Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
User Journal

Journal: Another Winter Closes In ...

Journal by AlabamaMike
Tomorrow we're forecasted to have snow showers with periods of heavy and constant snowfall. Some accumulation is expected. Needless to say, I'm psyched. I got my instructor package from Killington about 10 days ago, and sent that bad boy in the very next day. I go to pickup my season's pass on Nov. 9th. Once again, PSYCHED. I'd like it even more if K'ton would be ready to open in three days. 10/25/02 was the first day last season, and K'ton opened top-to-bottom with no ski truck required. Ahh, what a day that was. Hopefully this upcoming warming trend will be short lived and we'll fall into winter as soon as possible (no pun intended.)
-A.M. (Who's ready to strap the board back on!)
User Journal

Journal: Happy Birthday America

Journal by AlabamaMike
Just got back from the Boston 4th of July celebration. Got to the Esplanade around 8:30 this morning, and got a really got spot in front of the hatch shell. Spent the entire day baking in the sun, and then enjoyed a fine concert by the Boston Pops and Mormon Tabernacle Choir. To top it all off, came home and discovered my first moderator points on /. Interesting day 4 July turned out to be. On a serious note, I celebrated the 4th for my sister Jeanna who is currently serving in Iraq for our freedoms. She's helping to provide this, and I thought I should take advantage. If you're in the US military, and you're reading this, please know that I really appreciate the sacrifices you give. Keep checking this spot ... soon there will be an interesting announcement regarding the start-up I work for.
-A.M.
User Journal

Journal: Scooper Bowl (aka I need to take my ass to the gym)

Journal by AlabamaMike
It's been a while since I had anything to write about, and I've been spending copius amounts of my free time with either my XBox or playing No-Limit Texas Hold `Em online. Today I took a small break from coding and QA to walk up to Government Center (I work in downtown Boston), and visit the Scooper Bowl. Seven different ice cream (including my fave, Ben and Jerry) were there, and after you paid the $7 entry fee, it's all you can eat ice cream. I only had seven cups before I thought I was going to boot from the sugar and cream. But I will say this, if you're ever in Boston around the second week of June see if it's going on. It's a helluva nice way to add about 1000 calories to your diet. I tried to repent of my caloric sin with a brisk walk of some sections of the Freedom Trail. I'll follow that up with a nice hike up the Harbor Walk on my way back to the car. Gold's Gym wouldn't be a bad idea tonight, but by the time I get to Manchester I doubt I'll feel like it.
Oh, and if you're wondering, here's the specs on my XBox:
XBox v1.1
Xecuter2 Pro - Xecutor v4976.02 Multi-Ver BIOS
Samsung 120GB HD Locked!
Samsung DVD-ROM SDG-107 (i think)
XBLive Unbanned!!
Peace out,
Alabama Mike
User Journal

Journal: Screwed By The Man (aka Interstate Insanity) 2

Journal by AlabamaMike
I just had to write about this today. A friend of mine recently moved from here in NH to an undisclosed location much further south of here. During his tenure here in New England he had all sorts of fun playing "Who Can Suspend My Driver's License?" with both New Hampshire and Massachusettes. Basically it all boils down to this: Don't ever get a Mass. DL. If you do, don't ever leave Mass, or if you do leave Mass, don't EVER move to New Hampshire. The situation sets itself up like this: Move to Mass, get a Mass DL. Then move to NH and get a NH DL which SHOULD render your Mass license invalid. Ahh, but there's the rub: NH doesn't notify other states when someone surrendures their license to them (NH.) So, at this point you have both an MA and a NH license, even though this is supposedly both illegal and impossible. Now add to the fray a few speeding tickets. Funny enough since MA and NH share records you actually get charged for an offense in either state in both states (I know this sounds insanely complex, but stick with me.) In other words, if you found yourself in this situation, and you get a ticket in NH, it goes against both your NH and MA license. Even better, if you're over the point limit in one of these states, they will suspend your license which causes your license in the other state to be suspended as well. Now you're in some fucking odd mobius strip of bureaucracy where neither organization that suspended your privileges can tell you why you're suspended, other than your license is suspeded and you need to contact the other organization to find out why. I'm not joking, this really happened! To make matters worse, my friend acted in good faith and paid umpteen fines to BOTH states to get his license straightened out ( mind you this has happened more than once, and he's done this double fine procedure everytime.) To top it all off, at the end of this past year he took a "Driver's Education" course in MA just to keep them from suspending his license (literally, the State of Mass shook him down on this one ... he gets a letter that says "Take this class, or get suspended again!" If you don't realize what a suspension in one state will get you, re-read the above.) The course should have been the end of it. He hasn't gotten another ticket, and he's paid through the nose to keep his privileges on the up-and-up. Which brings me to the punchline of this story (if it was funny, it would be a punchline, at least): He tried to get a license in his new home state, only to find out his license from up here was suspended! I shit you not, this actually happened. Which brings me to my point ... Who can you turn to when this happens? What organization governs this type of interstate insanity? Are you just completely screwed? He's been on the phone with them, and they actually want him to show up in person to fix this. Now since he lives over 1500 miles away that seems a little unlikely, but hey, what are your choices? It reminds me of the whole Consumer Reporting Services scheme. If something goes on your credit report, it's GODDAMN difficult to get it removed. Even if it's not licit, best luck getting it taken off. You could make a full-time job of monitoring and policing your credit report. Hmm ... maybe that's a business idea. A service that monitors and polices credit reports for its clientele. Yeah, I know I'd pay to have someone handle that insanity for me. Who knows, maybe I could open up a division off that company for monitoring and policing driving records (since it's obvious that the states can be trusted as much as the credit reporting agencies.) Best of luck, DB ... I hope this gets resolved in a short amount of time, and without an exchange of money (unless they are paying you.)
Until next time,
A.M.
User Journal

Journal: 30 Day Release Delay

Journal by AlabamaMike
Found out Friday we're going to push out our release date for GA another 30 days. Hooray! It's not that we couldn't GA in 2 weeks, but we'll have a much more polished offering in two weeks. I'm very happy about this. We had a very weak story when it came to installing our observer products in a java environment. I plan on taking this 30 day reprieve and addressing those issues to my own as well as other collegues satisfaction. Also, we had crammed SSL support in at the last second, and now we can really dig in and have this feature properly fleshed out as well. The weather here has been marvelous the past two days, but I will have to say that this is hot enough! Today's high will be in the mid-80's and that's as far as I like to go. I'm really not much of a summer person, too hot-blooded. Another 4 weeks of this weather and I'll be begging winter to come back. Ahhh, winter ... My friend John said something about snowboarding the other day (he misses it) and I thought, damn, I miss you already. This past season filled my head full of good memories (which when I rip myself away from GTA:VC I'll upload some pics of.) I'm ready to do another season of said memories. GTA:VC has gotten going nicely now. I killed Diaz and took over his mansion and drug running operation. Now the good missions seem to have begun. Tonight I'm getting my XBox (happy belated to me!), and I'll probably log a little time on it as well. Hope everyone out there is getting the sunny side of fate. Till next time ...
-A.M.
User Journal

Journal: Grrrr ... .NET SOAP deserialization

Journal by AlabamaMike
Unbelievable ... it appears that my .NET framework doesn't deserialize xsd:boolean correctly. Now that really pisses me off. I've been debugging this issue all day now, and what a bitch! It still isn't working as advertised. Oh well .. maybe today I'll get the XBox and forget all my problems.
A.M.
User Journal

Journal: Possible terrorist theat in Boston?

Journal by AlabamaMike
Today started off very interesting. Well, not for the first 2 hours (which is what the commute took thanks to an SUV rollover that killed 1 person.) But once I got my car parked over on the harborside next to the new Federal Courthouse things definately got interesting. First there was the security team walking around the courthouse in all black which asked me why I was taking pictures of Rowe's Wharf. Honestly, I was only doing it for my own photo collection, which last time I checked wasn't a threat to national security. As I continued down the harborwalk, I noticed two USCG Cutters crusing around Boston Harbor in close vicinity to the Courthouse. Strange, I thought ... I walk this path at least once a week and the USCG never has a presence such as this. The plot thickened when I was walking underneath the remenants of the JFK expressway and came upon a group of Big Dig workers complaining about the FBI. Then I saw what they were complaining about. A number of men in nylon jackets labeled "Federal Agent" were milling about a work area lifting up manhole covers and scoping the place out. Anyone know if there's been a specific threat against Beantown? Is there some sort of high profile federal trial about to start? I'm thinking about walking a different route on the way back to the car now. Somewhat disconcerting now that I think back on it. If there was a specific threat, would the government inform us of such? Would the public be served by this knowledge or would it cause unnecessary hysteria? If something happens in the near future and no one was told, there will be hell to pay ... that much is for sure!
A.M.
User Journal

Journal: One Man With A Backhoe

Journal by AlabamaMike
Ahh yes, I felt the sting of the all powerful backhoe yesterday. An employee of a Big Dig contractor cut a major telecomm artery in South Boston yesterday, and with that he took out any possibility of me working from home. With an impending deadline, and the need to get some work done, this didn't impress me at all. They didn't get the line repaired until late last night. I would have gone into work yesterday, but alas I had to wait on an electrician to come by and install smoke detectors. All in all, one completely wasted day. Had it been better weather, I would have gotten out for a round of golf. My friend Jay flies in from Seattle tomorrow, and I look forward to his visit. We'll have a party at his parent's timeshare on Sunday. A good excuse for me to go out and buy some new vinyl. Think I'm going to save up for a Final Scratch here soon. I now know what channels on IRC the hard house/trance/techno is handed out in, and if I had the F.S. I could never have to buy another record. If you've never owned vinyl you can't appreciate how much of a bitch it is to store and handle. Carrying it to and from gigs sucks, stacking it around the house sucks, keeping the cat off the stacks sucks, and making sure it's kept in good shape sucks. I'd much rather have my tunes stored digitally. Anyways, did my last CVS check-in before the Beta 3 branch a few minutes ago. Think I'm going to pour me a cold one and celebrate that milestone.
Out like last year,
A.M.
User Journal

Journal: Republicans Suck

Journal by AlabamaMike
I'm not a democrat (more of a centrist), but I'll say this: My life was better under Clinton. Not that the current state of things is all Bush's fault, but damn his policies really suck. The $300 he chipped to me in the form a rebate this past year was followed up by a $3,000 bill due to the actions I had to take thanks to my unemployment. Thanks for the 10% loan Bush, but next time keep it for yourself and your high rolling buddies. His policies on UI (unemployment insurance) are beautiful as well. After umpteen years of being able to claim UI for as long as you need it (for 1 year at least), he comes in and cuts it to 9 months(and that's with all the extensions.) Then he extends it to those laid off by the airline industry. Pardon me for noticing, but the tech industry was hit pretty goddamn hard too. I guess since a brown skinned person didn't fly a 737 into a data center we (tech employees) get the shaft. Figures. I hope some of those who voted for this horse's ass are touched by his pathetic policies. I'll take a president with a healthy appreciation for fellatio anyday. Well, on the upside I shouldn't bitch too much .. I did find employment again (albeit at a 40% salary reduction.) What's on my mind is friends who haven't had the opportunity to land another job in the same sector (and I've got a few, one of who will probably read this.) I believe May 21st will toll the 9 month anniversary of the layoff date. Back on my b'day I was thinking, "How many people have had to endure a layoff before their 30th b'day?" I know of one (he's not a tech worker .. he's an airport designer, but since he worked for a civil engineering firm he doesn't get Bush's providence.) Next year is an election year. God willing it won't come down to Florida again. If it does, we all know which way it will go. Get out and vote next year .. I know I will. Vote for whoever you think deserves it .. I know who I think doesn't deserve it!
Back to work,
A.M.
User Journal

Journal: Sweet Success

Journal by AlabamaMike
After a solid week of wrestling with .NET and C# I've delivered my project for the guys @ Adjoin. There's a handful of loose ends to tie up, but overall I'd have to say I'm impressed with the way it turned out. Today, like yesterday, was a red-letter day for getting bugs smashed and putting things in order. I even got SSL working for my web service calls between my .NET code and our JBoss-based manager application. Considering that our Axis modules don't yet talk to JBoss, this is a significant accomplishment. I'm thinking for an encore I'm going to go home, pick up a six-pack of some good beer (prolly Long Trail or Smuttynose) and just take it easy. Definately won't be doing any more coding tonight ... the crumbs that are left I'll pick up tomorrow. Perhaps I'll fire the turntables up. It's been a while since I've done that. Matter of fact, that's not a bad idea. I hung out with my upstairs neighbor yesterday, and it turns out he's super cool. He caught me outside grilling for dinner and told me I should come up and hang out for a while and watch the end of the Laker's game .. it was close to 4:20p.m. So I definately took him up on that, especially after the frustrations I went through yesterday (See my journal on the MS documentation if you want to know why ...) Wednesday's pay day, which means Wednesday is XBox day for me (hooray!) Wednesday is also the advance screening day for Matrix II. All in all, I'd say Wednesday is going to be the bomb. I've been resisting the temptation to download Matrix Reloaded in Divx format .. I just don't want to ruin it on the big screen. Well, that's it for now. Oh, BTW, to whoever left the comment yesterday calling me a racist .. yeah right buddy ... go flame somewhere else you ignorant chode.
Till next time,
Alabama Mike
User Journal

Journal: Intolerance 1

Journal by AlabamaMike
Call it irony, but I'm going to put down a few thoughts on intolerance this morning. I woke up with a pouding headache this morning after attending a friend's college graduation party last night. I flicked on the TV and HBO had a documentary called "Soldiers in the Army of God." Growing up in the Bible Belt instilled me with the knowledge of this so-called "Army of God." Basically, this is a group of people who believe in their religion so blindly that they are willing to sacrifice their lives for it (whether that means dying or spending their life in prison.) This groups biggest target today would be abortion clinics. What crawls all over me when I hear these people talk is that they advocate killing those who perform abortions. Pardon me for noticing, but isn't that a bit hypocritical. Don't get me wrong, I'm not truly shocked by this hypocracy. I grew up in a southern baptist church and I've witnessed such hypocracy firsthand. I've got friends who've been on the business end of hypocritical acts that people such as these sometimes perpetrate. What does irk me is their self-righteousnous. They are being "commanded by God" to do these things. Riiiiiiggggghhhhhhttttt. Thank God I'm out of the Bible Belt. Enough about those loonies, and on to some more recent events. Yesterday I left a comment on the new TX bill that would require that state's govt to consider OSS offerings when they bid on software. I drew an analogy between this policy and the policy of Affirmative Action. This bothered some. Some people left intelligent and well-thoughout comments, other just shot from the hip (like I'm doing now.) One guy even said that I was cheapening the memory of people such as my fellow Alabamian MLK, Jr. Please! MLK would have been sickened by the Affirmative Action policies (IMO). The way I see it, he was not a hypocrit. He didn't want one form of racism replaced by another (at least not in the long term.) He wouldn't be one of those who would be willing to take up arms in "defense" of his cause. Which brings me back to my original point, Intolerance is bad, mmmmkay? Having lived with the first 23 of my 27 years has only gone to reinforce that. However, we're all intolerant of something, and I've got a good bead on that which I'm intolerant of. I can't tolerate those who veil their intolerance in the garments of religion. If there is a God, I hope he has something special in mind for this crowd.
Until next time,
-A.M.
User Journal

Journal: Given my druthers, I'll stick to OSS

Journal by AlabamaMike
If anyone tells you that Open Source software lacks the documentation of commercial offerings, they're full of shit. After the previous two days of struggling with more .NET framework warts (you know, undocumented "features") I'm close to throwing in the towel. Thank god for Usenet ... for all the spam, ignorant comments, etc. it's still a godsend when you're having to fight with issues such as the ones I'm dealing with. You'd think that with the resources of Microsoft they'd be able to provide comprehensive documentation of their programming framework. If you think that's the case, go check out the public newsgroups for .net or roam over to develop.com and check out their listserv archives. If nothing else, this job has turned me onto a market that is in desparate need of a solution. Comprehensive training for .Net developers. Anyone looking for a business partner?
Till next time,
-A.M.
User Journal

Journal: What A Difference A Day Makes 1

Journal by AlabamaMike
May 8th starts off better than May 7. My friends gave me an awesome little b'day party last night, and it really cheered me up. I also accomplished alot on my codebase yesterday. Overall, I'm happy where things are. Working from home yesterday allowed me to get alot of issues resolved in my code. Sometimes I think I should work from home more ... I'm definately more productive. I'm not going to write a long one today - so I'll go ahead and sign off. To the A.C. that left the comment yesterday, thanks, that actually cheered me up quite a bit.
User Journal

Journal: Happy Birthday To Me ... I Guess 1

Journal by AlabamaMike
Well, it's May 7, 2003 which means I'm 27 years old as of today. Unfortunately, I'm not very happy today ... the last year has been a hard one on the economic sector in which I make my living, and the effects are definately felt here at home. As if that wasn't enough, I think my folks back home have forgotten that this is my birthday. That always makes you feel better. I started my 27th birthday off feeling sorry for myself, and reflecting on the fact that this same day last year I was making nearly twice what I currently make. I have to say that this winter was a grand time, but unfortunately my birthday doesn't fall between November and March (when I was feeling way up.) Currently the IRS and Mass. DOR has me by the balls, I had to do some things last year that I didn't want to do that caused my tax liability to shoot through the roof. All told, I owe the governments that I serve a little over $4k. In previous years this wouldn't be cause for concern, but coming off four months of unemployment and working for a startup who can't pay me what I'd normally earn makes this a large cause for concern. Just so it doesn't wreck my marriage, my wife and I are treating it like the 900lb gorilla in the room ... we both know it's there, but we won't acknowledge its existence. I've been bumbling through all the forms and such to try to get a settlement setup with these guys to see if I can get a little relief. If life is like golf, I've just hit my shot into the water for the second consecutive time, and even the relief is going to make me pay. If life is like chess, then I feel like I've sacrificed my queen for a pawn. Right now I'm counting on VC funding to come through for me @ work. Which brings me to my next point of contention ... Why is it that I'm under constant deadlines, while my company's CEO seems not to have any of his own? I've heard that we'd be getting a term sheet done at the end of March, then the end of April, and I'm expecting he'll come out and tell us he sees a term sheet coming at the end of May. I don't want to hear that. I want to see a check come rolling into 4 Faneuil Hall Marketplace. That would trigger a clause in my contract that moves my salary up to what it should be. What does this mean for work? As one could imagine, it's affecting my output greatly. I know that my professionalism should allow me to block all this out and get the job done, but it's not happeneing. Also, I feel like I'm slowly falling into the clutches of alcoholism. I started drinking beer a little after 10am this morning. My scientific side says "why are you drinking a depressant when you're already depressed?" My impulsive side says "Pour it!" I'm an impulsive guy, and that side always wins (well, not always, but very often.) Hell, alcoholism is in my genes anyways ... every male Underwood I've heard of has had a problem with it. I can make my peace with that, but I don't want to sink to my brother's level. With that in mind, I'll never move back to `bama ... it would tip me over and turn me into what I fear most. I've got to find a way out of the rut I'm in. I've got to help Rhonda find a way out of the rut she's in. I've gotta get all my bills paid. I've got to get my coding done. There's the conundrum. All these things floating in my head. I need to clear my head. I know what has done that in the past, but I've been avoiding going back to it at all costs. Desparate times call for desparate measures, right? I don't think so this time. I've gotta gird myself and put my nose to the grindstone. I must overcome this. I MUST succeed in spite of all the circumstances. I will find a way ... after all, I always have.
User Journal

Journal: Don't Trust Volunteers

Journal by AlabamaMike
Today's journal is another rant of mine. It seems that my Slashdot journal is turning into my own personal bitch sheet. The guilty will remain nameless for their own protection, but we'll call him Mr. VP (he is a VP where I work.) So here's how it went down. Last week this guy begs me to use him for some code help on my current project. Now mind you, I didn't need any help, and I explained away that I don't need the help, I'm making good progress, etc, but he wouldn't drop it. Basically, I had no choice, let him help or hear the bitching. So I finally gave in and said "sure, here ya go, you can work on class X." Dropped my latest code into CVS, went over to his desk, helped him pull the code from the repository, and explained the architecture of the subsystem he'd be working on. For the most part I wasted 1/2 a day doing this. Now this guy is a VERY experienced coder (20+ years coding), and he's worked on tons of projects including some very high profile, enterprise-class offerings. So I feel assured that this will get done, the quality will be high, etc. Fast-forward about 10 days. I'm sitting in a developer's meeting and we're going around the table giving status updates and such. When it's my turn to go, I ask him how he's doing, and he tells me that he hasn't done shit, and he doesn't have the time to do this. NICE! Here we are 7 working days from GA release freeze, and I've got my dick swinging in the breeze thanks to him. Tomorrow's my b'day (YEA!), guess what I'll be doing ... that's right! CODING! WOOHOO! Thanks a ton for that one Mr. VP. Next time you get a piece of work farmed out from me is when the Winter X Games are hosted in Hell. Grrrrrrr .... live and learn.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN

Working...