Archive for October, 2004

Fall picnic

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

At work we had a fall picnic yesterday. It was for the organization that my department works for so over 50 people showed up. The organization is the “e-Technology Center” or just the e-TC (where “e” typically stand for “electronic” as in e-business, but nobody says that word but just says “e”). The weather was warm and breezy. BBQ was served with beans and potato salad, and cookies for dessert. As part of the festivities was a mummy wrap where one person stands and another person wraps them in two rolls of toilet paper. The winner is the first person to use up all two rolls, and after that the audience voted, by clapping, for their favorite. Along with the food and games, they had put several pumpkins on the picnic tables along with carving tools and booklets of patterns. So I took it upon myself, with some help by members of my own department, to carve a pumpkin.


Note: I used one of the supplied patterns with a slight adjustment to it. Instead of having “PARTY” above the bat, I put “e-TC”.
My pumpkin didn’t win the applause vote, but it was near the top. In any case, I had fun, and it was a nice break to the day and at the end of the week.

Bored and misused – 4

Friday, October 29th, 2004

Well it’s now been two days since I’ve started on this awful job. I’m collecting the information, creating the materials, and writing what I have to. Right now I think I’m about 50% completed. All I just have to do is continue each day to focus on it and just get it done. At the end of the day I’m beat.

Not much happening

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

There isn’t much happening, mostly it’s work, run and sleep. But I’m very happy that all my children are posting again. I missed it when they weren’t.

Decompiling

Sunday, October 24th, 2004

I’ve been working with a programming system that was written by another group within my company. For the last two days I’ve tried to make the system do something for a demo. Late yesterday my partner and I realized that the system just wouldn’t do what we wanted it to do. We postulated how the system should be changed. But unfortunately I don’t have access to the source code. Yet all the code is written in Java and one of its strengths (or weaknesses) is that you can decompile it. This means that you can reconstruct pseudo source code from the compiled computer readable code (for Java this called a .class file). So I went to work today and I decompiled the appropriate code, made the necessary changes, tried them out, and it worked. So sometimes when you think you can’t do something, you really can. Now understand this is only a temporary fix, if I want it to be permanent I’ve got to convince the original owners to accept what I did.

Bored and misused – 3

Thursday, October 21st, 2004

Just an update. I’ve had other things to do at work, and I’ve not had the chance to get back to that awful job I talked about before. Awwww, too bad. However, those other jobs are almost done, so I’m preparing myself for the inevitable. In the next day or two I’ll have to start on it. Pray for me that I might find my way through the darkness of boredum and misuse.

I cook a mean hot dog

Sunday, October 17th, 2004

After I graduated from high school I went to the local state employment office to get a job. This was the pre-computer, pre-Internet days. They looked through their listings and pulled a slip from the files and handed it to me. The slip was for a job at Pat’s Hot Dog stand on Sheridan and Parker a few miles from my house. At Pat’s I did what they told me. This included just about anything dealing with the stand. I’d stock rolls. I’d mix condiments (have you ever seen a 50 gallon drum of mustard that was warm to the touch – an exothermic reaction). I’d clean the johns (after this filthy job I’d somehow feel cleaner, don’t ask me why). I’d take orders and run the cash register (note: I didn’t like the pressure of making change – this was in the day when the registers were mechanical and didn’t display the amount to give the customer in return). I’d put condiments on dogs and put them in serving boxes/trays. And most importantly I’d cook dogs.

Now you have to understand that this was a charcoal-fired grill and there’d be 20-40 dogs lined up on the thing. We’d use a pair of long-handled forks to manhandle the dogs on the grill. The tines of the forks were sharpened on the outside edges like a knife. To make the dogs cook faster especially the insides we’d hack at the dogs with our forks to break the casing, but not enough to cut them in half. During each evening that I worked I got dinner as part of the job. You’d think that I would never want to look at another hot dog after that job. But no, I truly came to love those hot dogs especially with mustard and a dill pickle (the only way to eat a hot dog in my humble opinion). I worked there through the summer. When I finally left to go to college, I never returned to that job, but I learned to cook a mean hot dog.

To this day I hand cut all my dog’s casing to speed cooking and to create a tasty crunchy outside. My family thinks I’m crazy to do this, but actually I’m a professional hot dog chef and I just want them to know how to do it right.

[Footnote: Pat’s is no longer in business. Recently when I was in Buffalo, we ate lunch at Ted’s, Pat’s rival, which had a stand across the street from the Pat’s where I had worked. Their Sahlens hot dogs are great too, and watching the whole operation brought back these memories.]

I’m a loner

Saturday, October 16th, 2004

I’ve always wondered why I didn’t have a large number of friends. I’ve always wanted them. As I was growing up I’d have one or two friends, but I wasn’t in the popular crowd. I’ve assumed that it was me, that something was wrong with me. Finally one day in college I came to the realization that I should just accept myself that I’m a loner. And from that day on I was OK with it and myself. I knew that I’d be by myself and if I had anything or anyone more than that then I’d be happier. Since then I’ve not been alone. I’ve been so fortunate to have a loving wife who is my best friend. Then I’ve also had three great children, which although they can’t be friends, they have filled my time with endless enjoyment. I had expected that as they grew up they would attract a gaggle of other kids, but that’s not what happened. Our home was generally quiet – genetically my children are like me and they had one or two friends. Now things are changing, things are getting even quieter. Again I’m lonely, and that’s my problem. Bottom line, I just have to accept that I entered the world by myself and I’ll be leaving it the same way. And with that I’ll be OK.

My father the artist – 2

Thursday, October 14th, 2004

While in Buffalo I took a picture of my father in his studio. He’s working on a watercolor of a building called “RiverWalk” from a trip he and Ruth took to Virginia to visit Laurie, Ruth’s daughter.

Eloquence in a difficult setting

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

For the last few day’s my wife, Kathy, and I have been in Buffalo, NY. We stayed at my Dad and Ruth’s home. On Sunday Dad, Kathy and I attended a memorial service for Kathy’s Uncle Rye who passed away about two months ago. Kathy’s mother, and sister drove up to attend the service. Kathy’s aunt and all of her cousins were also there. It was held at the Empire State College where he worked, and many co-workers attended. At the service, Kathy’s cousins spoke very eloquently about their father with both sadness and humor on his unique life and his effect on them. As I listened all I could think about was that when the time comes for me to do the same I don’t think I could do it with the style and grace that they exhibited. Although the occasion was a sad reminder of our family’s loss, it was also a time to reconnect. I enjoyed talking to everyone, but it was over all too soon.

Travelling

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004

We’ll be travelling to Buffalo, NY, so the blog will not be updated for a few days.