about my new endeavor in the coming months (or years). There's this feeling of needing to move... to flow... to always seek the unknown...

Flowing to the Unknown

I winked unto the vastness above me
The radiance of the sun pierces through my body
I am in the middle of nowhere but I am not lost
I am on my own but never alone

Strong winds take me to unknown shores
Where I bask in the pleasure of feeling alive
When nothing stirs me up, I still move somehow
I can never be still

I exist to conquer myself
I rise. I fall.
No matter what, I will need to flow

I go to places but I will always be me
I am the sea

Friday, January 05, 2007

I Got an 80Gig External Hard Disk For Christmas!!!


I was backing up my files from my office laptop to my spankin' new IBM external hard disk when I saw this...


This was taken Spring of 2005 by my friend and officemate who I travelled around Toronto with. This was taken somewhere along Church Street (See the irony? Hehe!) at downtown Toronto. It was the season when same-sex marriages in Canada got legalized.