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Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management. Photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and nature who is exploring the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found.
Author and Blogger. They are not the same thing. Sports occasionally spoken here, especially hockey. Veteran of Sun, Apple, Palm, HP and now Infoblox, plus some you've never heard of. They didn't kill me, they made me better.
Person with opinions, and not afraid to share them. Debate team in high school and college; bet that's a surprise.
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Monthly Archives: May 2003
Memorial Day morning, there was pretty literally nothing on TV and baseball hadn’t started. So I’m wandering around the channels on the dish (500 channels and there’s still nothing on!), and AMC is showing military films.
At that moment, the Bridges of Toko Ri. So I left it there and watched it for a while. I found out, much to my surprise, it held up pretty well for its age.
William Holden as Lt. harry brubaker, a denver lawyer now finding himself in a jet on a carrier off Korea. Frederic March as The Admiral, of course. A good supporting cast, and
Andy Mickey Rooney as, well, Andy Mickey Rooney, playing the cutup who happens to be one hell of a helicopter rescue pilot (in lime green top hat)
Bridges of Toko Ri was one of the movies early in the shift in attitude between the John Wayne School of “let’s go get ‘em, pilgrim, for mom and apple pie” WW II movies towards the more ambiguous “yeah, I know we gotta do it, but I don’t have to like it” films came later.
Personally, this movie was one of the ones that early on sparked my interest in military history, causing me to find the book, by some guy named Michener, and from there into realizing that history is really not icky, no matter how much the history teachers made you think it was…
So we’re sitting there watching it, and making snide remarks about how Korea looks an awful lot like the badlands of southern california, just like M*A*S*H did. And we were talking about how this was a movie that really set the kind of ambiguous military tone that M*A*S*H (the TV show; the movie was basically a black farce) later tuned into a find critical commentary on Vietnam, set in Korea.
And then late in the film, after Holden is shot down, Andy Rooney flies in in the eggbeater for the rescue, and I swear there’s a scene of the chopper coming in that’s a duplicate of the “wounded incoming” scene seen so often in the TV series, except Bridges predated it by many years.
Which makes me wonder whether that was a quiet way of Larry Gelbart honoring one of the movies that made doing M*A*S*H possible. One can only wonder… But it was fascinating to get that flash of recognition from two pieces that so clearly share a common attitude.
And, well, unlike the John Wayne movies, they don’t live happily ever after…. Or die heroically. But you could probably guess that (worse, by causing Holden to take flak over the seconary target, the director makes sure his death is meaningless, too — they got away from the key target scott free. I mean, you don’t need to be Fellini to figure out what he’s saying here….)
Just a little opportunity made out of a otherwise-wasted hour, snuggling up to an old friend and finding out the friendship still simmers…
this is a tough series to choose. I think the teams are very evenly matched. People who see Anaheim as a 7th seed and a cinderella haven’t noticed their first 40 games really reeked, and their last 40 games they played as well as Detroit did.
It’s going to come down to Brodeur and Giguiere, which goalie plays better and handle the pressure. Normally, I’d pick Brodeur for his experience in playoffs and stress situations, but I really like how the Ducks and Guigiere are playing. They’re still in “mission from god” mode, with “nothing to lose”, and seem to have sidestepped much of the stress that way.
going out on a bit of a limb, I’ll pick anaheim to win this cup. And I’ll pick them to win in 6 games. My gut tells me 5, but my head doesn’t believe it’ll be that easy.
Before we all run out to enjoy the day off, perhaps we should take a moment and reflect on why we have this day off.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Many people have died to give us the life we have; a life that allows us the freedom to take for granted just how wonderful life is in the United States. Some seem to spend all of their time complaining about it — and not that there’s nothing to complain about, it’s just that some complain without any perspective or sense of context.
I grew up post Vietnam. My youth was filled with Walter Cronkite and the nightly body counts, and later, demonstrations and the whole outgrowth of the 60′s, my sisters generation. I’ve watched many of that generation try to come to grips with a flawed war with flawed motives and flawed tactics, where politicians ran the military, not military men, and made political decisions, not tactical ones. Not to say the politicians have no place; they decide whether or not we go to war. After that, get out of the way and let the military win it, or not.
I have friends who were vets who were shunned by the VFW and American Legion, and in some cases their own community, when they returned back from doing their duty, and some still carry the bitterness and will to their grave. I have friends who already have, and friends who left friends behind.
I see many in my generation, and in my sisters, so affected by Vietnam that they are unable to see any conflict except through Vietnam-colored glasses. Was should never be the first option, but to exclude it completely is to ignore reality. Can’t we all just get along? — a quick perusal of any history book would quickly show that the answer is no, has always been no, and while I hope some day that will change, we’re nowhere close to that goal.
To those that are and have served our country, thanks. To those who’s friends and loved ones served and didn’t return, my sympathy and grief. This is a great country with much to be proud of, for all it’s lack of perfection, and that greatness was built on the foundation of those of us in uniform — for without the safety they give us to be free to be ourselves, there is no freedom.
So before we head off to the ballpark, or the beach, or wherever you’re heading on this bank holiday, stop and say a quiet thank you to those that protect us and our freedoms and our lifestyle, and a quiet prayer to those that came before, and didn’t come home to celebrate any holiday, ever again.
Upon the backs of many poppies was this country built; to those that see only the problems of the US, I suggest opening your eyes and learnign to see beyond your anger to better understand how life elsewhere on this globe struggles for things we take for granted.
Maybe we should all sit back and reflect on what this country is, could be, was, and might have been.
But we won’t, of course. After all, Memorial Day in the US is just another bank holiday now, and the United States always has been and always will be, so we can take it for granted and complain about what we perceive it’s not.
Happy Memorial Day.
Welcome to hell week. Or the end of hell week, or something. I’ve just sent off the e-mail declaring the upgrade successful. One of the systems I’m responsible for has been given a major facelift.
For me, it’s been a couple of weeks of testing scripts, rehearsing, doing dry-runs on pieces where we can, code reviews, check lists, backout plans, stress, adrenalin, and endless evenings of sitting and staring at walls going “what have we missed?”
End result: we missed very litte. The database conversion took 15 hours, and has (mostly) fixed one of the biggest issues with the system, a table so large that rebuilding it took 14 hours (official process: whatever you do, don’t crash the database!). Now, it’s better: only about 8 hours. Which at least means we can do things to it overnight. Still work to do there.
For me, this beast is a project well beyond anything I’ve done before in size and complexity. Mail lists servers are, well, Mail list servers. If they break, nobody jumps off a cliff. This beast is different. if it breaks, I’ll have a choice: jumping or being tossed. So as we move forward towards this upgrade, I’m slowly building the adrenalin, worrying about whatever it is we missed, worrying that, basically, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.
And then mid-week, as we finally got into the final prep, the theater training kicks in, and the stress leaves. You know you’re done rehearsing, and it’s either going to work, or it won’t.
Unfortunately, I was running on that adrenalin by then. fortunately, this wonderful thing called coffee exists. But we started the upgrade thursday, let the database conversion run all night, spent friday morning doing validity checks and tests on the database and starting the 2nd phase of conversion, and started rolling in the code base.
Overall, the upgrade was painless — I’ve fixed a few minor things, left two peripheral glitches for my programmer for monday, since he knows that part of the code better, but overall, it all seems to have worked “out of the box”. I’m thrilled.
We’ll be doing some more testing tomorrow, but I don’t expect to find anything significant. So it’s off to the next major code upgrade on one of the other beasts, due in about three weeks (but it’s in pretty good shape, not nearly this monstrous, and without the huge data set to worry about — yet). There are still details to sweat about the conversion, but I’m comfortable there, now that this beast is over.
It’s funny, but it was almost exactly two years ago that I went to my management and said I felt I was stagnating and had gone about as far as I could in doing e-mail stuff, and I basically gave myself and them a year to figure out what’s next. And then a project I’d been suggesting for a while was at the right place at the right time, and suddenly was funded, and we’re off to the races. I’m sure not stagnating any more, that’s for sure. I’ve been very lucky to have a strong, supportive, competent management (all the way up — I’m about four hops and a skip from Steve, and every one is a winner) and good, clueful and innovative people in the client groups. There’s been a fascinating synergy here, a strong cross-functional cooperation that makes stuff better than it could be individually. Thank god for good management, people who knew when to throw raw meat over the wall of the cube, when to be supportive and positive, and when to kick me in the face and tell me to get past it and get back to work. Sometimes I need to get talked off the roof, sometimes I need to get told to go ahead and jump. sometimes I need to get thrown off. And I’m lucky my management knows which one to do…
I’ve always programmed one-person projects, most of the time, things that were designed/built/run by one person (me). So to move to a group environment, with people reporting to and responsible by me, with client groups around the company dependent on me — it’s a big shift. it’s a shift I’ve sometimes struggled with, but it looks like everything came through and survived, including myself. I found it exceptionally difficult to step back from the code and trust others to do it right, and almost as hard to admit to myself there were more ways to “do it right’ than the way I’d choose to do it.
The first release was okay, but like most big projects, what we set out to build and what we finally built changed based on what we found out once we started using it, so now, I feel like we’ve finally got the base layers of the vision I had when I started proposing this. Better, since we cleaned up most of the first generation warts (14 hour rebuild times on tables, anyone? whatever you do, don’t crash the database!), we have a wonderful foundation to build other stuff on, and the list of stuff that needs to be built — I think the dance card is going to be full for another year or more adding features and functionality.
What a hack. And for those wondering why the updates to www.lists have been so slow in coming, well, this is why. I swear, though, that now that we’re past this deadline, I’ll find time to get that puppy updated. it’s driving me crazy, too.
Hey, I know! let’s do it again!
So Minnesota pulled it off. Amazing.
vancouver looked good early, built a 2 goal lead, and couldn’t hold it. They just looked tired. Once the first goal got scored, they got careful, once the second goal scored to tie it, the game was over.
Western Conference Finals: Anaheim/Minnesota: I’ll pick anaheim in 7.
Eastern Conference Finals: New Jersey/Ottawa: Ottawa in 5.
I was 4-4 in the first round.
I was 3-1 (missing Minnesota in the 2nd, so I’m 7-5 for the playoffs.
I’m going to have to really tank it to finish under .500 in my picks this year. but that’s not unprecedented.
Having watched Vancouver implode two games in a row, it really looks like a team that’s run out of gas getting this far. Willing, but banged up and tired. Minnesota, on the other hand, seems to be getting a second wind and looks stronger and is really starting to use its speed, especially Wes Walz.
so while my heart is iwth vancouver, I expect by the end of tonight it’ll be the Wild meeting Anaheim for the marbles here in the Western Conference. And the one thing those two teams have in common is they’re both teams that got little respect during the regular season, but are better than anyone wanted to believe. Neither team is a fluke, and both won by buying into the concept of team and winning as a team.
game starts in about half an hour. It might be a long, close (overtime?) game, or it might be a blowout early, depending on how tightly wound Vancouver is, and whether that team can find some energy to keep up with the Wild’s speed. In all honesty? I don’t think so — their game was game 5, and they didn’t get it done, and it’s been all Minnesota since.
Soon, there will be four…