Saturday, April 19, 2008

Java Boot Camp

My summer on-the-job training (OJT) at Orange and Bronze consists of lectures, programming exercises and two machine problems; the training program focuses on object-oriented software design, with Java as the target language. Training starts at 9am and ends at 6pm at the earliest, Mondays through Fridays. I've got my entire summer covered. ~.~ Although I didn't enrol this OJT as an elective - I'd already gotten all the electives I need this past semester - I still feel like I'm taking a summer class. We even have machine problems. Good grief. XP Wish me luck.

Yesterday I was wearing my programmer's dunce cap throughout the session. I came in forty minutes late (my bad ^^) and found I only had fifteen minutes to answer a 25-point quiz about the lectures the day before. I sat down, uncapped the ballpoint pen provided on my desk and started scribbling on the quiz paper. I was thinking, this is ok, I studied last night so I remember the concepts. I answered the questions fairly quickly, and felt pretty confident about all my answers; however, in the pit of my stomach I knew I had had that same feeling of confidence during mediocre exams/quizzes/exercises in the past. I guess I'll find out how well (ie, poorly) I did on Monday.

During the group exercises we were asked to draw UML and sequence diagrams. I know the regular UML diagrams; we used them just last semester. The sequence diagrams, on the other hand, blew my mind. I must have been particularly scatterbrained yesterday, 'cause sequence diagrams are supposed to be straightforward. They outline the sequence of events during a program's execution; each method call is represented by a corresponding arrow from the method's parent object to the object it interacts with. We did the exercises by group; I was grouped with the newly hired employees, who had to undergo training before they could start working with the other developers. Coincidentally all three of us are from UPD, whereas the others were from La Salle. By far, our group had the most hang-ups. One of my groupmates forgot to save her files and had to redo all her work, thus forcing us to wait for all the other groups to finish presenting their diagrams. My other groupmate and I spent too much time discussing our own diagrams, since we had to use the same classes; by the time I began working on my sequence diagram the other groups were already presenting theirs. To cap it all off, my sequence diagram was the worst; it was largely incomplete, since I didn't account for the entire sequence of executed actions. My presentation got the most sympathetic looks from the developers who had dropped in to watch us. ~.~ I singlehandedly brought shame upon my department (Computer Science, no less) and my university. Gah. T_T I guess I was lucky that the other trainees were already bored when it was my turn to present, and didn't pay any attention to me at all.

I hope I can redeem myself (and my department XP) in future exercises, especially during the machine problems. I've just emailed the assigned exercises; they worked just fine when I tested them. Let's hope they still work fine when they reach the facilitator's inbox. XP

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I scrounged up some old things I wrote back in high school. A couple of them seemed decent enough to put up here, so here they are. :)

* * *

Eulogy for my second hamster; also an assignment for English (6-22-02)


"He's dead!"

At first, I couldn't believe my ears. My mother was holding Sean up by the scruff of his neck. His little body was limp, unmoving. I hoped that he would move, even just twitch - anything to prove that my mother was wrong.

He remained still as a tiny statue.

Sean was my second hamster. He was a normal-sized one, larger than my first hamster Clint, who was a teddy-bear hamster. His fur was yellow with a hint of orange; not quite gold, more of a bright orange. It was long and fuzzy, although during the latter part of his life it had started to thin out, a sign of old age. Despite the "bald" spot on his back, I still enjoyed stroking him when I came home from school. He never seemed to mind.

My mother had placed him outside the cage to keep him from the other hamster, Ken. She said that he was still soft and warm; he had probably just died. I didn't want to see him lying there, stiff, his eyes closed. I was crying before I could stop myself. I knew that he was already old - hamsters have lifespans of around one to three years, and he had just celebrated his first "birthday" a few days before that - but his death was still a shock, for I hadn't thought that he would go so soon. I wanted to stroke his soft fur one last time, but I couldn't make myself do it. He seemed so different, when his life had already ebbed away from his body.

An hour or so had passed before I could strike up enough courage to hold him. At that time rigor mortis had already set in, and he was hard as a rock. So different from the usually soft and warm Sean whom I always stroked in the evenings after school. The difference startled me so much that I almost dropped him when I placed him back on the table. The touch of death had changed him, morphed him into an unmoving, unfeeling chunk of hardened flesh. After that I no longer looked at him until my father had taken him, placed him inside a little plastic bag and disposed of him outside. Sean was no more.

* * *

Something I wrote in class when I was really bored; pardon the existentialism ^^; (1-23-03)

Student's Mantra

Sit down in class and perk your ears,
Listen to vacuous words floating in mid-air,
just missing their targets by half a thought.
Get pen and paper and write them down,
Fold a day's worth of information and put it in your pocket.
Stare at the exam paper sitting quietly beneath your nose,
Read over and over again instructions typed by weary fingers.
Wrack your brain for answers long forgotten
To questions whose importance remains dubious and unrecognized.
Work. Toil endlessly without fail, needlessly.
Devour countless books, ingest all information.
Use it to pass tests and get your diploma.
Go to college, sacrifice all pleasure and experience.
Get your degree and acquire a high-paying job,
Indulge in your career, in its mundane pointlessness.
Be slave to your family, slaving for money
The true backbone of your existence.
Face problems whose solutions you didn't find in class.
Receive burdens your forefathers handed down to you.
Aspire to become the most learned, the most lettered
Corpse in your graveyard.

[In retrospect, this poem is awfully bitter. Goodness, what was I so riled about? XP ahahaha]

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Small Things

The linen-white color of nails after a bath at the end of the day, when exams are over and fresh clothes have been laid out on the bed.

Bring offered a seat by a good-looking guy on the bus from Taft Avenue to Baclaran, and again by a better-looking guy on the bus from Baclaran to Casimiro.

Bathing with lemon soap that fills the bathroom with the smell of honey-lemon Halls.

A message from a friend whose advice is simple: get up, move on, forget.

A shared glance with the boy I pined for not so long ago; he still wears his hair long and wavy, still sports the same trimmed goatee, and goes to class in a T-shirt, shorts, and rugged rubber slippers.

Finding a can of tuna chunks in vegetable oil in a kitchen cabinet when I wake up in the middle of the night with a grumbling stomach and no memory of eating dinner.

A pink tongue licking my hand, a wet nose inspecting my clothes, furry ears waiting to be scratched and dirty paws leaning on my legs, craving acknowledgement.

Reading the blogs of friends and acquaintances, catching up with lives already heading in opposite directions, and sharing snippets of conversation that are anywhere from hours to days in between.

An old photo of my brother and his wife before they were married above the TV in my room, which used to be his; their faces are two halves of the same moon, one white, the other black, smiles identical, wide and bright.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


He even has his own prayer rug. :) Lines for a poem come to my mind, but I'm hesitant to write them down...well, maybe later. :D