Thursday, March 29, 2007


I was really enjoying McCullough's 1776, and decided to share the joy with my Starbucks Barristas. Here are a few things I have noticed about the youth of America.

First, nobody gives a shit about history. Neither did I when I was a kid. But this is more than just dislike; this is bordering on phobia. There were three of them behind the counter, all looking to the floor, contemplating the mystery of their shoes. Fine, I'd keep it to myself.

But then one of them looked up and said, voice dripping with disdain, "Well I heard that the only reason we won that war is because we fought dirty."

Now mind you, this was after he confirmed we were talking about the revolutionary war.

So I have a few questions for my readers, some of which are from the UK and would probably have some more perspective on this. What the hell is he talking about? Is he making reference to the fact that General Howe, as was customary for the war savvy Brits, was taking the winter off when GW crossed the Delaware at Trenton?

And what the hell is being taught at our schools, anyway? How can a kid come out the other end needing to be reminded of the significance of the year of our declared independence? No wonder this state keeps reelecting Ted Kennedy. They probably think he's John F. Kennedy and scratch their heads any time someone says he got killed.

1776 is a very interesting read by the way. It's curious to find that George Washington was no military genius. He had a few brilliant victories for sure, and I'm not being facetious when I say, a few miraculous and well timed retreats. But the man made a few very large blunders that could have cost the war early on. Had the literal winds shifted in those initial battles, or had fog not covered our intentions at crucial moments, we would be answering directly to Tony Blair today.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Our Health Problems Are Over

Congrats. A national conspiracy has been uncovered. Drug companies have been hiding miracle cures in order to keep the impoverished drug companies the money. Got cancer? No problem. One pill and poof it will be gone. Cue the banjos, ala Hee Haw.

Be aware that you are special. This is not for public release, posted for your eyes only.

Monday, March 26, 2007

In Five Minutes or Less

I've been dreading today since Friday evening. I've even played out mock scenes in my head on how today would play out. It kept me up for a good part of last night. And now, it's only a half hour away.

I've been a programmer for fifteen or so years now. Working in the software industry has its rewards, especially when your coworkers consider you a hotshot. But that, as they say, is a double edged sword. It's the classic problem of the old gunslinger, that eventually, someone will be quicker to the draw. In the mean time, he is constantly challenged by every itchy finger looking for a reputation.

I'm not old, but I'm not young. I'm ambitious, but I'm not hungry. I come to work because that's how food makes its way to my table. I work my time, and then I go home. I'm immune to the lie and lure of the eventual buyout and the fairy tale value of stock. Cuba Gooding Jr. said it best: show me the money.

So today, I'm going into a design meeting with the people who would see their reputations grow at the expense of my own. By my accounting, that should be a good thing, a meeting of the minds, the product of which should be the best possible system that we can produce; not a referendum; not a series of personal attacks.

Of course I'm not sure if that's how it will go, but my churning stomach seems to think so.

Wish me luck.

Oh, I've got pictures of our Pinewood Derby car (I just need to upload them). Turns out that I should have sanded the axles. It was slow, but if I do say so myself, it was one of the coolest. With eerie cosmic symmetry, my son's car won the award for being the most awesome, just like mine did when I was a boy. Like my father before me, I paid more attention to how it looked, and not enough time on how it actually ran.


I survived. All that fuss for nothing. Everyone was respectful, no flaring of egos, just a bunch of guys discussing how it all should work, disagreeing without getting personal.

I'll pay you all a visit in the morning. Wahoo!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Open Source

I've manage to learn UNIX enough to completely install a new website, which I will make known to everyone here once it is available for usage. It is a photo sharing site, and I used what is called "open source" software as a base.

To those who don't know what open source is, allow me to explain. I'm relatively new to the game, though I've heard of it for a long time, and have even benefited from its use in the past. There is a community of software developers that enjoy the idea of pooling their collective efforts so that others can benefit without having to (pardon the cliché) reinvent the wheel. The wheel in my case is a web application much like Flickr, where users can download photos, organize them into albums, allow users to comment, search, email, etc. This has already been done for me. I just had to learn enough to install it and make it available on my own website.

Pretty cool, huh? There are thousands of such applications ready to roll -- yours for the price of your time to understand it.

So that, in part, is what has consumed me -- that and my continuing effort to write my novel. An online buddy of mine has offered to collaborate on a short story in the fantasy realm so that we can both expand our resumes. Sounds exciting. I'm not sure how these things work, but I know how valuable a second and third pair of ears is with what I'm trying to do now.

Oh, and my writing mentor would like for me to read his newest and pre-published novel, in exchange for a latte and an acknowledgement in the final print. How sweet is that?

Since there was so much snow over the weekend, the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby was delayed for a week, which is ever so lucky for us. We would have had something ready, but not nearly as cool as what is almost completed now. We decided to pillage Jackson's old Lego sets and found a spaceship cockpit, a steering wheel, stick-shift, and the makings of some radical looking laser cannons. I'll post a picture when we finish. What you see here is a slick looking derby car I found online, which I used as a base. Our final product won't have the industrial edges that bound this little piece of perfection, but I have to say, ours is pretty damn cool.

Peace friends. I hope to be back soon.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Don't Give Up

Hey all.

I. Am. So. Busy.

And that's a good thing.

I'm up until the wee hours writing and doing my little side business. Work is crazy but good. I'm in the zone.

So don't give up on me fellow bloggers. I will return with a vengeance.