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Thoughts and Notes on Tuesday Night

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/2/2 6:20:00 (2191 reads)

Well, the kids got the day off today, and they'll have Wednesday off too. I'm glad they cancelled classes, because the roads were just awful this morning. I had to drive about 15 miles per hour to get to work safely, and I still had a sliding stop at one intersection that scared me a bit.

New Bank
I've had it. I'm fed up with my bank. They used to be a credit union that treated people right. The fees have gotten outrageous, and they seem to find all sorts of ways to process transactions creatively so as to ensnare me into one or more $35 "convenience overdraft" fees. Screw 'em. I'm switching to a new online bank called Ally Bank, which has free checking and bill pay, and doesn't charge outrageous fees. The tough part is the logistical challenge of switching my direct deposit and getting my monthly bills switched to the new account. I don't know if it will be much better or not, but it's worth a try. At least their fees seem much more reasonable. I didn't even know about Ally until I saw their Google ad here on WhosPlayin.

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Thoughts and Links on Saturday Morning

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/1/29 18:20:00 (2129 reads)

It's Saturday morning, and I got to sleep in today. I'm sitting here enjoying my first cup of coffee for the day while I try once again to get the video from Thursday night's LHS zoning hearing to process right. I consider myself a pretty smart guy, but for some reason I have the hardest time getting video to export and upload correctly.

So, the task at work these days is to swap out the Openedge database in use by our product for Microsoft SQL Server 2008. It's not something you just decide to do one day; it's a huge undertaking to get code to work right with another database. I've spent the past couple of days just trying to get my work computer prepared to develop with Microsoft tools, and my frustration level is high. My first task was to uninstall my older versions of Visual Studio 2005, and 2008 and get VS 2010 installed. After that, I've got to install some SQL Server stuff. Since I'm not in any way Microsoft-savvy, I only barely know what I'm doing, and have my fingers crossed that I'll get what I need. Did I mention that my company has provided zero training? Yeah, that's frustrating too. I feel a bit like a cardiologist whose practice has decided to switch to proctology. What we're doing is useful and valid, but I only barely know what I'm doing, and something stinks.

Open in new windowStarting Yoga
I'm excited and a little nervous though because I'll be starting a beginners yoga class on Sunday at the Blue Anjou studio in Old-Town Lewisville. My wife has been after me for awhile to do something like that, and my doctor got after me on Thursday to get more exercise. I'm not entirely sure what to expect, but I got a chuckle out of Blue Anjou's class etiquette page. These seem like my kind of people.

I really hope that it will help me improve my strength, flexibility, and general fitness. This old Marine is way out of shape, and that was made perfectly clear last weekend when I was trying to clean up that cemetery. I was so out-of-breath then, and every muscle in my body was sore for days. I'll be writing about my experiences in the 6-week class. If anyone has any tips, lay them on me.

Open in new windowCemetery
Speaking of the Fox Hembry Cemetery, I did end up getting more historical information about it from the chair of the Denton County Historical Commission. I don't have permission to publish it at this point, but I do think it needs to be on the web, so it's one of my back-burner projects to get permission and get something out there. It's an important part of Lewisville history, and it provides some insight on the Foxes, one of the founding families of Lewisville, and their slaves.

If anyone is interested, email me and I'll send you what I have. I hope that we can find a way to help the remaining family of those buried there raise enough money to erect a historical marker. It would take about $1,600 to fully fund the process.

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Thoughts on Thursday Night

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/1/21 6:00:00 (1785 reads)

It was a very hectic day at work today. We had to get a hot fix release out and someone inadvertently blew away the data my program needed to work right. Oh, and I had checked in my fix to the wrong branch of the code. And it wasn't QA'd until the last minute, resulting in instant freakout for all. And I've been making fairly major changes to a piece of code I'm not too familiar with. So that's made me a bit nervous.

My oldest son's 12th birthday was today. It makes me feel kind of old, seeing my kids grow up so fast. I know it will only get worse as time goes on. So, the tough part about it being his birthday is that he got XBox games and new controllers - but I might have to ground him for unacceptable grades in school. The part that sucks for me is that I *know* he needs to study more. He plays the damned games so much, and his grades suffer, but it's not like I can take him off the game and say "here - do these math problems." He doesn't bring home a book, and I don't know what to really have him study. He gets some homework each day, but there's not much of it.

Yesterday, I posted this call to action about litter cleanup for a historic Lewisville cemetery. At this point, I've got 31 RSVPs, mostly from folks who have heard about this on Facebook, but a few regulars around here at WhosPlayin too. I'm just so touched to hear that people are coming from as far away as Denton and Plano to help restore some dignity to this place. By Friday afternoon, I need to have a count of people so that I'll know how much equipment to bring. If you're interested in helping, email me at and I'll send you the location.

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Thoughts and Links on Monday Night - MLK Day

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/1/18 7:10:00 (2283 reads)

I was off work today, but I still went into the office. I have an old client transitioning away from the system I used to help them with, and I'm doing what I can to help them extract their data. It pains me to see them move on, but that's how software is. Nothing is static. If you're not constantly improving and investing, your system is dying and on its way out to be replaced by something from someone who is improving. In my case, I built an e-commerce system from scratch to connect to an association management system and accounting system they already had. My system ran for a good 10 years after about 1.5 years of development, and survived multiple attempts by other vendors to replace it. Eventually though, without me working full time to keep it going, they did what they had to do and transitioned to something with a user base of more than one, with a vendor that had ongoing development. I can't blame them, because I would have done the same thing. Still, it's hard to see your baby go obsolete.

My one thing that I wanted the family to do today was to sit around and take turns reading a couple of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches. Tonight, we did that, much to the disapproval of my oldest son, who really wanted the family to play the new game he bought tonight with his Christmas gift card from my brother. My oldest is not much of a reader, and that truly bothers me. It's not just that he doesn't read books - it's that he doesn't read instructions or much of anything. To him, reading is a bother. I hate that, and I want to change that.

Anyhow, I digress. The point is that I bought A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for our Kindle, and we passed it around and read the first two speeches, one right after Rosa Parks had refused to give up her seat to a white man, and King was elected to represent the local activists fighting for justice in Montgomery. The second was a speech where King recounted how the African nation of Ghana had won its independence from the British through non-violent action. Even as King and the blacks in the United States were treated as less than full citizens, there was Ghana that they could look to proudly as an example. And before that, Gandhi in India.

Afterward, we had a thoughtful discussion where I asked the kids to give their opinion of what Rosa Parks did, and whether it was right for her to break the law. One kid said it was, and the other said it wasn't. So that led to a discussion of the levels of law - municipal, state, federal. I was glad to see the kids seem to light up and understand why sometimes non-violent resistance IS the right thing. The laws of the segregationists were contrary to God's laws, as are any laws that treat human beings differently based on race, or deprive people of their basic human rights. Where I think society still has it wrong is in the definition of rights.

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Thoughts and Links on Sunday Night

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/1/17 4:20:00 (2409 reads)

It's time to read up a little on Martin Luther King Jr. I'm downloading the MLK biography on my Kindle. By no means a perfect human being, but he faced injustice with courage and resolve to fight hate with love and darkness with light. The civil rights movement ultimately succeeded, but there is still work to do in bringing about social justice and a society at peace with itself.

There's always an alternative to the most violent option. In the case of Iran's nuclear enrichment program in Natanz, it seems that a little bit of creative computer coding was able to set Iran back as much as bombing would have.

Here's more detail and background on the shooter in Arizona. While it's clear that the kid was crazy, and ultimately he was responsible for his own actions, I think it's only natural that we all want to know what motivates people like this to do these evil things. We want to look around and figure out whether something else might have contributed. To me, that's a testament to our shared humanity that we care enough to want to analyze this and see if we can do something - anything to prevent this kind of senseless tragedy.

Lewisville has a Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery now. First, there was Hooters, then Twin Peaks, then my favorite family restaurant closed so that we could have a bigger Hooters. Then came Redneck Heaven. Just how many breastaurants does Lewisville really need?

What corruption looks like. Yes, Michael Burgess was involved. Our Congress is broken.

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