Showing posts from July, 2007

...and now, I'm a real homeowner. (Part 687)

Returning from our jaunt around Georgetown last night around 8, Joey and I entered a house that couldn't be more tranquil: A load of laundry swished in the washer, the dishwasher was humming, and the pleasant smell of the new Airwick was in the air.

Joey went up to shower, and I sat down to veg-out.

A few minutes later, feeling peaked, I went to the fridge for a cheese stick. As I closed the door, processed cheese in hand I felt something hit my foot. Then I looked up to see A STREAM OF WATER GUSHING FROM THE LIGHT FIXTURE.

My mind raced. I (apparently) dropped my cheese stick in the floor, wondering if a pipe burst. I shut off the lights and yelled 'JOEY!'. Whitney thought I was yelling for no reason, then I told her, "THERE'S WATER COMING FROM THE CEILING". I ran upstairs as fast as I could to find water running in puddles all over the bathroom.

"Wha....You....Wha....?!" Yeah, that's me sputtering.

Joey (in towel): "The sink overflowed&…

Thoughts: C++ (is whacked!)

So, at my time on the beach, I inhaled Lippman's "C++ Primer (4th Edition)", attempting to get back up-to-speed on a language I left 6 years ago. At that time, I knew enough to be dangerous, but I didn't know enough programming theory to "get" half the stuff. My instruction on C++ had been "C using iostream", and some cursory stuff on classes and templates.

Anyway, I'm both impressed and horrified at C++. After coming through its ISO standardization, the language picked up some heavy-duty container and algorithm libraries, and they're well thought-out and consistent. However, C++ makes some design decisions that are almost contradictory, and the programmer pays the price for it. It's a compiled, strongly-typed language that allows multiple inheritance and operator overloading. Put a different way: It's a language that lets you prove how smart you think you are, while shooting yourself in the foot, ankle, get the idea…

Short update

First things first--thanks for the well-wishes! Mom's doing okay--she had gallbladder surgery July 20th, and sailed through with flying colors.

We embarked on our vacation, and I'll be writing several updates to go with that, but to summarize: Eight days with no computer, and barely any traveling in the car were awesome. The drive down there and back with two small kids was not so great. Didn't get too sunburned.

Yes, getting up again at my normal 5am was hard.

Prayer Requests...

My mom is in the hospital, awaiting surgery today at 11 am. It's just a gallbladder removal--simple, laproscopic, and routine. I'm still uneasy--the pain she's been having doesn't add-up to just gallbladder problems.

If all goes well with that, I'm headed out on vacation tomorrow, 654 miles to the Atlantic Seaboard, namely Holden Beach, North Carolina. I pray we all stay safe and that all goes well with Mom's surgery.

Quote of the day, yesterday


I have no idea how you can find computer programming so interesting, but it makes me happy that you like it.

Honestly, if you don't like it, it'd be hell--cooped-up in an office all day, solving (mostly) intractable problems, surrounded by chaos.

And that's just the fun part. :-)

Factoid milestone

At 11:42 pm this past Saturday, I had a moment: I had a useless piece of information to impart regarding the topic at hand, and I DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING.

I'm usually the guy who's throwing in random facts. This is because I have (or had) a burning desire to appear intelligent.

This marks the only time in recent memory where I had the opportunity and didn't say anything

The weekend that was...(funny story ahead)

Idyllic weekend...reading, exercise, and trying to buy a piano in Da Hood.

Friday night: walked around Scott Co Park for 1 1/2 hrs.

Saturday: The Piano Story.

Sunday: Church, hanging out at home.

* * *

The Piano Story:

Whitney wants a piano. She wants the kids to take piano lessons, and she'd like to start playing again herself. I dig pianos, too. Well, I like music in general.

Thing is, in order to afford one, we need to get one used. This isn't really a problem, because lots of people move cross-country and don't want to take their thousand pound piano with them.

Since Craigslist is your friend, Whitney found a Kawai piano for $200. This is rather like finding a BMW for $2000, from what I understand. Anyway, she tries for a week to get an appointment with this gal Robin to see the piano, but nothing. She finally calls her Friday to see if we can see it Saturday. Arrangements are made, but things seem a little sketchy. The piano's in a very bad part of Lousiville …

Loving a good rant

Project management in the software industry seems to suffer from a level of delusion that would get a person heavily medicated and assigned to a padded room for their own safety. One definition of insanity is expecting different results from the same input. And yet project after project gets planned with the same naive assumption that deliverable dates will be met, changes will not be added at the last minute and that senior VPs will not want to mark the project by making a pointless last minute addition just so they can say they had input into the project and justify their salaries.

Not saying I totally agree with this guy, but an overwrought 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore' rant is fun to watch.

* * *

I've not dealt with this lately because I quit my job. Or rather my many jobs: Team lead, offshore development coordinator, technical advisor, management flunky, and maintenance support programmer. Wasn't that I didn't like it; I'm enou…

Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

A couple of years after the last film came out we have the next installment of the Daniel Potter movies, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Let's get this out of the way--I LOVED THIS MOVIE! The trio can really act these days (particularly Emma Watson and Radcliffe), and the movie was a visual and comedic delight. From the first scene on, we're in the land of tasteful CGI--From the first scene's dementor attack throught he climactic battle between Voldemort and Dumbledoor, it's a wizard's world, and wonder abounds.

It's also a claustrophobic, small world--the visual language of this movie turns the expansive, bright world of the earlier movies inside out. Bravo! Here most scenes are at night, and daylight exteriors are shot tight against the actors. This is an intimate story about Harry as a young adult, filled with guilt about Cedric's death the previous term. He's increasingly isolated, and he feels the evil within hi…

Correlation: No pension == no loyalty?

Had a fascinating conversation with Chuck the other day, where he said:

The best thing that ever happened to me is when they cut out my pension

This got me thinking: Today, if you're lucky you have some employer-matching, tax-deferred retirement plan, like a 401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE, ABC-XYZ-Dooflatchie. These plans are all portable--quit or get laid-off, and you take the money with you.

From a corporate perspective, this moves legacy costs off the books. once you've contributed to the plan, your obligation ends, and the employee and the servicing company (say, Fidelity or Vanguard) handle the rest. This is A Good Thingtm.

But, is there an unintended side effect? Does this make employees more willing to move when tough times hit.

Janitorial Spin

Replying to your earlier email about the quality of my work.

I'd just like to reiterate that while your comments about the bathroom and vending areas are valid (and appreciated), I would remind you that this building has four floors. I agree that your floor is sub-optimal. I think our whole product support organization would join me in echoing your sentiments that toilets that flush are preferable to 'sewer gas spewing [expletive deleted] holes'.

Please allow me to recharacterize: The other three floors of this building have been in production for six years now, and have given very many good years of service. They've met (and, indeed, exceeded!) all customer and business requirements. I'd like to build consensus and shift the conversation to those positive aspects, and away from the bad report from the unfortunate incident.

After all, the other three floors are key business-drivers. We have four gold-class accounts served by those floors. I agree that, as y…

Quote of the day

Did you set the alarm just so you get up to watch Family Guy?

Shameless plug :-)

I've got like 30 books for sale at, ranging from Parenting manuals, roadtrip books, and technical tomes.

I've gone through my bookshelf here, and I've also gone through those at home. We managed to toast one bookshelf completely.

I should have the lowest price on each of these books, if anyone's interested.