Showing posts from March, 2006

Map from LOST last night

Just in case you wanted another gander:

Here it is..

Such a blessed morning!

Typically, when you see a title like that, I'm being sarcastic. Not today...yesterday was tiring but awesome with me spending two hours splashing around in the pool w/Joey, then enjoying a great dinner casserole from Whitney, then getting TWO people very interested in buying the MINI!

Then this morning...crisp and beautiful, with the rising sun lighting the drowsy world, and AirOne on 95.3 blasting dcTalk's "Jesusfreak" on the radio. Ah, to feel alive again!

If you live in the Lexington area, tune over to 95.3 and enjoy!

more offers on the MINI

at least two more interested parties in the MINI.  :-) Should have it sold by the weekend, hopefully!  One guy's from Louisville, the other from Williamson, WV.

Work habits in Zurich

So, around 4:30 Friday, busily trying to make the UBS server work as advertised, I heard something go 'tink-tink'.

Now, UBS's tech building is a huge cube-farm, arrayed around a central stack of elevators.  "Conference rooms" in such an environment are just a big cube with a conference table.  So, I swivelled my head left and saw the WHOLE AREA around a table, two cubes over.

Okay, I figured...birthday party or something.


Looking again, I couldn't believe my eyes.  I looked over at Charlie and said, "Charlie, they're having a KEGGER in the next cube!"

So, I look over at Yvonne's desk, thinking it's something special.  "What's up, Yvonne?  Birthday?" 

She formed the english and then said, "Ja.  Das is just Friday.  This happens every week."

Sunday March 26th, 9:48 am EST

Were the last few days a dream? I collapsed last night at 9:45 and woke-up 12 hours later sore everywhere and feeling hung-over. Charlie and I calculated that we got 7 hours of sleep in 3 days, and I think it just caught up with me. Had some awful dreams, too: Something about Whitney & I owning one of those 100-year-old turret houses downtown G'town, and then 25 or so kids coming to stay with us from Hurricane Katrina, then her spending all our money while I was in Zurich on a new refridgerator.?.?

Plus other dreams I couldn't quite remember. . .

Apparently, we got our federal tax refund while I was away. (Yay!)

10:30 am, EST 34,000 feet above Newfoundland. Delta Flight 67, departed Zurich 10 am local time.

Mushing along at only 486 MPH, headwinds blocking us all the way. As restful and serene as our last trip was, this is a cattle-car. Seems like every coach seat is taken, and I'm seated in the middle of the 767 off the left Aisle. Turbulence has people getting airsick and the 'fasten seatbelts sign' constantly illuminated. Ugh.

At least we ARE going home today. For most of yesterday's marathon, 8am to 1:30am session, it looked like we hade no end of problems and that we'd have to stay through monday or deep into next week to solve their problems. However, we caught some breaks in the afternoon, and again in the evening, culminating in a successful test at 1:30. If we did the same procedures 10 times, probably 9 out of those 10 times, UBS would've demanded us to stay.

I prayed so hard to get to come home. . .just homesick and fed-up.

Didn't see much of the land of banks and Chocolates, but I did experience some fine chocolates, coffee, and (of course) th…

7:15 am, Friday March 24

Hungry and frustrated. The bed was comfortable (it was a BED, not an airplane seat...yay!), but Im still jet-lagged.

India didn't come through for me (at least, not yet). We're due @ UBS around 8am, and we haven't eaten yet.

Met some interesting people yesterday...Kurt, the guy w/cool blue eyes and a quick smile who seems to be under a great deal of pressure, Yvonne the 6-foot-tall middle aged gal who's our main contact. All were nice, and UBS seems much like any other large corporation, when you get down to it--cubes and politics and processes to follow for everything.

Saw nothing of Zurich except for my hotel & UBS, aside from our 1km walk back from UBS last night. Have seen more fine German automobiles than ever in my life...mmm....:)

* * *

All I'm left with today is hope--hope that we'll somehow figure out why the databases won't let us write as expected, hope that I don't have to spend the weekend in this foreign place away fro…

Travelogue: Switzerland-> UBS

Midnight Thursday, Zurich time, 30k feet above the earth, in a 767 going 500 mph

6400 miles...that's what it is roughly from Atlanta to Zurich, and this ultra-mobile cylinder is eating them up smothly so far. They've just done first food service, announcing we're to be in the air long enough (8+ hours) that we'll be having dinner AND breakfast on this flight. Yikes.

What has me here? Stupidity, mostly...the customer saved their mission-critical issues for last, and their rollout of Lexmark printers is due Friday, one way or another. So, $6k worth of last-minute tickets has C and I headed over to Switzerland.

C's a great guy, 40+ salt-and-pepper hair, sporty and affable, with 6 kids. He's manager of our Product Support team, and I like his focused take on life

I've been more melodramatic than usual on this trip, telling everyone I've met (especially Whitney) goodbye like it's the last time I'll ever see them alive. Maybe Bella's fear of f…

Quoted from The Car Lounge

Guy1: Hey, I'm buying an engagement ring!  I just paid cash for a Mazda Miata, and I won't be able to do all the car stuff I want to do in the coming year, but at least I will be getting laid more often, for a while anyway.

Guy2: Do you have that in writing?

* * *


Quick hits....


- Kentucky lost in a worthy effort. Joey woke-up from his nap in time to half-watch the game w/10 mins to go in the 2nd. Not a great game, but a great performance from a mediocre team. Once Morris fouled-out, I knew we were done, but Sparks almost pulled it out.

- Yesterday was yard-work day, as Joey and I went out and honey-did: Put down pre-emergent, fertilizer, covered Whitney's flowers against the frost, pruned the rat's-nest of our pear trees, and swept the front porch. Not warm enough to do much else, but Spring is a-coming.

- Got my lawnmower blades hollow-ground for $4 Saturday. FOUR DOLLARS! W00t...sadly the shop in G'town (Lindsey's Outdoor Equipment) is up for sale as the owner (the eponymous Lindsey) is wanting to retire. The place was a treasure-trove of nice out door equipment--Stihl chainsaws, trimmers, bait, tackle, hardware, knives, etc. Yeah, it's a Harold candy-store.

- Missed my first autocross yesterday. It was hard, but I'…

Why I hated shaking hands in church...

One of the hallmarks of my experience in Christianity is my response to the 'Peace be with you' 'How you doing' moment. In the Catholic mass, there's a portion where you turn to your neighbor(s) and say 'Peace be with you'. In many Protestant services (such as ours at Northside Christian), we have a 'Greet your neighbor' portion of the service.

Until very recently, these moments scared the hell out of me.

I'm a sinner, and I stem from the great "I'm not okay, you're okay" tradition. It's hard to look someone in the eye and shake their hand when you're thinking they have holy insight into the blackness of your soul.

Of course, that's all bunk. We're all sinners, and saying 'hi' or 'peace be with you' is just our way of reassuring our fellow man that he does indeed belong in the church, and we're happy he's here.

Various and sundry things

Read this thread and then tell me you want to finance a car ever again...

* * *

There are more things in MarkVision than are dreamed of in your philosophy

-- David Jarvis

Well, fewer things in 11.0 than in 10.2 ::grin::, but still a bazillion neat little features.

Death, dying, and interviews...

I feel like death today...exhausted, used-up, and I have meetings and interviews all day from 9-4 (minus lunch @ 12)

Somebody kill me.

You know it's bad when...

...when people pass you in the hallway and they don't ask you "how are you" because you look so frigging miserable that they're afraid of your anser.

...when you have the guy whose job's on the line look at you and say "has anything NOT gone wrong when you're a team lead?"

Yes, actually, one thing hasn't gone wrong: My project hasn't gotten cancelled.

Today, in true LXK fashion, it did.

* * *

Oh, we're just reallocating test resource away from project X so that we can focus on project 'Y', which is customer-critical. We're going to recapture these goals and requirements in phase 2 of the current product.

Okay, let me get real for you right here. The internal "Customer" that asked for my product asked for it TWO YEARS AGO. By the time I get them something that meeting expectations, it will be THREE YEARS since they asked for the product. I've lost friends, teammates, family relations, and sleep for shelfware. I&…

On automotive consolidation

It occurred to me yesterday that there are way too many automobile brands and companies, relative to other industries.  Cars are bucking the trend, and I predict the comind 5 years will see them fall back in line:

Cases in point:
There are only TWO major commerical airline manufacturers--Boeing and Airbus.The banking/financials industry is clumping together like bad gravyWe have only 3 telcos left in this country...
Honestly, there's not enough room in the market for all the sucky cars made on the periphery of the industry.  Ford, GM, Chrysler, I'm talking to you.

The weekend...

I think this pissed-off malaise I'm in boils down to being antsy. Whitney, Joey, and I weathered the non-winter, and now things are beginning that I can't do to my satisfaction--work outside on the house, go autocrossing, be home to play with Joey.

Doesn't help that our church didn't make its goal for paying off debt on the new property, despite all our efforts. Very frustrating, though Scott did a great job of playing-it-off last night at our "celebration" dessert social. Kinda thought it was a bad sign when only ~45 ppl showed at the 6pm service.

* * *

I miss autocross. I miss the dirty, smelly world of racing, the camaraderie of other car-nuts, the neat people I met on the periphery. I miss just being outside doing something, mostly. Again--I'm antsy.

Why my wife rocks

Still sitting here in the kitchen, committing most of the EB White decries in "Elements of Style" ("Omit needless words", "have something to say", "make definite assertions"), I thought about how much of a wonderful help-mate my wife has become for me.

I thought I functioned rather well as a bachelor. Minus cars, I was financially conservative, ate well, cleaned...umm...occasionally. However, with the new eyes of a husband and dad, I realize how much I was missing.

It begins, for me with the small things: I haven't been to the grocery store or walmart for any substantial purchase in months. Whitney's taken complete charge of the kitchen, minus some dabblings on my part every so often. My diet has improved from rice'n'beans and beans'n'rice to amazing dinners of fettucine, chicken marsala, spinach-stuffed steak, and all sorts of other dishes that she enjoys cooking. She believes in balancing meals with breads, meats, a…

Morning randomness

Stark awake at 5 this morning, as though it were a normal weekday, sitting here sipping coffee.

I love coffee. I grew up with two Folgers addicts and never could stomach the stuff, for a couple of reasons--Folgers is made from high caffeine, low-flavor Robusta beans and they make WEAK coffee. Not to rant or anything, but I can almost look at a cup and watch the darkness and opacity of the liquid and tell how the coffee will taste. Down at their house last weekend, I could SEE THROUGH THE WHOLE POT!

Measuring and grinding my own beans for my manual drip brewing system produces variable results: Too finely ground, the coffee is too strong and bitter. Too coarse, and the coffee is weak. However, I see this as a rewarding, involving challenge each day.

* * *

A warm day dawns, with cotton-ball clouds lit warm pink atop Georgetown today. Spring is nearly here, and my house needs tending.

* * *

Still feeling that awkward, listlessness. Selling the car (or, at least, coming to terms on it) …

We may have a deal...

Couple from Jackson, Tennessee (Irony...) have an offer in on the mini @ $15k. I've accepted, but they've yet to provide cash.

Kind of an interesting story. Gal named Tina calls-up around 4pm EST and says she wants to buy the MINI for her birthday on Monday, and asks if we'll take a personal check.

...umm, no.

So then her HUSBAND calls and says they have the loan and everything, they just can't get a certified check by close of business friday...

So, I have a verbal agreement on the car...

Self flaggelation

Why can't I be like the guy I interviewed today? He's a super-well-spoken tech head, 35, great personality and technical aptitudes, with a mind for design and a jones to learn new things. I felt smarter just being in the room with the guy. I wanted to hire him on the spot.

EDIT: The big thing is, here was a guy who was 35, been through the .com boom/bust worked crazy hours cranking out code, and he's NOT BURNED OUT.

Lots of exciting stuff today...

Interesting article on Scott Adams's rare condition that makes him unable to speak.

Pretty cool, affirming story, actually.

* * *

Kentucky is presently down 31-26 to Mississippi in the 2nd, and the office is a ghosttown.

Haven't been moved to blog much lately. MINI still sits unsold, after offers from Carmax ($13k) and Frank Shoop ($12.5k), Whitney and I are trying to be patient. Seen some E30's that've caught my eye, as well as some Chevy Prizms (don't laugh...)

Only thing on the E30's is their age. I've narrowed to either a 1987-1991 325is or 318is as my target vehicle, but neither will be as practical, reliable, or fuel efficient as a prizm. From what I hear, a prizm will get 38+ mpg on the highway w/a 5spd, and last forever. Not a rewarding drive, but that's okay.

Strong storms headed our way in KY tonight and through the weekend...hope all goes well.

Happiness is the sound of your CC's being shredded...

Whitney and I took a big step on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon last night: We cut up and then shredded our Credit Cards. We had everything from Shell, to discover, to MasterCard, to JC Penny's. All gone :-)

I've never been more proud of her.

We're looking for a new (used) couch, so we're heading up to a furniture store liquidation auction tomorrow morning in Cynthiana. The stars have perfectly aligned: We just got a windfall from my huge LXK bonus ( coupla hundred $$), and Jeff's graciously allowed us to drive his newly tuned-up truck up there (for the price of a tank of gas). Awesomeness.

Now, if I can just find a decent couch for not too much dough...:-)

* * *

But who says 'dough' these days?

New Schwag at office...

I'm typing this on my new, ultra-portable 3.8lb Dell D410. The company isn't shy about providing us with computers, particularly those from our closest parter.

I like it so far; it has no drive bays, but a full compliment of ports and the biggest battery I've ever seen...9-cell lithium-ION.

Basically, this is the machine that's to replace all my paper, etc. Probably the best thing is it has integrated 802.11g wireless, freeing me from popping a PCMCIA card in and out of the chassis to put it in the bag.

Also, they got me a snazzy backpack for the machine.