Friday, December 28, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Favorite Band

The Black Keys. Great blues band. Kind of freakish blues, a phrase coined by Jimi Hendrix, but they sound a little like Cream and a tiny bit Allmanny too. Of course, the comparison to the White Stripes is there, but they aren't that freakish.

I forgot how I found them. Luck I guess. I asked for and got their album Rubber Factory for Christmas. I'm hooked. Now I won't stop until I have all their albums and then I will complain for 6 months that I don't have any new music to listen to.

Yes, in case you are wondering, I still buy CDs. I like having something I can hold in my hand. And lose. Or scratch.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Home Improvement

Don't mind me just jotting down some of the home improvements I would like to do.

  1. Ceiling fans in upstairs bedrooms. Currently, no ceiling lights at all

  2. Exhaust fan in upstairs bathroom

  3. A back door. Preferably french doors

  4. Small deck and patio

  5. Heat pump/AC

  6. Chair rail in daughters room

  7. Paint youngest boys room

  8. Build a shed

  9. Paint kitchen ceiling

  10. Tiled backsplash in kitchen

  11. Paint living room. Add crown molding. Rope light behind crown molding

  12. Add overhead light to living room

  13. Wire living room for speakers

  14. Plant row of fast growing hedges on edge of property abutting the junk collector

  15. Landscape the front of the house

  16. Sandbox

  17. Insulate crawl space and replace crawl space door

  18. New storm doors on front and side doors

  19. Weatherstrip front and side doors

  20. Replace outlets and switches in living room, kitchen and family room

  21. Exhaust microwave to the outside

  22. Replace all interior doors (and doorknobs)

  23. Install rail fence along property line abutting the junk collector

  24. Plant more bushes along fence

Tired of Snow? Need a Job?

My company is looking for a DBA and a .NET Developer. People less smart than me only need apply (kidding). But, seriously, if you are smarter than me, than you have to at least like me, so I don't have to watch my back.

Richmond Restaurants

Just trying to keep track of the restaurants I have been to.

Europa Mediterranean Cafe - Good panini and soup.

Southern Railway Deli - Great sammiches. Make sure they leave you some room to add milk to your coffee.

Jo Jo's Pizza - Really, really, really good pizza.

Friday, December 21, 2007

End of First Week

Phew. One week down. The "stupid new guy" feeling is going away. It's weird not being completely flat out busy all day. Weird but good.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meet the New Boss

I've been trying to figure out who my new boss reminds me of, it suddenly just came to me.

Todd Packer.

It's gonna be an interesting ride. Hang on.

Monday, December 17, 2007

First Day

So, what's the worst way to start your new job? If you answered waking up nauseous and then upchucking last night's cheetos and this morning's coffee into the bathroom sink whilst brushing your teeth, then you are correct.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Last Day

To me, last days kind of suck. You expend so much energy looking for a job, interviewing for a job, preparing for leaving, and being ecstatic about moving on that you forget until the very end around 4:30 pm when people start wishing you good luck and saying good bye that you are essentially leaving a bunch of semi-good to very good friends behind. Some you might talk to occasionally in the future, most you'll probably never see or hear from again. It seems to be a little worse this time around because I don't know anybody in this area besides the people I've worked with. Now, I have to essentially start over.

It usually takes me at least 6 months to feel comfortable with a bunch of people, and that is the part that I am not looking forward to in my new job. Am I nervous, scared, anxious? No. Well, not about the job, only about making a jackass of myself. That's why, unlike some people, I tend be really reserved for a long time.

Part of my Autumn Resolution this year, and I've stuck to it pretty well, was to get better at maintaining contact with past friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. So I made sure to give at least a half a dozen people my personal email address and resolved to email each of them at least every month. Even if they don't reply. Like one of my old bosses that I contacted a month ago. If you are reading know who you are.

I worked hard for these people and surprisingly I think they appreciated it. I got five cards, one tin of the most amazing cookies that you have ever eaten in your life, craisin white chocolate oatmeal cookies, a 12 pack of Pilsner Urquell, a cake, a $50 gift certificate to Walmart, a coffee mug, 2 free personal days that I will get paid for, and last but not least a big hug from my boss who used to scare the daylights out of me, all 99 lbs 60 inches of her, not but 2 months ago, until I realized she was getting screwed by the merger just as bad as everyone else and cared about her employees more than any boss I have ever had before.

One thing I will miss: Being important. Being The Guy for about a hundred people does kind of feed the ego. But I won't miss being The Guy because I could never ever concentrate on one task and complete it to the level that I desired because somebody was always pulling me in another direction.

A short list of things I won't miss: Visual Basic 6, Belligerent A-hole, screen scraping terminal screens, getting abused by IT.

Anyway, I am really glad to be moving on, I just hope a couple of the friends I made "stick".

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Andy Art

Its about that time of year when I start getting geared up for the annual trip to the mountains of West Virginia. Last year around this time I started making a picture of our group from the 2006 trip. I was going to have a t-shirt made, but I decided against that. I might have it printed and framed though.

This is that picture:

I'm gonna start working on something using our group shot from last years trip:

Missin' You

I miss being able to take pictures. Stupid camera. I don't think I'll buy any more Sony stuff. Everything of theirs that I buy breaks. And those stupid memory cards they use. Ugh.

Jump to Conclusions

There's a new contractor at work that they hired to replace me. Yesterday, he spent the day with the other contractor. Unfortunately, the other contractor was out sick today (not really a good day to take off, what, with me leaving tomorrow), so the new contractor had to spend the day with me.

I got nothing done.

He looks and sounds like the guy in Office Space who invented the Jump to Conclusions mat. Hence, the picture.

His breath smells bad and his BO got progressively worse during the course of the day, but thats not the worst of it. It was his aggressive invasion of my personal space and the way he "suggested" a better way to do just about everything that I was doing.

He sat right behind me with his elbows on my desk, bumping into me, sweating, and breathing hot air on my ear.

I gave up programming after about a half hour. I couldn't think with him jabbering in my ear. Use DateDiff...That won't work there...I built a control that does this...blah blah blah. I decided to fill out forms to get him his access, and fill out a 10 page questionnaire for IT about our ancillary apps.

Things got so bad at one point I actually went over to my old department for a couple hours on two separate occasions and helped them with some stuff that I have been putting off for months. They were happy. I was just happy to get away.

The first time I left I didn't tell him because he was on the phone, and when I came back he was all indignant and said that he "shoulda just gone home because they aren't paying him to surf the net all day." My response was simply, take advantage of it while you can.

The second time I left he was in my office so I said that I had to head over to Corporate Actions. He volunteered to come, but I stopped him by saying that its probably better if they don't know who he is. "Maintain your anonymity."

He finally left at 5:10. I got more done in the next 20 minutes than I had all day. Well, I got stuff done that I wanted to get done.

Get this, he actually interviewed at the company where my new job is. He probably annoyed the crap out of the hiring manager. One of the things they told me when they interviewed me was that they wanted to hire someone who would fit in with the group.


Friends are friends and pals are pals

So Clemens and Pettitte stuck it in each others bums. Steroid needles that is.

Can we let it go now? Moving forward, test and punish the guilty, but going back in time seems like, well, a waste of time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Turn on the AC

Its amazing how hot 78 degrees feels when it was just 38 degrees a few days ago. I mean, in August when its 98 for 12 days straight, and then it drops to 78 you're digging out the fleece. But today, shorts and a t-shirt are de rigueur. For me anyway.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pretty Lame. Prreeettyy Laaaame.

Pretty lame error page, Google. I'm digging the late 90s logo. Retro is king.

Honda in the Living Room

I've been dreaming about getting a new stereo receiver and surround speakers. My old receiver died a while back and would only produce sound out of one channel. It lived a good life, but I am dying to get a new one. Unfortunately, certain economic realities prevent me from getting a new receiver right now, but it doesn't hurt to browse. Something just dawned on me while perusing the Best Buy website, how come Honda doesn't make receivers and speakers like Yamaha does? That would be sweet if they did.

HTA Application

Ever heard of it? Me neither until I started my current job.

The "application" part is redundant actually as the "A" in "HTA" stands for "application".

Anyway, I have one I need to fix at work preferably before my last day this Friday.

It's an unholy mix of VBScript and JavaScript in a gelatinous* mass of client and server side code with a healthy dash of classic ASP and PHP (and now I am adding some ASP.NET into the mix). Throw in a lot of XML and you have a recipe for disaster. I guess this type of application predates ASP or AJAX.

It could be kind of cool, but whoever wrote it was lacking in several key areas. Namely a basic grasp of logic. And skill.

I would never have touched it but I kind of have to and I thought it would be fun.

It, along with all of this departments web apps, were moved to a production IT environment and the old web server (a 5 year old Dell sitting in an empty cube) is supposed to be removed from the network. I haven't taken the old one offline yet, for no particular reason other than I like to annoy the IT guys.

Now, for the past month I've been going through all of the department apps and updating them to all use a global config wherein the connection string to the database is stored because IT is kicking us off our current SQL Server and moving us to a production IT environment.

This story is taking way too long.

In the course of updating the programs I discovered that this HTA application has tons of hard coded references to the old web server. Include files, regular links, style sheets, ASP pages that receive database queries and spit back out recordsets in XML. Good stuff. This app is used by everyone. Their bread and butter.

I can only imagine the hell that would have broken loose if the old web server was remediated before this was discovered.

I fixed the hard coded links by using variables to which I assigned certain property values retrieved from JavaScript objects.

The ASP pages that returned XML were funny. They literally built the XML by doing a whole lotta this response.write <record>.

This post is boring. I quit. I had a conclusion but I lost it.

*I edited this post to change the word I used from glutinous to gelatinous because glutinous actually means glue-like or sticky and this thing is anything but.

Fabulous Grilled Cheese Sandwiches®

Edam. As in, "I like to eat'em."

Mmm. It's good cheese. A little bit sharp like cheddar, but it's a bit like Swiss too in texture and aftertaste. Meltability is not as high as Jarlsberg, but still high at 8 on the meltability scale. Flavor is a 7.

I was a little disappointed because I had to buy pre-sliced bread, but it turned out okay, and I got more slices from it than when I slice up a loaf into inch thick slabs. And as an added bonus, each slice has a consistent thickness throughout, instead of being an inch at the top and transparent at the bottom.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

This Just In...

I got the job! Yesterday at 4 and it truly was one of the happiest days of my life. Unfortunately, I couldn't give my notice because all of my managers had the day off.

Anyway, here's where I'll be starting December 17. Stop by and visit if you are in the area.

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