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Apr. 3rd, 2006 06:35 pm California's got it right!

Well, in spite of all of my criticisms of California, the California lifestyle, and Californians in general, I think that they have go it right.

California is one of the most beautiful states that I've seen.

Many years ago, about 20 or so, I visited Los Angeles and, quite frankly, I wasn't impressed. The traffic was awful and the air was unbreathable. Now, LA is still grossly overcrowed but the air quality, overall, has improved greatly. Futher, everywhere that we went along the coast (LA - Carmel) there were signs saying Friends of Seals, Friends of Ranches, Friends of this and that. Also, nearly every store, hotel, or restaurant was doing something to lessen their impact on the environment. A lesson that we could all learn.

Never before in my life have I seen so many inter-racial couples: black & white, white & brown, brown & black, black & yellow, yellow & brown. We even saw same-sex couples. In California, it's no big deal. I like that. They are very non-judgemental, which is a good thing. It makes me see how "wrong" some of my judgemental views are and I am changing them ...

On the other hand, California is still the king of house prices and political correctness. The best piece of PC that I saw was a sign that said: "California Men's Colony". Sounds like a club, no? Nope it was a penitentiary complete with razor wire, guard towers, double fences, etc.!!!

Current Location: Home
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
Current Music: Just Came here to Chill - Isley Brothers

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Apr. 2nd, 2006 07:14 pm Been a while

It's been a while since I've written anything, so I guess that I've not had anything to say. Now I have a lot to say, so I'll say it over several posts so that it looks like I've been writing. I guess that it is just a way of fooling myself. :-)

Things have been up and down during the past couple of months that I've not written. On the up side, I got an opportunity to see a good friend of mine a week or two ago. Jay Dub, as I call him, was visiting the beautiful state of North Carolina. He had some high level training to do, so I took a trip up to the Raleigh/Durham area to see him.

It was a great reunion. I didn't believe that 2 people could talk so much. We talked for about 8 hour straight! We covered a wide variety of topics, including family, work, blah, blah, blah. It was quite entertaining. I found myself wishing that I could have stayed another day to continue the conversation!

Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful

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Dec. 31st, 2005 03:17 pm It's the end of the year

Wow! 2005 is finished. My last thing to do for the year is to spend some money to help the economy, though not voluntarily! While I'm sitting here typing, the guy from Roto Rooter is here removing my toilet from the floor to try to get it unstopped. It's been plugged up for about a week. No manner of plungers or toiler augers can seem to get the damn thing unclogged. They have to pull the toilet and snake the line. Nice! A $305 job to end the year. Oh well, there is no sense in crying about it. It is what it is and crying ain't gonna change it.

Pedro has gone back to Columbus, to Ohio State, to try his hand at school again. Hopefully things will work out well for him.

Tony, meanwhile, continues to progress in basketball. I've started working with him on a daily basis. He has hit that plateau right now, but should start showing more progress soon.

Christmas was good. We had my wife's neice and her sister here, as a matter fact, both are still here. I'm no quite sure why I celebrate Christmas as I don't believe in any diety. Maybe its the gifts! I got quite a few movies, including some Family Guy episodes!!!

We are expecting some more visitors in a few weeks. More of our friends and family are considering the move to Charlotte ... without coaxing from us! We'll see.

Right now everyone in the house is a bit sick. I'm not sure where it came from, but it just showed up today.

Well, I guess that I'll surf a little bit, look at some photos, and just wait for the toilet to be fixed! Luckily there are 2 other toilets in the house, should I feel the urge! At least I'm getting some of my money's worth, it's taking this guy a long time to pull the toilet. The contractors cut the floor bolts with a bolt cutter and so it is very difficult to dismount the toilet from the floor!

Well, I'm off to do some BBQ. it's a nice day and a great way to end the year! Yummy!

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Dec. 1st, 2005 07:22 am Hard work pays off ... most times!

Some months ago, Tony, got cut from a basketball team. Most of it was his fault, but part of the blame belonged to the coach. His part was that he didn't practice. As for the coach, well he decided that he wanted taller guys.

For the past couple of months, Tony has been taking lessons with Dwayne Grace, a former college basketball and European professional player. The change is, in short, amazing. Dwayne has fixed Tony's shot, taught him some very difficult basketball drills, and in short caused a transformation.

Tony, for his part has been practicing very hard and frequently and elevated his game. The progress is quite impressive. Last year he tried out for the school basketball team, but got cut in the first round. This year, he made it through all three rounds and is on the team! They started with 70+ and cut to 15. From what I saw at the tryouts, Tony should get LOTS of playing time. He's probably one of the better guards on the team. He and 2 of his friends made the cut this year. It was a great day for him. He's a great kid!

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Nov. 30th, 2005 07:21 am 1 year anniversary

Well, it's been one year! Last year, on November 30th, we moved into our new house ... our first house in Charlotte. Time does fly!

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Nov. 21st, 2005 06:48 pm Let's review

OK, I'm back at Bank of America! The greener grass on the other side of the fence was merely a bit of spray paint! Well, it did look green from my vantage point! :-)

So, here's how it happened:

1. I spoke to the recruiter, giving EXPLICIT instructions about my lack of desire to do C++.
2. She said that she confered with the manager and that there was not going to be any C++. As a matter of fact, they have a few C++ programs in production, but those are going to be 'retired' very soon.
3. I took the interview and got hired over the phone ... a mistake. I should have asked to meet the manager first.
4. I show up for work on my first day, October 31st. The manager says: "Have a seat. I have no idea what I'm going to do with you, yet!"
5. The entire first week, I sit there surfing through JMS code. I learned a lot!
6. Monday, November 7th, 4:00, we have a team meeting.
7. Monday, November 7th, 5:00, I'm assigned some work! Yippee!
8. It's a C++ program and the manager says that that is my work for the next couple of months. Great! He finds out that I don't want to do C++ and says: "Suck it up!".
9. I call the in-house recruiter and asked to be moved as I've already gone through the "it will only be a short time and then you'll be back to Java".
10. Tuesday, November 8th. They've worked out a solution. I'm to move to another department, but not quite so fast, first I have to interview with them.
11. I'm told not to come into work on Wednesday and I'll get paid for the rest of the week, but no further. WTF?
12. I'm asked to 'work with them' on finding another position within Wachovia. They will be able to schedule me for some interviews.
13. Lucky number 13! I say, f-that and call my old manager back, start the ball rolling, and by Monday, November 14th, I'm back in my old seat, 2 weeks later!

That place sucked! It was like a factory. Hardly anyone talked, everyone ate lunch at their desk, and then left promptly at 5:00, without a word. This was not just in my group, but in other groups as well. The management encourages heads-down coding and seriousness! That ain't me!

So, looks like I won't be working for Wachovia anytime soon!

Current Mood: happyhappy

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Nov. 8th, 2005 08:38 pm WTF?

It's been a while since I last wrote something. I guess that is because things have been in a constant state of flux since I gave my notice at B of A.

Well, I went to Wachovia, got into a somewhat strange group, asked specifically, before I interviewed for the job if I'd have to do C++, was told NO, and lo and behold, my first assignment was to do some nasty looking C++. Well, I respectfully declined, called the internal recruiter, asked for her to move me to another project and so the game begins again tomorrow. That was short!

Oh well, you got to find your spot. Also, the BofA manager is on me to come back. He said that he can't match the money, but that I can come back any time that I want. I don't know if I'd do that, Wachovia made the pie too sweet: 25% increase in my rate from BofA, paid holidays, paid inclement weather days, $500/year to buy books, etc. Not a bad gig, if you can get it!

Current Mood: tiredtired

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Oct. 22nd, 2005 01:55 pm I'm a Wachovian

Well, it's official. I turned in my notice to B of A and will start to work at Wachovia on Monday, October 31st. Wachovia made the pot rather sweet and I couldn't resist. Although I'm kind of excited about the new job, it was a bittersweet victory. On one side, I'm glad to be getting out of 'The Bank' and, according to Wachovia, I won't be working more than 40 hours/week, so it's certainly good. On the other side, it is kind of sad as I had made a good friend and my coworkers were very fun to work with. We were close.

My family couldn't believe it when I said that money isn't everything, but it isn't. I did get a 25% increase, but had the conditions been better, I wouldn't have even looked. I wasn't disappointed with what I was being paid, just disappointed with the conditions, I guess. So, it's back to the cubible, which I've not been in for about 4 years!

I spent 2.5 years at PDX in an office and nearly 1 1/2 years at BofA in row of developers with no walls. Absolutely no privacy whatsoever, but a great way to communicate. We got to know each other well.

Right now, I'm scrambling to try to finish a project for them before I leave on Thursday. I ought to be able to get them along pretty far ...

More stories to tell later.

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Oct. 16th, 2005 11:32 am Wearing a brotha down - The final chapter ... continued

Well, I started my quest! Friday morning I had a phone interview with another company and, Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma'am! I have an offer. We are still trying to come to terms on the money ... so, if everything works out well, I'll be giving my notice tomorrow! But, alas, I shall not worry about it today and simply enjoy this nice, beautiful, quiet day.

Current Mood: contentcontent

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Oct. 11th, 2005 09:00 pm Fly Fishing

I used to go fishing all of the time, but the last few years have been sporadic, at best. One thing that has always, for some reason, fascinated me, is fly fishing. To watch these guys cast is pretty interesting.

So... for a while I've been reading the Usenet alt.flyfishing group and trying to get a flavor for what is involved. They talk of strange things like nail knots, blood knots, leaders, poppers, tap end, fly presentation, strike indicators, etc. Most of it, to the uninitiated, is nearly incomprehensible.

So, I figure, the only way to learn it is to try it. I go to Wal-Mart, purchase a fly fishing outfit for about $20.00. It contains an 8 foot rod, fly fishing line, leader, and a few generic flys. Well, I get home and eagerly start to assemble the beast. Placing the line onto the creel is pretty easy and only requires that one know how to tie an Arbor knot, which is just 2 overhand knots. Piece of cake!

Next, I have to figure out how to attach the leader to the fly line. This requires tying a complicated knot called a nail knot. This knot is a pain in the butt to tie and I tried many, many, many times, but to no avail! So, I punted! I learned that an
Albright knot
can be used, as well. This knot I was able to tie in about 2 minutes and it works wonderfully!

After this, I took a few practice casts in the back yard. Fly casting is quite a bit different than regular casting, in that you are casting the line because there is no weight on the end of the line, will maybe a few grams, but that is it. The line is the 'heavy' part. After about 15 or 20 minutes of practice, I was able to cast about 30 or 40 feet.

Today I decided to try out my new-found interest. I went to a pond in the local park and tried to catch a few bluegill. Well, after getting hung on a bush here and there, I was able to get it out into the water. I was only rewarded with a couple of really small guys attacking my fly!

Better luck next time!

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