Saturday, 27 July 2013

A cow is to Cowley

My dear friend Ryan has decided he'd like to learn a programming language. Now this has provoked much debate between the #boss and I. Actually, it's provoked no debate as both the languages initially on offer to the young chap are not the best place to start, though it's debatable what *is* the best place to start.


He commented that he'd just heard some beardy types in sandals asking "what's the difference, they've both got Java in?". Let me explain...

Firstly, as part of the day job I get to use both on occasions, Javascript for a little bit of front end work on webviews or webtools to offload some of the rendering from the server and, even more occasionally when working on applications for Android. I'm really not a fan, though I do like that I can keep things off the wire with Javascript. But the big differences are:
  • There is *no* common root between the languages, the (possibly urban legend) story is that Netscape came up with the name to make people think they were related as Java was the Next Big Thing™ at the time.
  • Java uses an implicit this scope for non-static methods as well as an implicit class scope. Javascript has an implicit global scope. The implications of this are pretty wide ;-)
  • Java is statically typed whereas Java is dynamically typed and this can be abused at will
  • Java is also strongly typed...
  • Java uses block based scoping (yay!) but Javascript uses function based scoping (there be dragons)
  • Java is class based but Javascript is prototype based. Which means more opportunity for abuse as you casually add new prototypes for a giggle
  • Java has constructors that can only be called on construction, Javascript constructors are just normal functions and can be a bit rock and roll in appearance.
  • Java demands all non-block statements to have semicolons at the end, Javascript will play merry and add some for you in certain circumstances.
  • Java can only be variadic if specifically defined, Javascript lets you run merrily through the code chucking daisies and roses abound one day, but doing nothing the next.
  • Java doesn't have real closures, they have to be faked, but Javascript is quite grown up and has them.
  • Java is tied to its class and can't be redefined at runtime, Javascript isn't and can be redefined at will
  • Java is usually compiled to byte code before distribution (no peaking at the source), Javascript is usually distributed in source form and interpreted on the fly. Which is nice as you can see how things are done.
Finally, other popular comparisons:
  • Java is to Javascript as a ham is to hamster
  • Java is to Javascript as a car is to carpet
And my personal view... Java looks like fun at first but becomes a pain the the proverbial and never goes back to being nice. Javascript though looks like a badgers interpretation of a Van Gogh but you learn to love and appreciate it once you learn the tricks.

Friday, 26 July 2013

A stitch in time...

And so the contrary holiday rumbled on. Traditionally on holidays one is awake until late then has a lazy lay in before rushing down to the hotel breakfast at the last minute. Not in my book. At 6am I was watering the garden and by 7am I'd breakfasted and started to lay out the pattern pieces I'd prepared the night before. A bit like germans doing the towel thing by the pool.

Only with scissors.

That all went swimmingly well though it did remind me that I really ought to get another cutting board and rotary cutter as it makes life an awful lot easier. The day though went swiftly and remarkably efficiently, my only break being a trip to the best shop on the planet for evening winez and a pack of hand sewing needles. Honestly, I was on an actual roll with only one mishap involving scissors and the bodice. Oops. Oh well, I really wanted to re-cut pieces and make again.

Or not.

By 5:30pm I was finished all bar the zip, strap placement and final hemming. Oh yes.

Which was why I started making pasta dough as I had both my bezzie and the boss coming round for food and wine. Which would be great except for the fact that the living room had bred actual contrary chaos with little bits of cloth and threads everywhere.

The vacuum cleaner has never been so busy so often!

This is okay. As everyone knows, making dough for lasagna sheets means you have to leave at least 30 minutes for the dough to rest which was when I ran round like a woman posessed trying to clear up the chaos. I was finished with literally moments to spend as first the bezzie and then the boss managed to breach security at the front gate and were literally buzzing my buzzer...

Any dreams of having at least started the ragu was completely lost. To make matters worse I also lost the garlic I was going to use.

Oops. Again.

See the trouble is I like to slow cook for intense flavour so it wasn't until around 8:15 that I was ready to roll the pasta sheets... Or come out with a stream of euphemisms and double-entendres to end all streams of euphemisms and double-entendres. You wouldn't think rolling pasta could be such a giggle.

Or an excuse for pervy behaviour.

Yep, the boss decided to video the process, or our cleavages and, being slightly tiddly, we might have done the whole Nigella thing. Shameless. Quite shameless.

And then it got worse.

Pasta making with #boss
picture by @PrincessOfVP
The boss decided that he would also like to try his hand at turning the roller and stepped in. Of course he then also had to unbutton his shirt to show his own (lack of) cleavage.

I don't think I'll be able to face him on Monday without giggling.

Which reminds me, I must tell my flatmate that we froze some of the resulting lasagne in case she needed to eat on her return. 45 minutes after the giggling we were ready to eat, I'd magically removed all the removed al the remaining chaos on the table so we could actually eat and the evening rolled on until eventually even I had to stop eating.

It really was a fab evening.

Contrary peas!
This morning was another early start. The big news is that we have peas! I'd not really noticed them yesterday but once I saw one I realised there were loads, very exciting. I was amazed at how fast they went from flowering to actual pea pods showing. Quite stunning.

The rest of the morning was almost a repeat of the day before, breakfast, sewing, looking at ducklings, but I did at least finish the second dress. Or at least finish for now as after wearing it for a couple of hours I decided I needed to shorten the straps a little to stop them falling off my shoulders (my hips hold the dress up) but for that I will get somebody, we'll call her my flatmate, to help by pinning them whilst I wear it.

I'm sure that won't hurt.

Finally though it was time for my little holiday to end so with a flurry of bin emptying and packing my
It fits!
weekend bag I scampered off in the general direction of Kings Cross and a trip to Norfolk.

But that's not quite where the story ends.

On the train to Cambridge a lady sat opposite me, I blurted “I've met you before”, as I had, maybe four years ago on the Cambridge to Norwich train. I think she was slightly taken aback that I remembered she was a biologist studying fruit fly fertility for her PhD. You see, I might not be able to remember names or what day of the week it is, but I do remember the story and detail of most things.

It was lovely to chat and catchup as the train roared its way to Cambridge and hence my journey beyond...

Until next time.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A very contrary holiday.

Much to the annoyance of my flatmate I've rather lost my way over the last few months, and I don't mean in the way her boyfriend is incapable of getting to the Tesco in Bow with less than four attempts. That's the trouble with big life changes, they have an impact and it's rather inevitable that my changes wouldn't bring a well of goodies.

So, with Clare escaping the insanity of Contrary Towers for lots of sun, sea and I presume wild sex, I also decided to actually take a few days off to see if I could get my mind to try and join up some of the unjoinable thoughts that are rattling around...

Yep, I took a holiday.

Admittedly not one that might be recognised my normal people. I kind of started on Friday night and did something I've not been able to do in ages, I went to the cinema alone. Really this was because I needed to see something silly and not have to think about things too much, so The World's End seemed the perfect solution. Inevitably I asked for opinions on Twitter and, well, only got one and that wasn't great, so I ignored it and, after popping in to Tesco for a box of Maltesers to pig my way through, went anyway.

It was good.

Not the most comprehensive review I'll grant you, but honestly if I was to explain why I thought it was really quite clever it would be an epic spoiler to end all spoilers. So, good one liners, some references back to the previous outings of Pegg et al and a bit of a rekindled bromance to suit. Oh, and a mint cornetto.

So film done I headed back east, changing at Bank as I didn't fancy Mile End, really, who could. Trouble was the DLR was going to be a seven minute wait. SEVEN MINUTES. I blame Boris.

I'd already been toying with walking so I decided this was a sign, left at Monument and wandered towards Tower Hill. As you do. Trouble was I still couldn't decide what to do. So I did what any sensible woman would do. I sat down and presented my options to Twitter: tube, DLR, taxi, Boris bike, Bus or walk...

First response from a good friend of mine was to walk as it was cool, so walk I did. It was certainly a lovely evening for it and I only thought "what the hell was I thinking" a few times as I walked through some of the more desolate parts of Wapping and Shadwell. After all, it was now getting dark.

The next morning I was up not as early as I wanted to be so I could spend the day in the office, things I wanted to clear up. I did have a deadline though as I intended to head to Brick Lane at some point in search of fabric. And a baegel.

Oh yes.

As I was determined to do things differently, or I couldn't face the hell known as the Central Line I found a comfortable number 25 omnibus, got out my book and settled down to read as it fought its way from Oxford Street to somewhere near Aldgate. It was really quite a pleasant journey and nicely set me up for my contrary holiday as I couldn't understand a single word that people were saying.

Fortunately the journey was swift and with a flourish - read: nigh on emergency stop - I hopped off and meandered on in search of a mad fabric. Which, naturally, I found.

Trouble with holidays is they have tourists.

Baegel. Nom.
And Brick Lane really has tourists. I don't like tourists. Meandering bastards blocking the pavements in random and unpredictable ways, couldn't they see I was a woman on a mission?! Eventually I made it to the 24 hour baegel place so I could indulge in a hot salt beef filled baegel and, of course, send a picture to annoy my flatmate. So I did...

Burgers were being promised back in Contrary Towers so back I crawled though I didn't expect to see people for long as the travellers had to be up at 3am. I've not had a burger in a while and these really were quite lovely.

Sunday dawned rather early, I was wide awake long before their alarm went off and enjoyed the delicate night sounds of Poplar, such as something that was very much like a pistol shot. Next noise, after the alarm, was Clare making an almighty clatter before texting to say she could never be stealthy. If I was mean I would have said I'd been woken by it...

Good job I'm not mean!

Baby carrotz
The only worry was that I was going to be held responsible for anything that happens to the Contrary Garden. Oh dear...

I was awake nice and early to water the garden before having a day of generally sorting bits and pieces out. I had intended to start cutting fabric for dress making, but, being a ditz, hadn't remembered to pre-shrink by washing so cutting and sewing would be delayed until Monday. I could live with that and, with a an maniacal diligence proceeded to do very little all day.

Chillie putting out...
Actually, I say very little, but that's not strictly true. I did some work, made some deductions, sent emails about deductions and... Buried a ghost. I'll not say any more about that to anyone other to Clare if she wants to know, some things really aren't for public consumption.

Oh, I also made a bag. As you do.

Monday. 5am. Awake. Not just awake, up, ready and resisting the urge to head for Mile End and ultimately W1. At 0701 I was in the Fortnum and Mason of Poplar (Lidl) to stock up on, well, everything. Turns out it was the grocery shop where we need all the really heavy stuff. What was worse was the probably alcoholic gentleman - he had a trolley with many loose bottles of lager - decided to flirt. *sighs*

Sew, a needle pulling thread.
Anyway, little trolley filled I struggled home, actually struggled, and collapsed in a heap. But not for long. I spent the day pattern making, watching cranes being erected, sewing, cleaning, vacuuming and generally being busy. I even found time to poke my legs out in the sun. It was really quite an eclectic way to spend the day.

Which was nice.

Happy Birthday Clare x
The evening saw a visit by my bezzie which mostly consisted of us chatting for England, drinking teh winez, eating lasgna (the last of my frozen batch) and toasting my flatmate on her big birthday.

Tuesday was a bit weird. I needed a few bits and pieces and vaguely thought that the Waitrose/John Lewis at Canary Wharf had a haberdashery. Turns out I was wrong. Pfft. So I scooted on the Jubilee Line to Bond Street and needed supplies. And went home.

Fortunately the effect of being abroad continued, I didn't hear another english accent or, indeed, speak with
*our* crane
anyone again including until now on Wednesday night. Uh oh. Now the irony is that when abroad I do speak, at least once I re-acclimatise myself to the relevant language, but here I just saw nobody.

But that's okay, I sewed and fiddled and thought and slowly but surely switched gears.

Which brings me to Wednesday. Another early start, more sewing and twiddling. More looking at cranes and wondering what the hell the builders actually do. And more watering the garden at 6am before the sun decides to be mean.

Checking it fits!
I did though finish my dress, or at least the first one. And made a matching tote bag. And I am in the middle of getting ready to cut fabric for the next dress. So that's good.

I've also cleaned, vacuumed, done washing and eaten probably too much. I know it's not most people's idea of a holiday but, really, this is progress for me. I still can't see myself going off to sunny climes and sit by a pool alone, but at least I managed a few days. And sure it would be nice to go off and spend time somewhere with someone but, well, I don't know anyone insane enough to do that with me.

So, I'll sew.

Chin-chin darlings.

The Costa del Contrary, complete with sun and authentic building site.