Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Densha Otoko

I've been watching a J-dorama (Japanese soap) named Densha Otoko, literally translated as Train Man. Its a guy meets girl story, except that the guy is a super anime geek, while the girl is rich and cultured. they got to meet when the guy defended the girl from a drunk on a train, and by defend i mean knees shaking and promptly getting his ass kicked. But the main twist of the series is that the guy goes online to ask on tips on how to get the girl. Really.

It really hits home for me because i could really relate to the guy. Not knowing what to do, trembling as he dialed the girl's phone number for the first time, stuttering, being totally clueless, and the huge anime figurine collection in his room (something i wish i had).

I cried a lot watching the series, mostly because the insecurities Densha Otoko had are the same insecurities i used to have, and that i am still having. But at the end, when the people he met online became his closest friends, and he had to say goodbye, it was the most heartwrenching of the series.

Because he made it that far because of his friends. And he knows that. "If there was only one thing in the world i could be proud of, it is this thread, because my friends are here."

I just finished my graduate thesis. And I feel the same way. I could not have made it this far without you guys, i really mean it.

The final (imagined) scene was the girl and the guy on a train as it steamed out of the station, while all of his online friends were on the platform, cheering them on. (I say imagined because they all never got to see each other, they're close friends even if they have not met). And they pulled away into the night.

I feel like my train is leaving now, and all my friends are on the platform, waving me on. I may not have a girl on the train with me, but at least I have you guys.

Thank you so much. I am very blessed to have met all of you. ^_^

Monday, May 15, 2006

AM Radio

Just a short post, im reliving a fond childhood memory. I guess all of us remember this scene when we were young, with a storm raging outside for the whole night with howling wind and hammering rain. The feeling of being so cold that you'd rather stay curled up in your warm bed.

But you still get out of bed when mom turns on the radio and switches to AM (its always DZRH at our house). There's this sense of anticipation, all ears are turned towards the radio, hoping against hope that the announcement would come. The air is filled with the smell of wet earth; the smell of air crisp and clear with the city's perrenial smog blown away, mixing with the smell of fried rice.

And then it happens. Classes suspended in all levels. You get excited, you eat breakfast, and then you crawl back into bed, falling asleep to flash reports.

Its never going to happen to us again. It is a rare storm that causes even work to be suspended (and the announcement comes when we're at work already; after going though a wet hell to get to the office you have to go though that again). But now, with the storm raging outside, and the smells coming back, and my comptuer here in Baguio streaming DZRH over the internet; it makes me wish that classes are suspended, and that i could crawl back into my warm safe bed of childhood.

100 hours left

Its 1am on dark and stormy night here in baguio. Even though the storm has gone, its still gusting outside, coming and going as if it were ocean waves. I think it's 14 degrees outside, any person with a sane mind would be fast asleep curled up under the covers.

Not me. This morning i realized that i had exactly 100 hours left to finish my thesis. Just 4 days left...

You know in the movies, like those boxing-type movies, where its the final round and the hero remembers all the training that he went though to get to that point? I'm having that now. Looking back at the past year, all the stuff I've done up to now where I'm basically just running my thesis program now gathering metrics, it seems so unreal. Slowing building up the system, hammering over 10000 lines of code, bleeding over every word of my (currently) 39 page final paper (which looks soo good on latex XD ). Its just scary how, that after 5 years of masters, im almost done.

Not out of the woods yet. I still have 36 hours of test runs to do, still have to gather metrics, correlate results, write my conclusion... I remember two weeks ago, i was basically slacking off as my thesis program run on automated test data; i was simply waiting for the results to come. Then on Horrible Friday (May 6, 12 days before the deadline) i found out that for the last three days I was running the wrong program. And when I loaded the right one, it wasn't working.

It took all week last week to debug my program. The problem with debugging is that you can't give yourself a deadline to when the code is good enough. Your program just suddenly works, it could be today, it could be two years from now, you are never sure. And it feels extra bad, I was almost through, I could taste it in my mouth and it still wasnt there. It was only just this Friday when I managed to get reliable runs on my thesis. I've been gathering data non-stop since then, still have so many runs to do. I just might make it, or I might not.

The problem is the weather. Had a few power fluctuations today, and a 5 minute brownout (good thing the UPS's held the system together). Anything that can destroy UP Baguio will destroy my thesis too: my backups are in multiple computers, but all in a single building, its just too big (20MB) to back it up on a server far away. I'm also exausted from just sleeping less than 4 hours a day for more than 7 days. It's cold, Im exausted, Im afraid of getting sick. Im paranoid, I know, but I've grappled with Murphy's law before and when you're almost done, it becomes a whole lot more scarier. I feel bad too to have missed a friend's wedding.

Im really thankful for all the nice scripts that you can create linux. Most of my tests are automated now, all i have to do is to type the appropriate commands to start my thesis runs, and data gathering from multiple computers, collation and graphing (using gnuplot) all done effortlessly now. And Im actually thankful for Horrible Friday, because I thought my program was running correctly, I could concentrate on paper writing (which is exausting too, I typed for four whole days, and treated myself to a big juicy stake when it was over). Im really thankful for all that, I cant seem to think anymore. I feel like a marathon runner at the end of the race, you're just too tired for any coherent thoughts left. And that's all i really have to do now, mindlessly run tests. Once they're all in, i'd get myself a good night's sleep and finish my results and conclusion in a day.

That's just that. Everything's so last minute. Like the last round of the boxing movie, you fight for 12 rounds and you think you're winning, but a single punch could turn everything around.

Oh goodness, im just soo tired. I feel like crying. But its almost over. Just a little bit more...

I'll be taking a nap now, still an hour before a run finishes. Wish me luck. ^_^