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The Forgotten

Dear Reader,

One of the most aptly titled movies ever made. This movie soon will be forgotten. I hesitate to even review it here for fear of piquing someone interest and thus prolonging it’s life.

Gary Sinise ought to be ashamed of this one. I’m sure he’s not because it serves the purpose of covering the stain on his record we know as ‘Reindeer Games’ (why does Ben Affleck still get work?) And sadly, this could have been a great movie. Ok, maybe not great, but it could have been a good movie. It has a quasi-interesting plot, a slightly X-Files feel to it and the lack of any major names starring in it. (Sorry Gary, you are a recognizable name but not a major name FWIW ‘major name’==anyone who has not appeared in a movie with Ben.) So it had all the ingredients to deliver.

Sadly, Julianne Moore just failed to deliver. She was much less the woman being driven mad and much more just a whiner. Yea, ok, your son isn’t really missing. Quit explaining it in detail to every extra that steps onto the set and DO SOMETHING!

Please dear reader, do not rent this, do not watch it the 15 times it will be on TBS, if a friend rents it, find a new friend. Let’s let this one die.

Until next time, have a sunshiny day!


My First MLB game!

Dear Reader,

Last night I went to my very first MLB game. It was the SF Giants (who have been on a losing streak of late) against the Cincinnati Reds. E got us tickets and since she grew up in “Reds Country” naturally she rooted for the Reds. Actually, most of the people around us were pulling for the Reds.

Against all odds, the Giants pulled it off. Somewhere late in the game, after I lost feeling in my finger tips but before hypothermia set in, they scored big twice. The final score (I believe) was 5-1. I would know for sure but by the time we got back to the car, my ear-drums had frozen solid.

All in all it was a wonderful evening. Lots of laughs, ball-park food (you know, there’s a reason the FDA doesn’t recommend a diet of hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy, all washed down with Sprite and Root Beer) and a pretty good game. Hey, I actually got to see Ken Griffey Jr. play. Which was cool because he’s one of maybe 5 baseball players I would recognize by name. :)

The most important thing I learned: San Francisco gets cold and windy at night. Especially if all you are wearing is T-shirt and jeans.

Anyhow, if I’m still alive tomorrow (I may be coming down with something because my vocal range has dropped an octave or two) I’m headed over to SuperHappyDevHouse 2 which should be fun. (Thanks for the invite Jeff)

Till next time, thank you.


Oh HELL Yea!

Dear Reader,

PHP Console Mode

This rocks more than anything I’ve seen added to PHP in some time.

I grew up programming FoxPro. One of the great things about FP/VFP was the command window. Just fire it up and start issuing commands. It was wonderful. You could easily get things done, test new ideas, even check syntax. SideNote: I got in trouble at a previous job because a lot of what I did was in the command window and not in prg files. Now the company they replaced me with can’t figure out how to do simple tasks like data analysis. (Guys, I’m sorry you can’t find a competent programmer to replace me. Next time, don’t make such rash decisions)

Anyhow, this is going to be da bomb and my killer reason for switching to PHP5.

Until next time, have a wonderful day.


What the hell is wrong with Hollywood?

Dear Reader,

What the hell is wrong with Hollywood? How can the same mindless machine turn out “Spanglish” and “Paycheck”? (Why the hell is Ben Affleck still able to get work? I mean come on “Perl Harbor”, “Gigli”, “Paycheck” how much more of this must we endure? Can’t we just label him an Illegal Enemy Combatant and ship him off to Club Gitmo?)

Previously I watched Adam Sandler in “Spanglish”. Now, I will admit that I’m not a fan of all of Adam’s work; but by-in-large, he is a great actor and has turned out some funny and heartwarming movies. As it was put to me recently, “…all men should thank Adam Sandler because in most of his movies, the men aren’t ass-holes.” So for that, I thank you Adam.

But this week I watched “Paycheck”. (In the spirit of openness, I also watched “The Life Aquatic” but I’m still confused on that one.) “Paycheck” is what is wrong with Hollywood. It lacked the excitement of “National Treasure” and the depth of “Spanglish”. Basically it was a “paycheck” movie. Everybody gets a paycheck for doing a middle of the road job. Nothing about this movie stands out except for the potential of the script. Yet again, someone has taken a story from Phillip K. Dick and screwed it. (The one and only good PKD movie, IMHO, was “Blade Runner”.) The directing was mediocre. (Obligatory Homer Simpson quote “…no misdirected woo, which is pretty much any John Woo film.”) Sorry John but this one just laid there. I didn’t believe Ben Affleck, Uma Thurmond still looks like Poison Ivey and even if she didn’t, who is going to believe that Ben Affleck is going to fall for an ugo like that. (John, seriously, hire a new makeup artist. Uma is plain enough without bad lighting and makeup. In parts of this movie, she looked more like Skelator than a biologist.)

How can the same industry put both of these out? The main difference is the talent BEHIND the camera. “Spanglish” boasts of James L. Brooks, whose list of credits goes longer than this entire article. Nobody is perfect and I’m sure James has does something I’ve not liked but I can’t name any of them at the moment.

So to Mr. Brooks, I say thank you. I salute you for “Spanglish”, for “War of the Roses”, for “Broadcast News” and of course, for “The Simpsons”. You sir are the reason God has not smitten Hollywood and made L.A. slide off into the ocean.

Until next time, have a safe flight home.


Stay away from the dark corners of your mind

Dear Reader,

I’m about to make a major life change. I’ve never made one this big but when I come to these cross-roads, I usually take a flashlight up into the attic and poke around to see what I’ve forgotten. Here’s one that I feel it necessary to share.

It was during the bubble. I was the manager of a small but growing software development team. Those that know me know I love managing development teams. So I was having the time of my life. Well at least at first. See I took the job under a bit of a false pretense. I was hired in March and told I had to staff the team and complete version 1 of the software by the end of July. (By staff the team I do mean from scratch) It was a company I really wanted to work for. I had interviewed with them 12 months before and had been turned down. This time I really wanted the job. I wanted it too much because I agreed to the terms knowing that there was no way it hell that the software would be done by then.

Off I went on my merry way, hiring developers, buying lunches, having a grand old time. Eventually, as all software projects do, it got to crunch time. On more than once occasion, the C.O.O. of the company (the world’s only living brain donor) sat in my office and said the words “…the fate of this company rests on you and your team.” Yep, no pressure here. So I did what any incompetent development manager does, I started mandating longer hours.

Starting in September, I actually REQUIRED people to work 12 hr days, and 6 day weeks. We were in over drive. I had people sleeping on couches overnight; I had people staying at nearby hotels because they were too sleepy to drive home; (I paid for the hotels. it was a standing rule, I’m not a monster) and I even had one girl (Lady, but we’ll use girl cause it sounds nicer) rent a small trailer nearer to the office than her house so she didn’t have a 1.5 hour drive each way. We will call her J.

Nashville is cold in the winter and one December morning J awoke to find that the pilot light on her furnace had gone out. (I’m telling this from memory so J if I get the facts wrong, feel free to correct me) J, wrapped in a blanket because the Trailer was poorly insulated and hovering in the low 30s, went to the furnace to light the pilot light and warm things up here.

Something happened. When she lit the match, there was a pocket of gas that had built up or a leak or something. The end result was the same a ball of flame hit her in the face giving her 3rd degree burns over 40% of her body. Worse yet, since it startled her, she gasped and sucked the flame down into her lungs scarring her lungs.

I never saw her again. I left that job in January (after the project was successfully rolled out in December) because the pressure was too great. As soon as we had the first version out. We hadn’t even begun to work the kinks out of it, management called me into their offices and wanted to start pushing the development team hard for the second phase. I knew then that it wouldn’t end. They had already replaced me functionally because after J’s incident, I lost the will to beat the developers. They brought in a woman who did an excellent job of “whipping the puppies” till the software was done. I just couldn’t do it.

I knew in my heart that I was responsible for J. If I had had the balls to stand up to management and tell them we wouldn’t be done in time and that we will stop this death march, she would have been spared. There were so many times when I could have reversed that situation but I’m ashamed to say I didn’t. Like every other incompetent development manager I thought you could continue to push people past their limits for the sake of the company. The end never justifies the means.

J, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I did that, I’m sorry I never visited you in the hospital (it was shame that kept me away) and I’m sorry I moved you up from Florida only to ruin your life.

Please forgive me.