Sunday, March 30, 2008

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Well, it was an interesting work week last week. The original plan was to spend 3 days in Schenectady. On Wednesday, I was supposed to do a video conference with the CIO to discuss the open position. I say original plan, because it didn't turn out that way.

Tuesday went as scheduled. I rented a car and headed out to Schenectady. One of the things I went out to do is find out why we're having morale issues with one of our teams and see if I could make any recommendations to overcome them. I spent most of the day meeting with my staff. I was planning to meet with my counterpart over dinner to discuss the things we couldn't talk about at work. We went out to Applebee's and had a little small talk before I finally asked what was up with the latest person that was leaving the team. She asked if I really wanted to know to which I said "yes".

Oh, my God, I didn't really want to know but I needed to know. Unfortunately, I can't really say what's going on, it's that bad. However, I will say that I did suspect that something wasn't right a LONG time ago and am not surprised to find out what I did. Hopefully we can get this under control very soon, but there's some very political stuff that goes with it so we need to proceed very carefully.

Wednesday started out pretty good. However, we have a project going on in Rochester where we're migrating people's network accounts. We were supposed to migrate about 20 people but only half were. The reason only half were migrated is because my team gave the migration team bad information. The morning meeting we had went something like this:

Them: "What happened?"

Me: "I fucked up. My team wasn't clear on what I wanted them to do."

Them: "How do we keep this from happening again?"

Me: "I'll fix it."

A couple of hours later, I had a quick meeting with my boss to discuss what happened, where I pretty much said there wasn't much to say. My guys blew it and it was my responsibility. He asked me if there was anything pressing keeping me in Schenectady, to which I said no. So he asked me to head back to Rochester and manage the team directly. So by 10:15 am I'd checked out of my hotel and was on the road back home. So much for my trip.

On the plus side, since I left so early, I got a chance to talk to the CIO face to face instead of via video conference. The meeting went well, and we talked about a lot of stuff. I told him of my interest in the job and my philosophy should I run that team. He liked my attitude and views, however, he was waiting to interview for the position until we hire a new assistant director that the position reports to. He wanted that person to interview and select the candidate. However, he did agree that I could take on some additional project work to help out and is going to try and find some things for me to manage. I also got my annual review from my boss and got glowing marks. At a minimum, I'm making a name for myself as reliable, knowledgeable, a team player, and a go to guy. All the things I want to be. So I just need to be patient. All this hard work will pay off soon.

I'm going to refocus on the things I need to get done right now. My focus was a little divided while I was waiting to see where things lie with the open position. But since that's something that will be available in the short term, I've got to keep things going and get our existing projects completed. It's time to rock on and kick some ass.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Just don't get it

I could really rant about something that occurred where the Wife works, but she asked me not to. So instead, I have this:

Instead, I can rant about something I came across today. It started with an article in the local paper about Easter services in a non-denominational church just down the road from us. They've been building a new church for about a year now, and it was finally finished. Now, I'm not a big fan of this particular church because it's one of those "feel good" Christian parishes that's more about the pastor and how he electrifies everyone than the actual faith. The type of place where if the pastor left, the congregation would probably fold.

But that's not what I want to rant about. They had some pictures on the news of the service. Rock bands, lights, people doing paintings, pretty much everything but someone preaching. I got the impression of a rock concert more than an Easter service. But again, that's not what I want to rant about. The article in the online edition of our paper includes the ability to make comments. So of course, there were tons of anti-Christian comments. Cause these people have nothing better to do than mock other's beliefs. But AGAIN, this isn't what I want to rant about.

I was silly enough to click on a link someone left to a YouTube video. THIS is what I want to rant about. I won't bother linking it, since it doesn't deserve it. If you want to go and find it, it was something about the biggest optical illusion. The gyst of it was this:

Praying to God is as effective as praying to a gallon of milk. Since scientific studies prove prayer doesn't work, and since prayer is a central theme in Christianity, it's obvious to the logical person that God doesn't exist and only stupid people would continue to beleive in Him.

Where do I start to go off on these idiots? Let's begin with the first major idiotic assumption: since I can't prove God exists, then He must not. Oh, there's good science. Start your hypothesis with the conclusion and seek imperical evidence to support what you want the outcome to be. Let's look at that more closely. As a former scientist, I know that there are observable phenomenon that all the math and science at our disposal says cannot posibly exist. Yet it does. So how does the scientist react? By realizing that our scientific knowledge is imperfect and that further study/work/discovery should allow us to determine how it works. That, my friends is called faith.

Yet, if I have faith in God, and state that while I can't prove He exists and that my knowledge is imperfect to be able to even begin to describe He exists, then I'm an illogical fool. What observable phenomenon can we point to that God exists? Well, how about consciousness? What makes people different from the animals? What is it that causes essentiall 2 cells to multiply like crazy, combine into what eventually becomes a person, and causes that person to be self aware and be able to think deep thoughts like how did the universe evolve? How the hell does a mass of chemicals in a brain make you human?

What these idoits can't seem to get is the spirit. What makes us different from the animals is that spiritual dimension to us. Whether your spirit is nourished by the Holy Spirit, God with a "G" or god(ess) with a "g", or anything else in between, humans have a need to be sound not just in mind and body, but in the spirit. In a way, I feel sorry for these groups that feel they must attack and try to turn people away from their faith. What in their life are they missing that makes them so miserable they must try and make other like them? What in thier lives has gotten them to the point where cold logic is all that's left for them? Are they jealous of those with faith, regardless of what that faith is?

I can't imagine thinking that there is no God and that all of life is some coincidence, which is apparently what this group wants you to believe. If it's all just an accident, what's the point of life? If you just hang out on earth for about 100 years and that's it, how sad and lonely is that? I find great comfort in times of trail (and in times of plenty) in knowing God is looking out for me. That no matter what, someone's always there for me.

I was tempted to leave a comment after the YouTube video, but I knew that would be a waste of time. It's so obvious that these people just don't get it. But I bet one day, when it's far too late, they will.

Monday, March 17, 2008

If I were King

Today was definately one of those days at work. I came home in a really frustrated and burned out kind of mood. Luckily, I've mostly let it go now and am calm. Without getting too techie, we're in the process of combining two networks. We're migrating user's network logon's from one network to the other. Now, this is causing all kinds of confusion. To start with, we're not doing this the way I would have recommended. Not that I know everything (well.....) but we had several choices on how to go about this and I don't think we made the right call. But my opinion wasn't asked concerning that.

My other major problem is that we've hired consultants to run the project and do the work. And while these guys know a lot, they really don't know our networks. Already they've made some major blunders resulting in things not working. And today yet another issue came up, which resulted in my boss getting a call from one of the other top people in the department. A call about something that I'd told the project team would be an issue close to three weeks ago. But is anyone listening to me? Obviously not.

Here in lies my biggest bitch. We (that is our internal people) should be running this project. Sure, we should bring in technical experts to assist us in doing things we're not familiar with. But we're letting these guys make the decisions and do the work without any real thought as to what they're reall doing. Again, no one asked my opinion, so there's not much I can do.

Or is there?

In a semi-related note, our IT PMO (Project Management Officer) is leaving the company. We got a nice email from the CIO to that effect. So I replied to him that based on our previous discussions, that I might perhaps be interested in the job. I let the body cool down a few hours before jumping in with the offer, mind you. I'm not THAT blatantly ambitious. He replied that he'd been thinking about me and wanted to discuss it with me as well. We meet next Tuesday. So we shall see what we shall see.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


If any of you have been paying attention to the news, you probably heard the Elliot Spitzer, Governor of my illustrious state of New York, will very likely resign tomorrow. It appears he was caught in a federal investigation into a prostitution ring. Mr. Spitzer (not the most handsome man I've seen) determined that his smoking hot wife was not as desirable as a $5500/hour hooker. It now appears he's spent close to $80.000 over the last six to ten years to pay for sex.

My question is this: how big of a loser do you have to be such that you're a powerful politician and you have to PAY for your sex. And not only pay for it, but pay STUPID amounts of money?

The answer is: that big of a loser.

Mind you, the Wife and I are bleeding heart liberals and voted for this fool. When he was running, he looked good as a candidate, certainly better than the Republican running. However, after he was elected, we soon began to suspect that this guy was making a mess of things. Did you hear about his plan to give illegal aliens driver's licenses? Of all the possible good things you could try to do for illegals, driver's licenses? What the fuck was that all about? And how many illegal aliens would be dumb enough to get one? But I digress.

Assuming he resigns, then the Lieutenant Governer would take over the top job and the leader of the State Senate will become LT. Governor. What does this mean in practical terms? It means a legally blind black man (Democrat) will become Governor and a high ranking Republican will become Lt. Governor. As the Wife put it, the blind leading the "blind". Assuming this happens, it will be interesting times in good old NYS.

Stay tuned, little ones, we may be in for a bumpy ride.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

And Then.....It Hit!

What a weekend in the northeast. The snow started on Friday afternoon and stopped this morning. Our neighborhood had over 15 inches of snow. For the most part, we stayed inside. However, yesterday we had to go out a couple of times. Grasshopper's cub scout pack had their Pinewood Derby. He entered an Underdog car. We did our best to make it fast and we did pretty good. We won a couple of heats. And the car came as second fasted Webelos car and 7'th overall. Here's a shot of the car (lower right):

Grasshopper did the design and most of the work. The body is pre-cut but Grasshopper did the painting and put all the stickers on. All I did was the finishing coat of paint, glue the stuff on, and set up the wheels.

After the derby, we were off to Church. Grasshopper received his first Reconcillation. It was a nice service. We had planned to go out to dinner afterward, but with the weather, Grasshopper decided we'd order in pizza and watch a movie. We popped in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and just relaxed.

The only downer on the evening was that our furnace quit on us for a while. It was a pretty easy fix, though. The furnace intake had gotten buried in snow. I had to trudge out there and clean it out and then mess with the furnace a little until it would stay lit. Good thing we figured it out before the house got too cold.

This morning I got to get up early (even earlier if you consider I set the clocks ahead) and had to clean out a foot of snow in our driveway. Thank God for snowblowers. But it has been damn cold today and really windy. The boys were crazy enough to play outside but I only ventured out to go grocery shopping. The weather should pick up a little this week. Hopefully our schedule will get a little better too. Last week was insane (again). Hope everyone stayed warm this weekend and has a good week.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Tempted by the Dark Side

I'm typing this on my work provided MacBook Pro. I've been playing with it for about a week and trying to set it up as a machine a user at work could utilize. I must say, out of the box, OSX Leopard is pretty slick. It's connecting to the majority of my network resources. I've installed Office Mac, which is slick. I've also found some third party applications that I've been playing with to more fully connect. I've been pretty impressed in that about 90% of what I've been trying to do is quite easy. As for the rest, I've found VMWare Fusion for Mac. It allows me to run a Windows XP operating system in a virtual environment. In Unity mode, it puts the Windows taskbar behind the dock and you can then run windows applications as if you're running them right off the Mac. It opens windows just like it would on the Mac.

I'm starting to really like this machine. I've got a month or two of testing before I give my final verdict, but with VMWare, I could run this at home and do everything I would need to do. I hate to say it, but I might actually consider owning one myself. One of my pals at work broke down and got one, and he loves it. We recently purchased a digital movie camera and I'm thinking the Mac would be much better for editing.

The power of the dark side is great. And may prove too much to resist.