November 18, 1997

I've found that if I type with just the forefingers of both hands that my wrists don't hurt nearly as much as my frustration level does at the slowness. *laughter* Anyway... it was a really busy day, today, so I'm writing from home, though my eskimo account, which is behaving itself tonight, which is nice. I think my English gets far more convoluted when I'm not working through various bits of dictation software... Where was I?

Oh right, today.

Last night kinda setup today, as the game was very nice, actually, and it wasn't just that difference between the reluctance before a game starts and when I'm actually playing, which is a very real difference. This time we showed up with seven people and, thank everything, they showed up with only six. Seven is the legal lower limit, so we won before the game was even played. We all stayed and scrimmaged for fun, with only half the field and the ref playing for them. So the field wasn't as bit, there were fewer people, and we all got to touch the ball a lot more than usual. I scored twice in the first ten minutes including one utterly gorgeous header from a Paul corner kick. His kick came right across the goal mouth and to my forehead and I was able, for once, to head it *down* right by the foot of the guy that was standing in the goal.

That was very nice. I moved to the backline soon after that, and then did the usual milling-about aimlessly and playing in all odd positions simply because the field was open. That was fun. Low key, on the most part, and they had two or three good people, including the ref, who started hogging the ball more as the game went on, so I had fun hounding him. He passed more when it was all he really could do. So that made it more fun for everyone, though he was good and good humored about it.

We still didn't get to sleep until about 1am, what with game, shower, and dinner. And I had to get in before nine just in case I was needed to fill in emergency training. Ugh. That kinda hurt. One really, really keen thing was that John and Dan started assigning me bugs again, now that the bulk of my training stuff was done. So I got to dive deeper into the 32-bit code, going into sections that I'd never discovered or had to work with before, but with the people that had gone and the people that were going, I was going to probably have to take an even more active part in the reconstruction of certain sections, and learn something of their anatomy as I affected a few repairs that were due simply to switching to 32-bit Windows.

It was absorbing, as it ever is. I love the clue finding, the problem solving, the piecing together, here and there of the logics of the language, the workings of the system, the quirks of the source code library, and also then the coding assumptions of the original author. Take it all together and I get a really intricate and interesting puzzle, that takes a lot of time and thought to solve.

The problems are often frustrating, obscure, and just plain weird. It's Windows, so there are layers on layers within layers and sometimes the distance between the layers is like the distance between entire class types, jumping from application like views to the drawing of a single line using a single visual port that comes and goes with the tides of virtual memory. Add to the confusion the fact that the application's class libraries were based on the 3.1 Windows SDK's, but we're running and debugging through the 32-bit environments, which have grown quite a bit and are mostly documented through MFC, which we can't use.

What's really great is chasing down documentation on a particular function call that starts with the line, "Things documented here are only for the 3.1 SDK, they don't work this way in 32-bit Windows." but there is no documentation on how those things *do* work in 32-bit Windows. And then having to pull my head out of coding mind set enough to be able to read the bugger.

At about 4pm Tom Bowns came to me and asked, very politely, how I was about impromptu speaking, and all I could do was look at him. I had been head deep in a three callback, six class problem when he'd interrupted me, and my head was full of data, class structures, and message trees... and it was really hard to just understand what he was asking. At a glance from me, Tom just nodded as I stammered a bit, coming slowly up and he forgave me my inabilities and wandered back into the training lion's den, allowing me to get back to my trance. Thank everything for understanding co-workers.

So I got one problem fixed, which was just something related to the original problem, and, for once, it was John that came to me wanting to go home, but mostly because he wanted to grout all the tiles he'd put into the kitchen and bathroom. So he didn't really want me cooking, so we stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken!

I danced and sang and he laughed to see me that happy. Happy to be coding, happy for simple things like KFC *laughter*. It was always a treat when I was a kid, and when done infrequently enough, it still is, though an admittedly greasy one. So I had fun watching hockey while eating, Rangers against some new team. The Marlins? I wasn't sure. I just was mostly watching Gretzky, even hurt, is still the Great One. I realized, as I watched that I've gained a great deal of enjoyment from the simple fact that I can now *see* a play develop, that split second when the puck has stopped in front of an attacking player and my gut, my eye reacts even before my conscious brain can react with the knowledge that *now* is the moment.

That happened twice last night. One goal I made was entirely on the fly. I was just running as hard as I could down the right side, and Amy poked her foot out and poked the ball on a crazy curve in my general direction. I had to really reach to touch it at all, so I threw my foot at the ball in the direction I could feel the goal in, and got just enough foot on it to send it on a clean arch that landed right on the goal line. Because of the forces on the ball, and the spin, the ball took an immediate sixty degree turn after that, but was already through the goal. I'd kicked it, though, before I could even have thought.

The other was in matching one-on-one one of their fastest and their best men, and forgetting myself completely in order to match every motion he made. Giving myself enough room so that his speed couldn't take me completely by me, but close enough that if he failed in even one of his motions to control the ball that I would have it and him. The simple hard, fast reactions from side to side, without thought, completely and utterly focused on him, on flowing with every motion he made, knowing, bone-deep the physics of motion with the physical feeling of having a body fast enough to match each dart, each turn, stop, and double back because as strong as I was combined with as much weight as I lacked compared to him, I was fast enough to always keep up. That was joy.

Maybe that's all that sports and battles are about. There's a saying, someone had, that we all lose ourselves when we're violent. What was funny was that, from the context, they thought it was a terrible thing. Odd to know, from the writings of warriors, that they knew that and were trying for that. And even more interesting, now, to have the experience to see why.

I'm not sure if it is so much a good thing or a bad thing as it is a part of human existence, an ability or a skill that can be used however one wishes.

*grin* And another one of those wordless states of mind that's so hard to accurately describe.

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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