Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Notes on Denver

Here are some initial impressions on my new home city:

1) When you are used to driving in Washington, DC, driving in Denver seems so orderly. There are precious few diagonal streets, no circles to speak of, and no squares. I don't miss Pierre L'Enfant's creation one bit!
2) Traffic here is relative. I was moving at 25-30mph the other day and heard the folks on the radio cite bad traffic where I was. Back in DC, bad traffic meant turn around and go back where you came from. This is not bad.
3) It was 17 degrees here on Saturday. In October. Also, it snowed twice last week. I am not sure it snowed twice last year in DC. All year.
4) There are many delicious Colorado beers. I could spend a great deal of time making my way through all the beers made by Avery, New Belgium, Odell's, Boulder Beer, Breckenridge, etc, and I plan to do so.
5) You have to water your plants approximately 4 times a week here. It's challenging to keep up with this.
6) People here are oddly friendly. We actually went to a Home Depot twice and left both times feeling like we were emerging from an alternate universe where the employees are friendly and helpful, the parking lot tranquil, and the store both organized and not overfull.
7) They close the highways here when it snows. I don't remember too many road closings back in DC when it actually snowed. That almost kept us from getting to the airport this weekend.
8) Sunflower Farmers Market is the greatest grocery store in the history of grocery stores. No matter what you buy, the final bill is no more than $40. So awesome.
9) I suppose that eventually I might take it for granted, but man is it incredible to look out the window while driving and see the Rockies.
10) The light rail here is pleasant to ride. They have a schedule, and the trains come on schedule. It's as different as can be from the Metro in DC - the main similarity is that they are both trains. Past that, you wouldn't really find too many parallels.

More to come.

When Stupid Attacks (.bat file edition)

I'd just like to point out that today I spent about 3 hours trying to write a Windows batch file to do some string replacement. This script is only for developers and development machines. The same script took me seriously less than 5 minutes for Linux. Why so hard on Windows? Because their scripting environment sucks.

But, I stuck it out. I wrote a long and scary script that tried to take into account empty lines, commented lines, and lines that actually stores the properties that I wanted to write. I got something that worked 'mostly', and thought about spending even more time on it when I finally stopped being stupid and decided that I should be using the Windows port of sed. It was one of those times that I just wasn't thinking clearly in my haste to write some code. Just a friendly reminder - if it's hard and feels like a hack, it's probably the wrong thing to do, and there's probably something smarter to do - sometimes you just have to take a step back to do it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Well, here I am writing to you from Denver, Colorado. At the start of September, I was unemployed, living with my in-laws in Maryland, doing a lot of odds and ends, but generally spinning my wheels. Fast forward to October. After three days on the road, through rain, wind, and farms, we arrived here in the Rockies.

This is our new house. So far we love it. It's in a great neighborhood close to restaurants and shopping, a couple miles from the light rail, and near a bunch of grocery stores etc. It's kind of empty right now, as we endeavor to spend all of our money filling it with furniture, but so far it's awesome. There are some things that will take getting used to, like having a yard for the first time since high school, which is great, but which requires foreign activities like lawn mowing and hedge trimming. Also, in Denver you have to drink 700 glasses of water every day or else you dry up and turn into dust, which is a decent trade-off compared to humidity. It's also supposed to snow this weekend (IT'S OCTOBER!!!), but in DC it never snows, if you don't count 1.5 inches of ice every other year.

All in all, we are pretty damned excited to get our life here underway. We miss all of our friends and family back east, but we encourage them to visit early and often, but not too early, as we have no guest mattress yet =)