Showing posts from February, 2005
I have the flu.

I awoke Sunday feeling achy all over, then woozy as I dressed for church. After a nap, I rose feverish. Bella nursed me throughout the night and I've recuperated at home today.

Still, my head is pounding, I have a low-grade fever and I'm sleepy all the time...definitely looking forward to getting a flu shot next year.
My taxes are filed. Yay :-)

Instead of software, I used TurboTax on the Web, and I was very pleased with the results.

I'm team lead this week. It's day two, and I'm already wanting to pull my hair out.

What I need is someone who's good on the server to whom I can delegate work. On the client side, I'm covered, but the server is a total disaster. I'm delegating like you wouldn't believe, and I'm still utterly buried.

Honestly, I can't wait for some of these marketing drones and grandstanding managers to GO THE FRICK HOME so I can do some of the work I should've had done last Friday.

What am I supposed to do? Yell at myself to work harder?
Mmmm....born in the Year of the Horse"

Bella was born in the Year of the Sheep
Just finished David Owen's dense-yet-inspiring biography of Xerography and its inventor, Chester Carlson, entitled Copies in Seconds

In his first few chapters, Owen tries to imbue his fascination for the ordinary (to those of Generation X and afterwards) office copier. Frankly, his treatment of the development of copying is boring. I don't care about scribes, Gutenburg, or Ditto machines. He spends inordinate prose on the distinction between "copying" and "duplication", and why the idea of 'copying' is so important.

The thing is, "copying" is dying. It became necessary because of the industrial world, but in the post-industrial world, everything is digital and the concept of "files" and "originals" holds less and less meaning. Still, Carlson's invention underlies every copier and laser printer. He invented toner, and it's LXK's sale of toner that pays my salary, so I, at least, am suitably in awe.

The boo…

NASCAR's brand of homogenized, low-tech racing is back for another season. Fields of 35-45 "athletes" will pilot tube-framed 'Murican V-8s in 40 races from today through late November. Aside from a handful of visits to road-courses, all these races will be on ovals, ranging from the bullring half-mile of Bristol to the world's fastest track, the 2.66 mile tri-oval at Talledega.

Nascar is at once Good-Ole-Boy, downhome charm and a corporate juggernaut that's the secondmost lucrative sport behind football. Once confined to circuits in the Southeast, the series ranges from coast to cost, north to south. Whereas the man on the street 30 years ago might equate "car racing" with "Indy 500", he now thinks "NASCAR".

The big question is WHY? Why is the sport so popular? And what do I think about it?

In a word, it's accessible: Much like baseball, NASCAR provides hooks for everyone from the casual fan (even the antagonist …
Went to the farm machinery show today with Dad and Ceeb.

I feel kinda crappy tonight. Headache and tingling on my face + sinuses.
Ugh...what a weird, up-and-down day. I'm currently on a very strong DOWN...

- Up at 7:00 when Dad calls. He re-confirms we're going to the Farm Machinery show in Louisville tomorrow. Up
- I have to go to work today Down
- I take a vacation day. It's nice outside, and I can go ring shopping and relax. Up
- I realize just how dirty my apartment is Down
- I clean it up and organize Up
- I head out to the ring shop that Scott suggested. Up
- While at the ring shop, Dave calls me and tells me they're sending him to Luxemburg tomorrow and that they need me. Down
- The ring shop only sells loose stones, and then gets them set. Up
- They're out of princess cut diamonds Down
- As I'm pulling into the parking lot, I get a call from my beloved, and she's very happy Up
- She thinks I bought her two dozen roses. I hadn't. Down
- I get the work done in about an hour, calling Whitney as I leave. Up
- She's mad and disappointed I didn't send her flowers. I'm disappoi…
Well, frick! I'm in entirely the wrong profession.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?
On order from Ken Towrey's in Louisville, 4 Kumho V710 racing slicks:

Ahh, the delicious irony: The guy who started the GTO thread on the Car Lounge is going to have to get rid of his GTO
Don't know whether to label this tragedy or the successful pursuit of a Darwin Award.
on the left is a TUNGSTEN CARBIDE wedding band. On the Right is a titanium band that weighs nothing. Seriously, thing feels like you're wearing a piece of plastic.

Check out the Valentine's cake that Whitney made for me:

Just finished Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night.

The 217 page novel is about the world of an autistic English teenager named Christopher adept at math and intensely logical but unable to express emotion or understand humor. I found the tale riveting, and the last half of the book from its climax through the falling action of his journey to London to find his mother reinforces how scary modern life is.

A quick read, with some cool math/logic puzzles inside to boot. :D The chapters are even numbered by prime #'s (2,3,5,7,11,13,17,19,23...)
Currently listening to a book on tape of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, encapsulator of Victorian England, its middle class, and the plight of young, bored women looking to get married.

Reading, or rather, listening to this book, I'm reminded why the Romantic Movement of Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, and Keats was so big: It was vital and alive. The rest of England is dead. These women--LITERALLY!--have nothing to do but sit and plot their marriages. Their families are rich enough to spare them hard labor, so there they are, twittering about to no good use.

The prose is treacly and verbose. Like Dickens's serial novels, Austen's plot is static, woven with words and dialogue but not real events. By Chapter 8, we've made it through one dancing party. It's said that Austen read aloud her manuscripts to ensure that the words flowed well, and even if that's apocryphal, I can believe it. Indeed, Austen shows us deft, econonomical passages every so often, s…
Just got through with Dashiell Hammett's famous The Maltese Falcon, the prototyical and oft-imitated detective novel.

It's a quick read, at only 217 pages, with good characters, some murders and a little mystery.

Overall, I didn't like it...long way to go for an elliptical story and characters I didn't care about.
Blog from within a useless Meeting:

We're finding that one of our divisions is sort of eating the other one, just based upon merit and the overwhelming personality of its President. :-) I still wonder if I shouldn't have taken a job over there, though I think they outsourced all their programmers years ago.
Couple of conclusions J. and I came to today after reading Joel Spolsky's "Guide to Guerilla Interviewing".

1. We've got way too many of the "Get things done"/"Not smart" people. These are folks who treat code like disposable parts, hacking around without thinking. "Anything to make it work" is the mantra for these people. Compentent programmers spend most of their time fixing the sublte (and not too sublte) errors that come from these people.

2. We have a few of the "Smart"/"Can't get things done" people, and they're magificent in their intellectual spendor, but infuriating to deal with on a project. I'm naturally this way, so I hold a soft spot for this type, but they *are* maddening to deal with on a constant basis.

3. We don't have any entry-level people coming up who can replace us, with one rather shining exception. The company isn't hiring the type of smart-yet-inexperienced folks y…
Giving you a snapshot of how overloaded a software engineer can become when he's working for a hardware company:

My current projects/tasks/research items:

On my current product:


Support for test tools for our next printer family that's currently in test
New server function responsibilities
Updatest to a spec that's 3 months out-of-date
Unit tests that I haven't written

bug Reports: 7 outstanding (probably will get more)
Field issues: none (for now)
General technical leadership responsibilities: 30mins-2hrs / day

My new project:

Work on a prototype (with 2 other guys)
Setting-up a new build system for the project
Represent my team with several committee's and working groups
Trying to teach myself 3 new technologies

I just took a second to write on my current responsibilities and it's amazing. I feel like I'm floundering in the storm here.
Preface: I'm not looking for baby names for any specific reason, but this is just COOL!
Ah, Google, king of this vast meritocracy called the Internet. Check out Google Maps everyone. I may never hit Mapquest again.
Alert Alert Alert!

If you're using FireFox to browse the web, please do the following to prevent a 'phishing' vulnerability that could cause identity theft:

1. type about:config into the navigation bar (the same place you'd type a URL)

2. scroll down and find the key network.enableIDN

3. If it says 'true', double click on that line and set it to 'false'.

This tweak will protect you from getting redirected from a legitimate site to ones where your Identity could be stolen.
Pic of Wes during the race...pretty Porsche :D

Hats off to Wes Allen, of our local chapter of SCCA, competing today (and tomorrow!) in the grueling Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Wes is running in the GT class in a Porsche GT3. Here's his team listing:

NumberClassTeam nameDriverscar typesponsors


Orison-Planet Earth MotorsportsWes Allen, Lexington, KY; Brad Blum, Winter Park, FL; Eric Lux, Buffalo, NY; Manuel Soltero, San Juan, PR; Ron Zitza, Maitland, FLPorsche GT3 CupLexair/ Rembrandt Charms/ Zotz Racing/ SGI

Amid getting my MINI its 45k mile service, I'm driving a BMW X3 as a loaner


The ride is brittle and uncertain. The thing is so stiff-legged that Ohio roads are a real pain. It's not roomy at all, and this base, base, base model lacks even cruise control.

I left my cell phone at home, so I was forced to drive all the way back to G'town so I can know when the Pup is done with its overhaul.
Sighted as my GTO goes by:

How to know you've been using Firefox for too long: You're in a regular windows application (say, Lotus Notes) and you hit Ctrl-T for a new tab.

* * *

Another momentous day ahead for me: This is my last day when I can fix the problems for our testing before I get hauled in front of the V.P. of our division for disciplinary action. I've rewritten the crappy code of TWO OTHER groups to try and avoid this situation, but I'm dealing with people who don't understand Java all that well. At least, I wouldn't hire them, based upon the crappy code I've seen.

Driving the GTO today...had a blast charging down the interstate, feeling that infectous exhaust burble, the stick trembling in my hand as I shifted between 5th and 6th.
Ah, the memories:

I thought this was highly appropriate, given that I watched TRON the other day.

Tron is kinda like the Matrix, and it has a sort of retro-chic to it, but there's very little story there to hang all the SFX on.
A pal of mine once remarked that I was addicted to spending money, that money burns a hole in my pocket. I denied this for years, but I am here today to tell you she was right: I've cut out credit cards from my spending cold turkey, and I now have the shakes. That's right, withdrawl.

The first month on this restricted living on a budget is now over, and I've just sent off my last big CC payment. (Netflix bills via CC, so I'll still be getting a Discover bill monthly, but that's no big deal). I don't even carry my CC's with me; they're at home in a drawer.

So, today, I'm crusing the internet during lunch and I think...hmm, almost time to buy some race tires for the upcoming autocross season. This launches me through a bonanza of sites designed for impulse purchases: First, my cellphone contract is up next month, so I visited Cingular, Nextel, and T-Mobile looking for other plans and phones. All the plans and phones are $45-$60/month (YIKE!),…
I've never thought of Stephen King as terse; anyone who's read "Needful Things" can tell you that. He recommends brevity and conciseness to all writers in this piece on how to be a writer.

I haven't written any fiction myself, aside from that one history term paper that was "historical fiction" written over 36 hours of Hell, in over 10 years. I wrote a 12 page short story called "Friends of the Air" that I thought was quite goood--good enough for me to get a Distinguished on my 8th grade portfolio. The story centered around two friends who were flying home for Christmas from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati in a Piper Cherokee when they encouter a winter Thunderstorm over Altoona, PA. The story culminates with them on short final to a country airstrip, ice covering their wings, the throttle firewalled just to keep their ice-cube Piper from falling out of the sky. I liked it--classic buddy story, gripping, and action-packed.

* * *

I wonder at Ficti…
Just for the record, I like it when her arse twitches

* * *

Today has been a rather good day at work: A very productive meeting that I lead this morning that's provoked discussion among my co-workers, and lots of talking.

Software Engineers' days fall into two categories: Days where you talk versus those that are silent. Lots of meetings and hallway talk means a verbal day and some slack. Crunch time and a dealine yield quiet, closed doors, and clanging keys. Oddly, I can take either one.

It seems the only way I can get any slack around here is to create my own. My nascent team that I'm bucking to lead are eager, but swamped with other work. Management hasn't been very decisive, and we're left in limbo, but I'm EXCITED about work again.

I know it's quite a switch from my apocalyptic blog of a few weeks back, but I'm happy. I work 12 hour days and I'm happy. I feel tired and I'm happy. It's weird.

God loves me, and I'm feeling l…