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Showing posts from June, 2005

Bad to bad to worse...

This is just getting nuts. We have development managers fighting project managers fighting product definition people. We have managers going behind other's backs...crazy.

Corporatespeak of the day

"Mindshare" (n) d. ???

I hate people sometimes.

Preface: I'm sore, I'm tired, and I'm fasting in preparation for my dr's appointment @ 12. Take that into consideration for what it's worth.

I hate the fact that an adult male cannot talk to a colleague who's an attractive female (even though she does nothing for me) without people gossiping about them.

May I just shout this: I LOVE MY FIANCEE! She is the only woman for me. I can't generally stand other women, and this woman, in particular, over long periods of time. I marvel each day that I've found a woman that I not only can stand, but actually ENJOY being around and sharing my life with.

But, of course, since no other man on this floor can look this woman in the eye and have a conversation with her, the fact that I can do so is cause for speculation.

"Can I talk to you as a Brother in Christ? I know my wife wouldn't want me hanging around with another woman like that." I realize the truth in what P's saying, and I'll have to …

The new house

I sit snug and thankful in my new home, with all my stuff safely moved from my apartment to...somewhere in the vicinty of my new house.

Yes, I'm living out of a box, and nothing is where it's going to eventually end-up, but I'm here.

Bad news: My GTO suffered not one, but TWO collisions today while I moved. Stu ran his trailer into my open door and dented it, and I back my mom's dually pickup into the grille, pushing the grille in and creating a dent in the left front side of the hood.

If this was on fark, it's be an *obvious* tag

Box office receipts climbing

Theatres nationwide are raking in less and less money, despite gaudy summer blockbusters. Hmmm....let's think about this.

1. This is the DVD era. Netflix and Blockbuster have mail-order subscription services for DVDs that come out 3-6 months following theatre release, allowing family viewing of films for essentially fixed cost. Contrast that with $10/ticket + popcorn. Oh yeah, about that

2. This is the HD TV era. For better or worse, even Joe Schmo out there has a 16:9 Plasma screen with Subwoofers the size of your Aunt Edna's purse.

3. Movies suck. Michael Bay ("Armageddon") and the MTV generation of directors who can work a gimick but can't tell a story have one-upped themselves out of existence. Go watch "The Godfather" and compare it to any of the current crop of blockbusters. Its painful to see how little $100 million buys you these days.

4. This is the big thing: Society has changed. Where once you *had* to go to t…

Pain, no sunburn, and other musings....

After rising with the sun both days this weekend and working outside both 95-degree days, Monday finds me exhausted. Case in point: I staggered into work, broke out our fresh-roasted coffee beans and made coffee. Only problem is, I put the RAW BEANS into the coffee filter. Thankfully, I realized this before turning the machine on.

This weekend's theme was exceeding expectations. I expected to have a light day of packing on Saturday. Instead, my whole apartment is packed and cleaned, and 75% of it is already moved to my new house.

Sunday, I started the day at 5am in Louisville where I'd gone to retrieve my MINI, drove to Georgetown to get my AutoX gear, then made it to the site by 7:30 to help Scott go get the sponsor cars from Paul Miller.

Quick aside: Ford and Mazda are completely brain dead. I drove a "Saleen" Focus over to the site, and I drove an 05 RX-8 back. Bother were completely gutless, hard to see out of, and had brittle suspensions. Quality starts …

I won

I won my SCCA class for the first time since Last May :-) And I beat my arch-rival.

Tidbit of wisdom from Joel Jirak

All organizations will eventually be run by those who stay awake in committee.


I'm in a rather dilbert-esque meeting right now and I told Joel (who's looking over my shoulder) that I'd blog his quote immediately.

so there.

Sickening realizations

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Miss Piggy is voiced by a MAN!

The "Come to Jesus" meeting.

I'm assuming the phrase "Come to Jesus" comes from that scene in Flight of the Intruder where Fred Thompson's character, acting as lead in the court martial of Jake Grafton and his bombardier says, "I hope you both realize that now is the time to come to Jesus."

Anyway, one of my guys screwed-up. Again. I yelled at him last time for his transgressions, and so I get to go to a meeting where a manager gets to "discuss" with me about his options.

So, for _____, now is the time to come to Jesus. Or find another job, likely.

Props to G'town

Check this out:


on June 15th I received a: "Congratulations you won a Mini
Cooper" flash on the website and an email stating the same.

The next step is they're going to be sending me an affidavit in the
mail within 3 weeks that has to be returned within 3 weeks (21
days).. then they have to verify my bottle cap and affidavit and
then it could be up to a year until it's delivered to the BMW shop
and then I have 5 days to pick it up... so if all of this happens
correctly ... I won!

here's the Mini info:
Grand Prize: (Quantity: 75; 1 per day from 5/18/05-7/31/05) 2005
MINI Cooper Convertible in chili red with black top, chili red
mirror caps, 1.6 liter Overhead Cam (OHC), Continuously Variable
Automatic transmission with lever-mounted 6-speed steptronic mode,
15" 5 star wheels, black leatherette seats, leather steering wheel
with 6 disc AM/FM CD changer, ARV $24,500 (US)


Someone from Georgetown won a Dr. Pepper MINI!

M-day: 28 Jun 2005

Okey, here's the scenario:

I'm moving to my new house 2 miles down the road on a Tuesday. No one's free on a tuesday, save my mom, my aunt, Whitney's dad, and me.

This is looking...umm...troubling.

More than likely, I'll ask the leasing office if I can stay until July 2nd, so that I can get a regular moving crew over here for the really heavy stuff.

Shout-out to shannon

quick plug for the new book from my old friend Shannon.

Poetry :D

Thor, I hardly knew ye...

>>sigh<<

My GTO is up on the block.

Guess I can only have one cool, impractical car at a time :D

* * *

In a related note, whitney and I were driving Toyotas this weekend. Hated the Matrix, really liked the Corolla. Really solid little car.

Musing: Programming problems?

There are some people doing really neat things with technology. But, on the whole, my company is not doing it. So, I ask myself, why is this so? Some thoughts:

* Lack of the "R" in "R&D". It's trite to say that 99% of computers is "programming" and 1% is "Computer Science," but it remains true that the challenge today is analyzing problems and finding appropriate solutions. The thing we're missing is knowledge transfer from the cutting edge to the troops in the trenches.

* Unambiguous requirements. I love requirements that read "I need a system that does X, Y, and Z." What I usually get are things like "Support the new Printer". Doesn't describe what the new printer does, or what's new about that printer. By the time I get my HANDS ON that printer, it's likely too late for me to do integration tests to determine if I can even talk to that printer adequately.

* No commitment to User Interface. Non…

The guy who invented 'C'

Here's a blast from the past I found on 'Wikipedia':

Dennis M. Ritchie's Homepage

And there, a barely tarnished gem, a PDF of the 1974 C Programmer's Manual. 25 or so pages that clearly delineate the language that would inspire hackers throughout the world.

>>sigh<<

Today sucked as a team lead; it's as if my post from yesterday came to fruition, as I had to dress-down a team member for not doing his job, only to be criticized by the offended party for being too heavy handed.

Look, if you don't want me to keep my people in line, then don't come to me with crap like, "_____ isn't doing his job. He's off in la-la land while we're way behind. Now, are you going to talk to him, or do you want me to do it."

First of all, he's my guy, so he's special. Forget you "talking to him," I'll do it myself. If you're prepared to have people on your team, you owe it to them to do a good job leading and tell them when they've screwed-up and how they can do it better. So, thanks big Kahuna, ye of the non-work, I'll do my own dirty work.

Then I really screwed-up. The guy who was leading the other group comes to me and said, "you know, I didn't really need you to take it to that level. …

How hard a life to my front tires have...

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Here's a pic to illustrate just how hard life is for the outside edge of the front tires of an AutoX MINI;



My Mini weighs ~2500lb in autocross trim. I'd say 2000 lbs of that is on that right front tire in this sweeper. I need some CAMBER dang it!

On the popularity of "Hell's Kitchen" and "Apprentice"

Had an epiphany about why I like Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" and NBC's "Apprentice": People get fired. In today's professional world, mediocre performers remain year after year, bringing down the average productivity of the group. Because there's no turn-over, there's no real incentive to replace those people who've lost their edge with fresh faces with new ideas.

There's a very real thrill associated with seeing white-collared folks dealing with the same crap (job insecurity, performance requirements) that blue-collar folks deal with every day.

Review: Mr + Mrs. Smith

Mr & Mrs Smith, starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt was one of the most entertaining and genuinely funny movies I've seen in a long time. A preposterous mismash of "Spy versus Spy" and The War of the Roses, the film hinges upon the genuine chemistry between Jolie's type-A techno spy against Pitt's type-B, shoot-from-the-hip spook.

Okay, these are two of the sexiest people on earth, and they're given this kind of premise. This movie's going to sell popcorn :-)

By not trying to be too much, Smith was an unexpected treat.

Another autocross...and a close 2nd

Mark Rivera designed a great, fast course at the LFUCG dump truck training pad, and this time I brought the MINI instead of the GTO.

video

Coursemap

I was #6 on PAX. Had a really good day, in a 3-way battle for the HS trophy. I kept getting better throughout the day, starting with a 41.2 and ending with a 39.8xx. Only .18 seconds separated first from 3rd :)

What a difference a day makes...

My MINI is fine.

I drove home tonight and did accel. runs in 3rd & 4th from 25mph or so, and could detect no slippage. I also did no-throttle starts just feathering the clutch, and found no chatter whatsoever.

So there's $1k I can put back in the bank. Whew!

Admittedly, the car does stumble when starting from a standstill with the A/C on, but it's a 2700lb car w/no power.

Hehe...autocross sunday...:D

On the '05 MINIs

As is my custom, I gave away the punchline before telling the story. Whitney and I had an '05 MINI Cooper (stock: 115hp), with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

CVT's fascinate me...imagine two pulleys connected by a belt. If the ratio of the pulleys remains the the same, you get a defined gear ratio. Thing is, in a CVT, the pulleys can vary their diameter, and hence the amount of mechanical advantage they provide. Great technology, but CVT's are a dead end: No design yet devised can reliably handle much more than 200 ft-lbs of torque, so they're only good for small cars.

Basically, the Chili Red w/white top Cooper was a dud, and I tie it directly to the tranny. Ponderously slow, the thing couldn't get out of its own way in traffic.

On the bright side, the steering was tight, and I really liked how they retuned the suspension.

Blogging from the Mini store

Niiiiice new 19" flatscreen here at The BMW Store in Cincy.

Well, turns out the fender-bender here is going to cost me a new wheel for the loaner and a new section on the bumper to install, so that'll probably be $95 in labor + $40 for the bumper section, plus Lord-only-knows for a new 16" allow wheel.

Fun times. Plus, I get to drive back to Lex, stay at work until my product is fixed (say, Saturday morning...).

The MINI's overhaul

Well, I ran into Mike while taking Patrick to the car dealership, and he said he'd price me the install of a new clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing, lightweight flywheel, AND 4 shocks to replace the worn-out units on my MINI, and only charge me 10 hrs of labor. Plus, he only charges $45/rate-hr for labor.

:-) Cars. They giveth, and yet, they taketh away.

Queering the deal...

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Perhaps I bragged on my dealership too much. Perhaps I smiled a bit too much at the autocross when I told them, "The dealer is going to replace my clutch for free!"

But, they're not.

Did some reasearch; apparently both clutches in the MC + MCS are total crap, and have been expiring at an alarming rate as the fleet of '02 and '03 coopers approaches 50k-75k miles.

Found a clutch, pressure plate, and throwout bearing that look nice and sturdy
at MiniMania.com



Only problem is, that's $450 BEFORE installation. On the bright side, the car should never need another clutch.

Thoughts on a long summer walk

Taking a walk along the sprawling, strangely busy throughway beside my apartment, I found myself eaten by bugs, and eaten with thoughts, as though my mind found peace enough to speak to me once again. It's been a long while, but my brain seems there for the first time in a long while.

I'm strangely proud of myself that I was able to convert 40 degrees Celsius to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, applying a touch of 5-th grade arithmetic. In other news, it's 104 DEGREES IN INDIA. Granted, the 91 here isn't so temperate.

* * *

My main thought on my walk tonight is how much I *don't* feel out of place in Georgetown. Or Louisville, for that matter. I grew up in a backwater, and for years, I carried the alternation of shame and pride, of awkwardness and defiance, like a mantle. Whitney's known both sides of that particular inferiority/superiority complex, and it's no doubt become tiresome.

As with most things, I saw this change in myself by viewing another soul awash in…

Signs of the apocalypse

1. Red Sox Win World Series
2. Woodward & Berstein give-up who Deep Throat is
3. Apple switches to an Intel chip

REPENT!!!

...and now, the video

Muhahahaha: link

(WARNING: 15 MB download)

First responses to the hair.

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Okay, taking my cue from Natalie Portman, I decided to buzz my head on Saturday:



Reaction so far:


India: "Perhaps, since it is 40 degrees Centigrade, we can all get haircuts similar to yours."
Padma: "Oh....haircut?"
Patrick: (upset) "so, is B.H. your hero or something.?.?!" (B. got his head shaved for the Star Wars premiere.)
Serge (Ukranian Accent): "Oh...cool! I like it. I get my head same way"
Carl: ..stunned silence..."That is NOT YOU!! I hate clowns, but this ranks right up there..it's freaking me out"
Jeff + David: "I thought that was Vin Diesel standing there. (Jeff:) Wow, you have one of those heads that can pull that look off.


I like it so far. I rolled out of bed and got to work by 6:45 today, thanks to my no-maintenance-req'd hairdo.

Nothing like a little winning...

Check out the F-Stock results here

Thor crushes the nearest competitor by 2+ seconds on ALL SEASON STREET TIRES :-)

Dang, it was fun.

the last...

I just paid my last rent check.

In 4 weeks, I'm in my house :-D

Dilbert

Technical people respond to questions in three ways: It is technically impossible (meaning: I don't feel like doing it); It depends (meaning: abandon all hope of a useful answer); The data bits are flexed through a collectimizer which strips the flow-gate arrays into virtual message elements (meaning: I don't know).

Rant: Reasons I hate being a team lead

No control, all the responsibility. Everyone complains to you, and you control absolutely nothing. You can't hire anybody to help out your situation, you can't fire poor performing team members, and you can't make a decision that your manager can't override. And yet, all the downside is yours, because managers make sure to CYA on everything.
All the responsibility, no extra pay. I get paid an obscene amount of money for my age, education level, and experience. But when I got this loser position of team lead, did I get any extra scratch for my trouble? Nope. However, unlike my days as a grunt, I can't take off random days to achieve personal sanity.
The aggrivation.
Crack the whip My product is always at the end of the development cycle for our other products, so minute changes in their development cause panic for us. I can't be in panic mode all the time.


There's a bazillion others, but I'm just crying in my beer here. I can't believe I took …