It seems so far that 2006 may end up needing to be the Year of Brokeness(tm). Or maybe it's just this week, or even the whole month.
Yesterday I managed to somehow break a query that was working Just Fine(tm) last week. This normally wouldn't be too much of a concern; given the quirks of our database, things break on ocassion, usually because you made a join where there shouldn't be one and sent the server off on a neat little cyclical query that it just keeps chugging away at until you realize that it shouldn't take 10 minutes to pull a list of courses for last term. The usual answer is to rebuild it and don't do the stupid thing you did last time.
But this time it's not something I did that broke it. Or at least, not something I know I did. Because I didn't change anything in the part of the query that broke. And the error it spit back at me was a server-side error that I really shouldn't be able to cause at all (or so said our database guru). So I can't fix it, but it's still broken.
Which sucks because it's a query I need to do to get out a series of standard reports to several departments. Granted, I only need to send the reports once a year, but that time is fast approaching.
People also seem to be breaking with unusual frequency lately. Some of this is more or less typical post-holiday, post-first-term, more or less temporary breakage. Some of it, more of it than is comfortable, is breakage that's been coming for a long, long time. Breakage of the all-the-King's-horses-and-all-the-King's-men-can't-put-you-back-together-again-
some-of-the-more-important-bits-back-sort-of-where-they-belong kind. And not your average run-of-the-mill depression, but things bordering on psychotic breaks. A word to the wise: psychotic breaks are neither as dramatic as they seem on television nor are they ever fixed in half an hour.
Psychosis is a generic psychiatric term for mental states in which the components of rational thought and perception are severely impaired. Persons experiencing a psychosis may experience hallucinations, hold delusional beliefs (e.g. paranoid delusions), demonstrate personality changes and exhibit disorganized thinking (see thought disorder). This is often accompanied by lack of insight into the unusual or bizarre nature of such behavior, difficulties with social interaction and impairments in carrying out the activities of daily living. A psychotic episode is often described as involving a "loss of contact with reality". (from Wikipedia)
Let me point out a few key phrases here that might help: "components of rational thought and perception are severely impaired"; "lack of insight into the unusual or bizarre nature of such behavior, difficulties with social interaction and impairments in carrying out the activities of daily living"; "loss of contact with reality". Know someone like this? I mean, really, not just the odd or eccentric neighbor with too many fiber hobbies? My suggestion is to *not* try to play their therapist on TV but instead to gentle suggest they seek professional mental health care. You can even give them contact info for the National Mental Health Association, where they can get referral information for a local therapist. Even if they're broke financially, they can still get help.
And as if that weren't all enough, one of my favorite little plates, one I made awhile back that was coffee saucer sized and had some fun slipwork overglazed blue, went smashyalltopieces on the kitchen floor. (And we're hoping that the chunk of butter-coated-pottery my lovely little black pig snatched up before we could stop her won't cause any further breakages.. like in her intestinal tract.) This has been a trend lately for my pottery. It seems that pieces I've tried to fire break more often than I'd like or that pieces I really like and have had for awhile chip or crack or just shatter. And me still without really viable pottery studio access.