Phil's 2006 Blog!

This blog will be about nothing in particular, it will be a collection of thoughts and happenings during the year of 2006, a new hobby for Phil. For the most part it will be boring text which will sort of go ON AND ON with no end in site but as I learn more about HTML and how to do web pages I will be adding more animated content.

If anyone wishes to send an email for inclusion in the blog, just say in the email "include in your blog" and it will be done. I will keep names to formats like JeffW, CarolK, FrankL to keep things somewhat anonymous.

The animated icons came from . They said if I used their icons I had better include a link to them.

The blog entries for 2011 can be found here: Phil's 2011 Blog

The blog entries for 2010 can be found here: Phil's 2010 Blog

The blog entries for 2009 can be found here: Phil's 2009 Blog

The blog entries for 2008 can be found here: Phil's 2008 Blog

The blog entries for 2007 can be found here: Phil's 2007 Blog

Oh....and this web page is being developed with the special super-duper software of!

I want to learn how to do this HTML stuff without relying on special software. So, this blog will be my chance to learn and have some fun as well!

Mon, 18 Dec 2006 15:53:45 -0700 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: what sense does it make?

Some people have observed that I am not adding many blog entries. This is true because to some degree, nothing much happens in my life. That is the way I like it. Each day the sun rises, I go to work, the sun sets, and I return home to my cats who are waiting to be fed. Some people would say my life is in a rut, others would say I am in the groove.

I do worry that I am repeating myself in my blog, since it is so large and I don't have time to read it and I don't know what I have typed already.

However, I will observe at this time that being over half a century old I always thought I would have life figured out by now. Also, I see life as a large puzzle. At my age I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly - and also the beautiful things - and I keep thinking that like a jigsaw puzzle, if I arrange the pieces in the correct order before me I will be able to see the big picture and it will all make sense.

As of this typing at this moment I am still waiting to see the big picture, to understand the meaning, to realize how all the pieces fit together. However, I think I have discovered the secret of happiness and that is the most important thing to me.

Tue, 7 Nov 2006 14:52:12 -0700 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Of cabbages, kings, and things that go bump in the night

In my ongoing goal of producing a series of inter-connected computer programs which will together simulate some functions of the human mind.....

There are two major keys to this project, one being the Real World Abstraction Layer and the other being the Persson Konscious Kernel with the "I think therefore I am" loop otherwise known as the "I'm alive loop".

The theory is this - if you could look inside the human mind in action, you would see no thoughts there - you would only see electrical impulses and chemical activity. This activity is interpreted by the abstraction layer and thereby given meaning.

In my experiments during partial consciousness I have been able to selectively activate and de-activate the abstraction layer in my own mind. In my dream I was in a grocery store and I was reading the ingredients on a can of soup. While staring at the can of soup and watching the letters quite intently I was able to activate the abstraction layer (in which case the ingredients would make sense) and de-activate the abstraction layer (in which case the words on the soup can were meaningless) while the characters on the soup label remained unchanged. It is also important to realize that we interpret everything in our world based upon context (The most famous example being the sentence "It's hard to wreck a nice beach" which will change meaning if spoken to another human during a conversation about speech recognition.)

It is also noteworthy to mention that dreams carry with them a temporal component - what we experience in the dream is TIME DELAYED from the actual creation of the story line. For instance, I dreamt that a man was shocked by something he saw, his mouth dropped open, and his jacket popped open. I had no idea why his jacket popped open but it turned out that he was a very heavy man, he was holding in his gut to make himself appear in better shape, and when he was shocked his mouth dropped open and his gut popped out (probably popping the button off his jacket). I reasoned this out after his jacket popped open.....but the reasoning was already there before I viewed the dream. Also, we have all found ourselves in a burning building, then heard the fire alarm, and then awoke to find that the fire alarm that began AFTER we saw the fire was actually our alarm clock.

Idiot savants are capable of high-speed calculations and amazing feats because their minds are not busy perceiving and translating reality - therefore the raw processing power of the human mind is directed into other areas and they are absolute geniuses in a specific area, able to out-perform computers. The theory has been expressed that IF a modern computer was handling all the information our minds were processing, they would run as slow as our minds appear to work. Although in the case of computers the hardware always becomes faster and cheaper as the decades progress.

The abstraction layer in a computer program would take apparently random ones and zeroes and assign real meaning to them - thereby creating thoughts, memories, and images. Each computer program would in theory run on one server which would occupy one slot in a rack system of computers - most likely using a SQL database of some sort, one database for each server. The servers would communicate using gigabit Ethernet or fiber optics. The Konscious Kernel would run on the "master" server.

The overall goal of this project is to create a collection of programs able to simulate human thought in such a way that WE can be in control - unlike the projects where a "SMART" neural network is created and allowed to learn without humans having any idea what the computer is "thinking". The Persson Konscious Kernel would incorporate the Asimov four laws of robotics (the zeroeth law was added in 1985).

The Konscious Kernel has at the core the "I'm Alive Loop" which is the main processing routine - while it is running, the entity is alive. The current plan is that "current thoughts" would be in a continuously scanned table, listed by priority. The Konscious Kernel would need to incorporate the laws of robotics and it is thought also the abstraction layer. As of this writing (11-07-2006) the design of this component - the core of the entire project - has not yet been created. The Konscious Kernel and Real World Abstraction Layer should be patterned after the design of my own mind.

It should be hereby noted that this project will not address voice recognition, pattern recognition, or voice synthesis. This project will only address the simulation of human thought and not necessarily the real world interface. We will create a "baby" mind and let it learn everything about the world from the Internet at lightning speed and see what sort of child we can create - although using modern technology it would be simple to incorporate a dictionary, encyclopedia, almanac, and thesaurus on one server - along with the collected works of the world's greatest minds. It is thought that once the mind is created it can be easily interfaced with existing systems to provide other capabilities.

The only question remaining is how to create the Konscious Kernel with the Abstraction Layer and a rudimentary understanding of reality so it can begin learning.

Fri, 6 Oct 2006 14:14:16 -0700 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Beginning of month, end of week

In the last year I have changed my hair color, started a new career, moved to a new company, moved to a new apartment in a different part of town,  started attending a new church, and have a whole new set of friends.

Now I have volunteered to bring something to the office pot luck and I need to buy ingredients, mixing bowls, and a large bowl to use to bring my treat to work. This weekend since I hurt my feet a week ago taking a long walk and can't go out walking I will be in the kitchen fooling with the electric mixer and seeing if I can produce my special dish.

When will all these changes in my life end? It's like I'm becoming a brand new person..... In other news people who have known me for many years might be shocked that I am getting about eight hours of sleep a night - every night. I know I'm quite shocked!

In sad news I am very sorry to report that due to some special audit here next week the guys in my department need to wear fancy shirts and TIES on Tuesday and Wednesday! I was kidding around with one of my co-workers and saying that I can hardly remember what a tie was, I was going to check the history books to see if I can get a refresher course. We gave our manager quite a lot of grief over it, but he wasn't budging - he even said that if any of us didn't have ties, he had some he could loan us.

Mon, 18 Sep 2006 11:36:44 -0700 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: so much has happened, so little has changed.....

It has been so very long since I typed in my blog, I wonder if I still remember how to do blog entries?

Let's much has happened, so little has changed.....

I have now been hired as a REAL employee at my company, I am no longer a temp person.

This weekend I finished that VB.NET project for work, I now hope to investigate a little Perl scripting puzzle, and then plunge headlong into Java on Linux.

I have told several people that I want to be swimming in Java before Halloween so this Perl script stuff needs to get done in a hurry.

Now....there are some of you reading this blog who have known me for well over 35 years. People have recently said that when I get into something, I attack it with an intensity that is frightening (500 posts in eight weeks on a new forum) and I'm wondering if this is true of me. Also....did I have this intensity 35 years ago?? I am looking forward to your comments on this.... and....yes, I know my intensity was on hold while I was married.

Let me see.....there will probably be more inline icons appearing in my blog order to use the icons on this forum I loaded them onto this server where my blog runs and....heck, if they are licensed under GPL why not use them in my blog? I think it's great when different projects in my life all blur together - keeps my world interesting.

I was just reviewing all the entries in my blog for this year. I cannot possibly imagine why anyone reading this blog would get the idea that my brain was totally wild and bouncing off the walls.

Tue, 22 Aug 2006 17:08:25 -0700 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Krispy Kreme bites the dust

I don't know if this is a nationwide thing or not, but I am sad to report that in the Southwest, Krispy Kreme bit the dust.

It seems a very sad thing and everyone here is quite sad. However, I grew up on Dunkin' Donuts and as far as I'm concerned nothing quite compares.

The official word I have heard is that all across AZ they have gone bankrupt. They said that Americans are more healthy now and it just was not working out, their business has really fallen off.

I'm so glad that Dunkin' Donuts survived, when I started this entry I was eating one.

In other significant news......I am being hired full time at my company. I will be an official full time person in September. I cannot tell you how happy I am!

On a recent trip I took I tracked my gasoline usage and I was getting 35.333 miles per gallon. I knew that everyone has always wondered what gas mileage I was getting (I finally know now that I have had the car 2.5 years). Anyone who has driven with me in the past should know I was NOT driving conservatively.

Mon, 7 Aug 2006 10:58:03 -0700 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: another Monday!

I am now on my official morning break.

There was some concern from a member of the audience that I am using company time to type blog entries. Any blog entry that says it came from Phil.Persson came from work, whereas entries from home come from pbpersson.

So.....there will most likely be fewer blog entries here. It is true that my company that was nice enough to give me a job and will most likely be hiring me full time is not paying me to sit here and type entries for my Web log.

Also.....things do not really change in my life. Typically I get up each day, get dressed, go to work, do a bunch of boring technical things all day, come home, eat supper, take a nap, do some stuff, then go for a walk, then come home and go to bed.

Each day is the same and you can rest assured that I will type a blog entry if something interesting happens like someone is born or dies or loses their job or whatever. I have attempted to construct my life so nothing interesting will ever happen. I mean, I even had a blog entry where the most exciting thing in my life was making my own crunchy peanut butter so how exciting is that?

In the news this morning they said the Alaska oil pipeline was shut down because of problems and they don't know how many months it will take to get it back up and running. So I was on the web this morning (must have been during my break time) looking at the Ford web site wanting a SMALL E85 car and they said I could buy a new Crown Victoria that runs on E85. I am so angry at the automobile industry!!!!

I could go on but my break time is over. Back to work!!

Sun, 06 Aug 2006 20:02:55 -0700 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: THIS IS A TEST....

This a test.....for the next sixty seconds this computer will conduct a test of the new blog generation smiley icons.......this is only a test

We have the old entries which are:

The happy guy: but he has been re-sized so he is inline now

The sad guy:

Then we have the brand new entries which are:

The winking guy:

The shocked guy:

The angry guy:

The Mr. Cool guy:

and last but not least we have the embarrassed guy:

This is a test to see if the icons are translated in a pre-formatted block. My suspicion would be NO:

The happy guy:  :-) but he has been re-sized so he is inline now
The sad guy:  :-(
The winking guy:  :wink:
The shocked guy:  :-O
The angry guy:  :angry:
The Mr. Cool guy:  :cool:

This concludes this test of the new smiley icons. We now return you to your regularly scheduled web surfing, already in progress......

Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:32:10 -0700 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Mondays should be outlawed

Let's see.....there are several people out in Cyberspace who said I have not been doing many blog entries. Well....there was really only one person so I lied. It just sounded better if I said there was a whole bunch.

So here I am.....what should I type about?

We never did get that flooding rain they promised on the weekend. It was a real disappointment. I guess the pattern is that if they forecast flooding rains we won't get them but if they don't forecast a flood then look out!

Remember the old days when the car dealership was loaded with cars on the showroom where you could see them without walking outside all over the lot? I was at the car dealership on the weekend and all they had was two cars! The entire showroom floor is covered with cubicles with salesmen sitting at desks. Whatever happened to the old days? I was there getting my car serviced and didn't feel like walking all over outside so I just sat in the waiting room and read a magazine. Besides, I don't want to buy any cars because the one I have works just great.

Fri, 28 Jul 2006 13:50:23 -0700 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: blog 7-28-2006

I guess I should type a blog entry.....but what should I type?

We are having huge amounts of rain here in the desert now. They said it was because of a tropical storm that fell apart off the west coast of Mexico and all the moisture came streaming up here. The National Weather Service says we have a record amount of moisture in the atmosphere over Phoenix and apparently it's like a pool of gasoline just waiting for something to set it off and then the sky will explode with thunderstorms. We had that happen Tuesday night and it was really quite a light show!

Yesterday morning I found a live scorpion in my apartment, killed it, and then brought it into work for show and tell. My co-workers were quite interested and the dead scorpion was a big hit. I am leaving work early today to stop at the apartment office to tell them about the scorpion.

Fri, 7 Jul 2006 16:06:58 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: another Friday

Another Friday is here and I welcome the arrival of another weekend! I thought this would be a nice week since we worked on Monday, had a day off, and then had a three-day work week. However, it was somewhat difficult having two Mondays in a week, so to speak. I was not really productive on Monday or Wednesday due to this little problem. Now I'm finally getting back up to speed and the week is over!

We are starting to see more thunderstorms here and it's rather muggy outside. When there is a breeze it isn't a pleasant breeze. Sometimes you just can't win. Or....maybe the correct phrase is that some people are just never happy.... they are saying we are under a flash flood watch tonight until 9:00. How exciting! Everyone is really looking forward to some rain, but will it really happen?

Wed, 5 Jul 2006 10:24:56 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: it just isn't fair!

I just discovered that our monsoon season officially began on Sunday here.

I have watched and waited and waited and watched and wondered when I would get to see a really good storm. I have been sitting at my computer watching the storms on radar but as soon as they near the Phoenix city limits they all dry up - supposedly because of the heat island effect.

So I'm laying in bed trying desperately to drift off to sleep around midnight and I awoke last night to the sound of thunder (how far off I sadly wonder?). The entire apartment is shaking with all this thunder and I'm trying to sleep and can't afford to get up and look out the window at the lightning.

Who in the world is scheduling these things? I need to complain to someone because this isn't the sort of show I can tell TiVo to grab for me and IT JUST ISN'T FAIR!!!

Mon, 3 Jul 2006 13:45:45 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Two short work weeks

Today is July 3rd 2006 and as far as I am concerned it is a one-day work week, followed by a short weekend, then followed by another short work week. That's how I prefer to look at it and it makes me happy.

I didn't get to work on my string manipulation program at all this weekend, I had my mind occupied with other things. Perhaps tomorrow I will get a chance to work on it, but maybe not. One can never tell. I might instead construct a web page of tartan designs. So much to do, so little time....

A few weeks ago I bought a high-tech digital bathroom scale to keep track of my goal of losing weight. One day I weighed myself and it said I had lost four pounds, then a week later it said I had only lost two pounds and now it says I have lost eight pounds. Is it playing games with me?

In this new office now that I have my security pass and can use the stairwell, when I get here I park my car, walk down three flights of stairs, walk across the street, and then walk up one flight of stairs. Then I do the opposite when I leave at night. I wonder how many calories that burns up? Oh....and this weekend there was no frozen pizza in the freezer so I ate fruit and nuts instead. I wonder if that's healthier?

I arrived at work this morning and my supervisor handed me this project - seven printers were down on two systems and each printer in each system needed to have four conditions in place in several databases for the print jobs to work. That is fifty-six different "things" I had to find and report on so I put it all into a spreadsheet. I am thinking this is quite a project and sort of a shock for first thing on a Monday morning.

Mon, 26 Jun 2006 12:39:55 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: blog 6-26-2006

In other news, my Mark Taylor apartment complex was just bought by some investment firm and I don't know if that means they will convert them to condos? If I am forced into another condo conversion a year from now, I will be buying a house - most likely 40 miles away in the middle of the desert because that will be all I can afford.

Oh....and my one credit card wanted me to switch to paperless mode so I did and then they stopped the snail mail, didn't turn on the email notification so I received NO NOTICE that the bill was due and when I didn't pay it they raised my interest rate to 25%!!!! My other credit card has raised my credit limit so I will use a check from them to pay off my Citicard and then just drop them. Grrrrrrr!!!!

Now for some good news - starting today I have covered parking for my car in our new office building. WOO-HOO!!!

Mon, 19 Jun 2006 11:17:57 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Is it Monday again?

Mondays are just too difficult, I think they should be outlawed.

I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the automotive industry. The year is 2005 and people are all excited that with modern technology and new computer advances you can buy a car that gets an average of 33 miles per gallon. The fact of the matter is that in 1980 I had a Pontiac with a four cylinder engine and I received an average gas mileage of 33 miles per gallon. That was 25 years ago and we have not made any progress at all. What is wrong with this picture??

General Motors produced an all-electric car and everyone loved it. Reportedly had they worked a little more on the technology and done a LITTLE advertising and marketing, it could have been a success. They took all the cars away from the customers - in some cases turning down millions of dollars offered to them to buy the cars - and then crushed them all in the desert. What is wrong with this picture??

In the meantime scientists all over the world are reporting that the polar ice caps are melting at a much faster rate than expected due to all the greenhouse gases our cars are spewing into the atmosphere. Some current estimates tell us they might be GONE as early as 2030. If we were to greatly reduce greenhouse gases NOW we might be able to avoid this global disaster but the Bush Administration is keeping this quiet - so as not to upset the oil industry's profits - and in some cases preventing government scientists from reporting their findings to Congress!

There is a private movie currently showing in selected theaters and I believe the name is "An Inconvenient Truth" that uncovers some of the lies the American public and the rest of the world have been told. It is time for humankind to get serious about saving our planet - if it is not already too late!

I was speaking to a friend on the phone concerning this and he said the correct course of action is to just wait and see what happens. He didn't believe the reports from the scientists around the world concerning the melting glaciers and suggested we wait until the year 2030, see if the state of Florida is half covered by the ocean, and then regret that we didn't do something when we still had time. I must question the wisdom of that approach.

We should give a reward to the first car company that produces a small hybrid car that runs on E85 fuel.

Fri, 16 Jun 2006 17:49:37 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Last entry for the week

This is the last entry for the week. I don't know if I have typed any others so this might also be the first entry for the week. Anyway, if you are reading this on or before Monday, June 19th of 2006 then you are probably seeing the very last entry. The blog is about two weeks behind and I'm hoping to get everything caught up this evening. That is before I settle down in front of the TV with some apples and home made natural chunky peanut butter.

I have not had the TV on since Tuesday night. Wednesday night I had an alarm clock malfunction. I got home late due to errands and attempted to take a nap so I could get up at 8:30 and do some online courses but instead of a 30 minute nap I took a 90 minute nap and the night was blown - since each class takes 2 hours. (That sentence made sense to me when I wrote it but now I don't know why - one would think if I didn't do the class I would have watched TV instead.)

Last night I went grocery shopping then spoke to a really old friend on the phone then took a shower and had to get into bed before 11:00 since I had not taken a nap. However, although I have not turned the TV on since Tuesday I can rest assured that TiVo has been grabbing all my movies and shows and they will be there this evening waiting for me.

That program that I wrote for work is all up and running - still considered Alpha code - and I will be adding a great deal of features to it this weekend. Now I am hoping that on weeknights I can start doing the online courses through Matrix resources while I am still a contractor.

The office move is officially on for next Wednesday evening. The new building sounds a whole lot nicer and I think I will be very happy there. The word is that they will finish our "real" office building in one year and we will probably be moving again. How funny since at Motorola I spent 22 years just working in one building. My goodness! We have spent about one month here in the corporate headquarters. It doesn't seem that long....

A couple of weeks ago when I was shopping I bought a digital scale so I could monitor my weight loss. I weighed myself two weeks ago and noted the weight. Last weekend when I weighed myself I had already lost four pounds. I was so happy that last night when I was shopping I bought a package of strawberry turnovers to celebrate. After I got home I weighed myself thinking that since a week had passed perhaps I had lost an additional four pounds but instead I had gained two pounds!! I didn't know that just BUYING these things could make you gain weight, I always thought I had to eat them!

Now I feel bad that I bought these turnovers so if anyone out there wants to take them off my hands, let me know. I figure I can flatten them, run them through my flatbed scanner, and email them out to you. If you are interested and wish to reserve one of these turnovers, please call 1-888-turnovr. Act now, this is a limited time offer, and operators are NOT standing by!

On Fridays I attempt to eat lunches that I don't like as much. Today I think I have some sort of low-calorie cheesy broccoli potato mixture. I don't like potatoes, they are so GRAINY! I reserve the not so nice lunches for Fridays because there is so much else to be happy about on that day, I can better deal with these things.

Let me throw a phrase out into Cyberspace: "The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer". I want to know what that is all about. If you have money does that mean you can take advantage of opportunities to succeed or does being a success breed more success? In other words, if you believe in yourself are you more likely to take advantage of opportunities that arise?

It is 6:00 on Friday night! The weekend is here!!!

Mon, 12 Jun 2006 13:27:26 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Toyota Yaris

I just saw an ad for the Toyota Yaris and I see that it is small and zippy and I can get one with no options for $10K

I am wondering in 2008 if it makes more sense to pay $10K for my old Camry which is a lease or to buy a brand new small car for $10K and be more modern. The Yaris is supposed to get 34 mpg in the city, 39 highway.

By that time my Camry will be such a boat......I think it is called a "land yacht" if I remember correctly.....and gas will probably be selling for $8 a gallon the way things are going.

There was a rumor that the Smart Two Four will be selling in this country. It is actually a Mercedes but it will be sold here by Chrysler.

I wonder if any of these small cars will do E85??

Of course, the longer I wait to get a new car the more high-tech they will be. If I wait until the year 2014 perhaps I will realize my dream of buying an all-electric vehicle.

Sat, 10 Jun 2006 19:06:36 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: When in the Course of human events

Sometimes you must take matters into your own hands

I am not the type generally to work outside the system. Typically I go with the flow, follow the rules, and just roll with the punches. However, last night I decided that necessity is the mother of invention and I was going to get wild. I just couldn't take it any more and sometimes enough is enough! When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to take matters into our own hands and define our reality, rules don't matter! I guess I can safely say that last night was the beginning of an entirely new world for me, the first step in a brave new journey.

You see, I really hate to shop. Therefore, I do all my shopping in one place at one time once a week - at Super Wal-Mart. Regardless of whether I want to buy a new box fan, a new rug, or some cherry turnovers they have it all under one roof. I really for the most part refuse to shop anywhere else - I'm in and out and on my way home in no time at all. One stop shopping is the answer for me.

The last year or so I have been hooked on natural chunky peanut butter - I love eating this stuff with apples. However, as of late it has become increasingly difficult to find chunky peanut butter, it is all creamy and I just don't like creamy - it's so boring! The other night I went to the store and once again all they had was creamy so I bought a large jar of the stuff and it was the straw that broke the camel's back, let me tell you.

I already had a container of peanuts in the pantry so last night on the way home I bought a nut chopper and the cats and I made our own chunky peanut butter. I haven't tried it yet, but it sure looks yummy! As we all learned in high school, the resulting volume of home made chunky peanut butter is equal to the square of the hypotenuse for the two roots so while I started with one jar of creamy when I was done I had 1.5 jars of chunky. I knew that all the high school math we learned would finally be useful for something some day.

Anyway, that is my latest adventure and what a great adventure it was.

Wed, 7 Jun 2006 13:37:53 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: totally amazing

The Internet, high-speed broadband, cheap disk space, and video content in my opinion have so changed our world! This morning I was on my computer watching a video of a young woman in her bedroom in Australia going on about this new dress her sister bought her. She was modeling the dress for the camera - one of those classic little black dresses - and it seemed so strange. Here I am in Phoenix watching this VERY high quality movie of this young woman in her bedroom in Australia.

We have the video which is on a server and then we have a disk head on an arm grabbing the bits off the disk, these are sent out the network card and across the Internet through who knows how many routers, probably through a fiber optic line on the ocean floor, it somehow arrived in my apartment then it was sent via wireless into my dining room where I was viewing it on a desktop and the quality was perfect.

So here is this young woman showing off this new dress and speaking with her accent and this server had hundreds perhaps thousands of these videos where ordinary people can share glimpses into their lives. She called it video blogging and the entire concept just blows me away!

How did I happen to arrive at this server? Well, I was on the CNN web site looking at the news and they said go to this web site to see this guy dancing and I never did find the dancing guy, all I found was the Australian lady with the new dress and then it was time to head out the door to work.

Tue, 6 Jun 2006 14:10:34 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: another week

Another Monday, another week - there are those who might think that I have not been doing any typing in my blog. The fact of the matter is that I have been typing blog entries but they are not getting to the web site. There is a backup in the system, a spot where the entries are not being processed. I type the entries, they get sent to my home email inbox and then they just sit there. So I need to clear up the block and then they will all flow out to the web. The person who is supposed to save them as plain text and run them through the blog generation program is falling down on the job.

This weekend I worked on (perhaps) the last VB.NET program I will be writing before plunging into the world of Java. It's a little utility that I'm hoping will aid the productivity of the analysts in my department in my new job. On the weekend I did the GUI part - created all the controls and hooked all the buttons and menu options to procedures.

Today I began my new work hours, 9:00 to 6:00 which I hope will allow me some study time each night and HOPEFULLY some time in the pool after the sun goes down each evening. We will see how that plan works out.

Speaking of the sun going down, I think we hit 112 degrees on the weekend. How exciting! I stayed inside all weekend with the cats so I was not part of the extreme heat celebration. Not that people were out dancing in the streets.... Actually, the National Weather Service web site suggested people stay inside in air conditioned comfort and I was just following their instructions.

------------------------------------------------- TUESDAY -

Today is 6-6-06, the only time we will see this date in our lifetime. It occurs to me that if this blog is available on the web in the year 2030 someone could read it who could again see the date 6-6-06 but why would I care? Such thoughts are not worth the electricity required for me to form the thoughts in my mind.

I meant to send this blog entry to my home computer yesterday so it had the date 6-5-06 but now I am a day late and my plans have gone haywire. I hate it when that happens.

We have a chance of exciting desert thunderstorms the next few afternoons this week. Lots of lightning, thunder, wind, and blowing dust with no rain. Only in the desert.....

Thu, 1 Jun 2006 16:14:54 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Middle of week?

No, I guess it isn't really the middle of the week, it just feels like it. With this short work week we are almost to the weekend already. WOO-HOO!

By Tuesday of next week the high temperature should be up to 111 degrees. My poor automobile has no covered parking. It's going to melt out there in the parking lot while I am working! I just signed up for the late shift because I think it will work better for my lifestyle, 9:00 to 6:00. The bad part is that in the winter when I walk out the door it will be pitch black out there.

Did I mention that they are constructing a new ten-story building for the all IT people here and when it is done we were all going to move there? I had it all planned out, I was going to get a high-rise condo downtown and then ride the light rail system to work each day at the new building. Now my boss said that all the space is already reserved in the new building and we are moving to some strange building off northeast somewhere. I give up, they change their minds too often and I can't keep up or plan my future.

Anyway, the overall goal in life is to be happy with what you have and with where you are. Only strive to get ahead if you are enjoying the process. If you are swimming upstream and hating every minute of it then why bother? There is nothing worse than hating your life. I have met so many people who were purposely doing things they hated hoping for a brighter tomorrow and then they died in the midst of their misery. It seems so sad when that happens. I guess that is my happy thought for the end of the week.

Tue, 30 May 2006 13:10:15 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: which day is it anyway?

It's yet another Monday. Oh's Tuesday after a three-day weekend. It just feels like Monday to me.

I was speaking to someone over the weekend and they were saying that when they are using their computer they always try to make sure they only have one or two windows open at a time on the machine.

That's pretty funny, since I usually have a multitude of windows open on my computer desktop at once since I am working on several projects. On a Linux machine, you have have up to 16 desktops running at once with several tasks on each desktop to facilitate the entire concept of multi-tasking. On the Microsoft web site they have a new concept showcased where you traverse down a hallway and your various desktops are hanging on the wall like paintings. When you want to work on a desktop you remove it from the wall and place it on an easel. I think you can have several desktop "paintings" on the easel at once and choose which one is on the top. I read that Windows Vista will borrow a feature from Macintosh called transparent desktops so you can layer desktops one on top of the other and still see your work on all of them.

In the meantime, here is my friend saying he only wants to have one application open at a time. It sure seems strange to me.

In the dark ages before the Internet, when I went to the library to do research for a term paper I used to grab all the books I needed and I would have them all open on the table at once with bookmarks in the different books at the pages I needed and I would compare them all to see how the information meshed and what data I wanted to get from which book. My friend apparently would just get one book at a time from the shelf and would return each one after looking at it and before getting another book? At least that is what I am assuming....

I guess I don't quite understand how he works. I like to work with parallel tasks. For instance, I typically have one web browser window open to a forum where I am typing a message. Then I might open another browser to do a metric temperature conversion, another one open to for instance Home Depot to get information on a product, another one open to an article on CNN, another one open to a site of climate records for Canada, and I might need all these sites open to compose my message to my friend in Canada. Now what sense would it make to keep closing web pages if I will need to refer back to them several times when I am typing?

Computers are supposed to do the work so we don't have to. Many experts say that you incur a much higher page fault rate and more disk swaps if you keep closing and re-opening applications. You can be more productive if you will be using an application 20 times during your session if you open it and LEAVE IT OPEN rather than closing it and opening it 20 times. Also, when I am typing I find that I can think better if I can just quickly click on a window, copy the information I need from the window, and keep typing. If I had to repeatedly open a web browser each time and then figure out where the site is, then browse to the article....well, I would totally lose my train of thought. I have a very short attention span you know......what were we talking about again?

Oh yes, I remember now.....I was saying my plan two years from now is to get a high-rise condo in downtown Phoenix and ride the light rail system to work each day. Does that sound like a plan? Does it sound like a good plan? I was looking at the map, the train will drop me about one mile south of where I will be working. However, they claim that the light rail will accommodate bicycles and I don't know how that will work.

Fri, 26 May 2006 12:00:47 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Almost long weekend

The Memorial Day weekend is almost here. For some parts of the country it marks the official beginning of summer but we have already had days with temperatures well over 100 here so we don't think that way in the desert.

I am so tired today I can barely keep my eyes open and I'm looking forward to a long weekend - although I know it will not be nearly long enough. The big project for the weekend is the hardware upgrade for my main computer, adding more RAM and disk space and moving it into a larger newer case with a larger power supply and more room for drives.

I'm also hoping I can find the time to get through some online classes this weekend to pave the way for my Java work which I'm anxious to start once the hardware upgrade is complete.

I have noticed a trend in my life regarding motherboards and I don't know if I have noticed this trend before. If I keep a motherboard long enough it is eventually maxxed out in terms of capabilities. When I first bought what is today my slowest motherboard the maximum specifications were an AMD Athlon XP 2400 processor with 2GB of 333MHz RAM and I didn't think I would ever get to that. This weekend I will have achieved that and this motherboard will have reached the end of the upgrade process.

Thu, 25 May 2006 13:55:56 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: The Eagle Has Landed!

Well....I am typing from the new office which is 9.5 miles from home. It took me 20 minutes to commute here this morning using side streets - also called "surface streets" here in the desert. I didn't want to use the expressway because it's supposed to be a parking lot during the morning rush.

Our department is now in the corporate headquarters and we are on the second floor overlooking a courtyard with a fountain. I am sitting in a cubicle in an endless sea of cubicles and while some people hate this, I love it. I have for so long wanted to be back in a large corporate sea of cubicles. This is where I am happy.

Mon, 22 May 2006 12:40:08 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: A wild and crazy guy!

Some people don't think I'm wild enough. Well, I want to tell you I got wild on the weekend!

See, I have this Windows XP machine and these are the tasks I want this machine to perform:

Microsoft SQL 2000 server
Microsoft SQL 2005 server
Visual Studio .NET 2003 development
Visual Studio .NET 2005 development
Music server
Movie server
Oracle database server
Oracle forms development
Java development
DVD authoring platform

So.....I got out my credit card and ordered more memory, a new case, and a new hard drive for this machine. I ordered a new case because right now it's running in this ancient Gateway Pentium II 400MHz case and I'm concerned about the cooling fans and the power supply in that case. Anyway, when I am done with the upgrade the machine will have 2 Gigabytes of RAM and 900GB of disk space.

.....and people say I'm never wild!!! Unfortunately, this is my slowest machine - AMD Athlon XP 2400. I'm afraid to move Windows XP to a newer machine because of the licensing issue, it might stop working if they think I am trying to steal the software. These issues are why Linux is going to take over the world. My Windows XP machine is crippled because of Microsoft's stupidity.

Let me see.....what else is happening.....the office move is a go for Wednesday night. new apartment has been invaded by huge beetles. They have been running around here and there and were a minor nuisance until one of them bit me Saturday night while I was watching TV. Someone is coming to my place on Wednesday to kill them all.

I am still getting moved in....unpacking boxes etc. I'm hoping maybe this coming three-day weekend I can hang some pictures on the wall.

Thu, 18 May 2006 12:58:11 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Often Go Awry

I have good news and I have bad news

Which do you want first? The good news? Okay, here is the good news:

Today is the first day of the rest of my life., that wasn't it.... Today is the first day I walked to work (yes, I did also take my lunch - it's a private joke). Anyway, I left my car at home in the covered parking spot and just walked over here. Because of my long legs it only takes 10 minutes. So I have put my plan in place and this is the entire reason why I picked that apartment complex to live so there you go. It's a great day.

Now for the bad news (brace yourself):

I just learned yesterday that next week my office is moving several miles north to our corporate headquarters which is just a few miles east of downtown Phoenix. So does the phrase "The best laid plans of mice and men" come to mind about now? I'll tell you, just when you think you have everything planned out something like this happens. I am thinking I should change my hours to get into work an hour earlier each day because the way I need to drive the traffic is supposed to be horrendous. This is exactly why I always told everyone to never to move to Ahwatukee and here I am living in Ahwatukee.

So on other topics I wanted to say a few words today about the mystery of the little black box. Have you run into this yet? I'm too smart to be confounded by this dilemma so I planned ahead when I discovered this but those of you who have not moved to a new residence for several years might want to take note.

Let's just say that I am Joe or Jane Consumer and I don't know anything about electronics and I'm packing to move to a new residence. I unplug all of my various appliances - you know, pencil sharpeners, cable modems, cordless phones, computer speakers, USB hubs, whatever....and I put all the power supplies into a shoebox so they will be handy and easy to find when I get to my new home. So I get to my new home and I dump all the power supplies onto the floor to figure out what goes where. Well......this might come as a surprise.....but usually these things are not marked. I mean, there is no way to tell what goes to the cordless phone, what goes to the cable modem, and what goes to the pencil sharpener. Usually they have a brand name like HOKOSHOKO or MUTSISHUMI and there is no indication of the product brand name of the corresponding device such as Panasonic or Motorola. The power supply has some cryptic stuff like 13VAC 800mA on it and the corresponding device just has a label called "power in" and the owner's guide says "connect the included power supply to the device" and my question is as follows. Did some designer somewhere think this would be a funny joke to play on consumers or were they just not thinking at all?

Since they all fit in the same socket I suppose you could assume they are interchangeable but they are really not. In some cases you will burn out the device, in other cases the device won't work or you could easily burn out the power supply. Maybe the designers are just hoping that if someone moves they will be forced to buy all new devices when the old ones won't work? This is just one of those little questions I always have in the back of my mind. I have many questions like that in the back of my mind, I wonder if this is why my neck hurts so often?

Mon, 15 May 2006 12:21:00 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: another Monday

Floating aimlessly in a vast ocean of change

So, here I am at this new job and I am supposed to be supporting these applications and I have no idea what the applications do or how to get into them or how to use them and when I try to use the notes I took in the classes I have had thus far, nothing works as it did in the class - even the names of the servers are all different. I fear that I am doing everything wrong and I will need to talk to my team leader after lunch.

The situation at home is much the same. Everything is just out of control. There is stuff stacked everywhere. Last night I grabbed an entire stack of bills - there were six of them - and just paid them all online. I don't know what the due dates were or anything, I just paid them all to get them out of the way. I finally contacted the DMV online and ordered a new driver's license last night. I still need to order new checks from the bank, I keep forgetting. The bed is covered with all sorts of laundry. There is a suitcase on the bed from moving day with clothes in it and Jack was sleeping on top of the clothes. I stopped as I was walking into the bedroom and told him he was sleeping in a suitcase but he didn't seem to care. The hallways are filled with boxes that need to be emptied and shelves that need to be assembled. There is a shop vac in the front hallway that I can trip over each night when I arrive home from work.

Such is the state of my world right now at this moment. After work each night and on the weekends I run errands and when I have time I try to get the apartment organized. I'm happy that the price of compact fluorescent bulbs have come down so dramatically. I bought a package of three 100 watt replacements for around $8.00. On the weekend I did laundry and tonight I need to get to JCPenny and see if I can get some new clothes for this new job - the dress code is different here from my last two jobs.

On Saturday I did spend 6.5 hours at the old apartment cleaning and turned in the keys. At least I have that behind me and it was a great accomplishment. However, the new place was looking good until I brought all the boxes and vacuum cleaners in the door from the old place Saturday night. That was part of the problem. Then I was so worn out I just vegged on the couch and watched old Seinfeld and Frasier episodes. It was exactly what I was in the mood for after cleaning all day.

Thu, 11 May 2006 13:01:30 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: getting into Java

Just when we thought the excitement had ended

Okay, I need to become a Java developer. I just talked to my future boss here (once I become a permanent person) and he said Java is the way to go if I want to move forward with my career. I need to get Java certified.

Remember when I got the $1,000 Microsoft .NET Visual Studio package for $60? Well, now I can get a $3,000 Java development package.....for free! I love that!

So, the plan is to make my Windows XP machine this super-duper movie server and .NET development platform, and Java development platform along with NetBeans. I don't even know what that means, it has something to do with Java Beans over the Internet? I guess I will find out.

Anyway, the strange thing is that when I say that one year from now I will be a Java developer working on my Sun Microsystems certification I have no doubt.....not even for a second......that it will happen. As I say this I am not bragging nor am I being boastful, it's just I know how my brain is wired and I think this stuff is great fun and I take to it like a duck takes to water and really I treat it like a large adventure game.

I don't know if I have said this before in this blog - probably I have - but it's like you are in this castle and you are wandering down different hallways and exploring rooms and collecting items and treasures you might need later and if you find a key on a table you pick it up because it will no doubt grant you access to some important room later in the game - that's what programming is all about. At least that is how I view it and I guess that is why I enjoy it. I think most people get really frustrated when they try it.

So, by this time next year I will know how to program in COBOL, BASIC, C, Pascal, VB.NET, JavaScript, and Java.

On another totally unrelated note, I have transitioned from eating out at lunch to eating Lean Cuisine lunches in the lunchroom (less money, less calories) and I have transitioned from Mountain Dew to coffee here at work (less money, less calories). Also, last night I found my swimming trunks. So we will see if I can make my way into the pool this weekend along with my Linux and hardware changes on the computers and the cleaning of the old apartment.

Wed, 10 May 2006 12:56:50 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: have a few minutes

Wouldn't it be nice if I could send entries to my blog each day instead of batching them up like I used to do? I could type them at work, then send them home, the cats could translate them into plain text, run them through the blog generation program, then update the blog on my computer, and upload the new version on the web. Do you think I could get them to do that for me every day? No, I don't think so either. I think they sleep all day so they can run around all night while I'm trying to sleep.

I have done a little research and I think I need to run the NetBeans IDE on my Windows computer. That would be my best bet to learn Java over the next couple of years. Also, since I am changing my newest computer back to Linux so I can get more experience in that realm, I am transferring my new 300GB SATA drive over to my Windows XP machine. As you will recall, that drive contains a copy of all the movies TiVo grabbed for me and I was not able to burn to DVD because I was too busy packing for the move. Once that drive has been moved over my Windows XP machine will have 500GB of storage space. Isn't that a little silly?

Also I need to restore my web sites and.....what else? I have a list of things to do at home. On Saturday I am driving UP to the old apartment which is nearly 30 miles from here and I will clean the place and turn in my keys. Then I will be totally and completely done and might never get up that way again. Oh....I passed a Shell station last night where the cheapest gas was up to $3.119! Someone here said it is because we are using the special summer blend for the desert to keep the pollution down.

It is almost time for lunch to end. I had better sign off now. Be seeing you!

Tue, 9 May 2006 16:53:06 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Brand New Keyboard

I just got a brand new keyboard because I was not happy with the one I had originally and I just adjusted my chair here so it doesn't feel like I'm going to fall over backwards. I thought I would do some typing to test out the new keyboard.

Now if I just had some work to do....

See.....this is the thing.....right now I don't have any knowledge and they are too busy to train me. Also, my accounts are not setup correctly so I can't get into anything. This department lost four of their support people - they moved onto other roles - so the two guys who know how to do the work are way to busy to train the four new people who are coming in the door.

The really nice thing is that I don't feel all alone in being totally lost and a newbie as there are several newbies all learning at once.

You know....I won't be a developer but instead I will be a support person in this large corporate setting with these huge applications that control the entire university. Whereas in 1998 I was a level one person and worked my way up to level 2 in 2001 and then spent all of 2001 - 2005 as a level one person, I am starting out at this company as a level three person thanks to my development experience. However, I would still like to work towards being a developer here but it will mean getting a Java certification from Sun Microsystems and also expansive Oracle knowledge. It's a brave new world and almost like starting all over with development since there is not much in common between the Microsoft and Sun worlds. Well, I suppose the basic concepts are the same.

I need to get back into learning mode now that I live across the street. There are some online classes I can take through my consulting firm and I only have four months to get that accomplished as this place will transition me into a permanent employee in September. I will take as many courses as I can from them relating to my future and then expand from there. I need to see if I can get a full-featured Java application environment in Windows or if I can only do that in Linux. However, my team leader here said it would be good to get some Linux experience at home.

Tue, 9 May 2006 14:33:44 From: Phil.Persson via Email Subject: Second Day on the new job

Okay, here I am at the new job in my new cubicle at my new computer - it is actually a brand new wireless laptop they want me to take home every evening.

Anyway, I don't really know anything yet and can't do anything productive yet but I love being in a large corporate environment once again. This place reminds me of how Allstate Insurance was setup and I have a really cool boss. They basically act like their employees are their most important asset and while we are expected to work hard they also want to make the best use of our resources and help us get ahead in the organization.

However, I'm going to stop typing because I'm not really supposed to be doing any work and I'm sure all my co-workers are wondering what all the keyboard noise is all about.

Sun, 07 May 2006 16:52:13 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: I am still here!

Well, it has been some time since we have had an entry in the blog - over a week. Some people are wondering if I fell off the edge of the earth during the move to Ahwatukee.

No, it's just that this afternoon I finally got the blog generation computer back up and running - I haven't even tested the printer yet! Wait, let me see if I can print this page....

Yes! It worked! I think we are in business! I need to use the scanner to copy some legal documents this afternoon so I can get them in the mail.

Anyway, I was up almost all night Monday night/Tuesday morning frantically packing boxes. I told a friend that the movers had stolen my peanuts and cashews and had eaten them when I wasn't looking. Well, they were in a box marked "Office Stuff" because at the last minute I was cramming stuff in boxes however it would fit just to be ready when the movers got there. They had been there for a couple of hours when I told them I had run out of things to pack and I seemed sad but the one guy said that's a good thing. Really, I was just totally worn out.

Oh....for future reference the movers I had were Tim and Todd and they were the best. They were very careful with the furniture and didn't bang into any walls or anything. I think this was the best move I've ever had. Also.....and this is key.....I don't have anything still left at the old place except for the cleaning supplies I will need when I go there to clean next weekend.

So far the new apartment has been great. Lot's of storage space for all my stuff. I had a few problems but the maintenance guy always shows up within 24 hours of my complaint and gets everything fixed. I still haven't tried the pool, I don't even know where my swim suit is. Oh, I did have major problems with my Internet and even now as I type this some of my web sites still need to be restored. I also hurt my back and on Wednesday just had to sit around and do nothing.

Tomorrow is the beginning of my new job and my new world.

Fri, 28 Apr 2006 23:10:40 +0000 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: last blog entry before move?

I thought that I would type something into my blog since I have the time. I am spending my last afternoon at my old job basically chilling out and thinking of the weekend. This might be the last entry here before the big move.

I still have so much to do before the move. There's packing and buying stuff for the new place and disassembling things at the old place and there's lots of things I need to move myself that the movers just won't touch. I should really make myself a list of all these things so I don't forget.

However, first thing tomorrow I need to meet with the moving company and then after that I need to drive down to the south side and sign the lease. Then I guess after I check out the new apartment I need to drive back north and start packing like crazy. Monday I will no longer have internet or cable and I will be tearing stuff apart that the movers will not move and moving it myself. The cats need to go over there late Monday evening. Fortunately, my last remaining neighbor moved out today so the parking lot will be COMPLETELY empty when I move and I won't be disturbing anyone.

Oh.I put in my order for nice weather that day and I wished for lots of sunshine and no rain. Well, I totally forgot to specify what TEMPERATURE I wanted it to be that day. Its going to be the hottest day of the year so far, it is supposed to get up to 102!

Hey, what is the story with the new E85 fuel? I love this stuff because it is made from corn grown here in America, it burns much cleaner than gas, costs less, and in some cases they use cattle manure and other bio-energy to produce the electricity used to produce the Ethanol. I think this country needs to do more to get us away from foreign oil even if the foreign oil becomes cheap again. Why be dependent upon other countries if we dont need to be, especially countries that hate us and want us all dead? DUH!

I wouldnt mind spending MUCH more for gas if it meant we were employing more Americans, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and helping the environment. Of course, my plan is to live across the street from work so it won't be much of a financial problem for me.

Saturday, 29 Apr 2006 19:25 From: via Journal Subject:

No news is good news?

I didn't type anything yesterday because I didn't have anything to report. I'm just sitting here with baited breath waiting for a phone call telling me I have the apartment. Until I have that call I can't do a thing. Then when the call comes in I have like 100 different things I need to put into motion all at once. I should probably have them written down someplace but I'm not doing that in my blog!

Probably the one thing I will forget is the apartment complex where I paid money to reserve an apartment. They will call me after I have moved into the new place and ask why I'm not there to sign the lease.

Oh..I bought a welcome mat for the new place last night at Home Depot. When I moved into my current place money was really tight and I wasn't going to spend it on anything like that so I never had a welcome mat. Well I never knew that choosing a welcome mat could be so complicated! I thought they would just have a few but they had like two dozen! They came in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Originally I was going to get one that was $11 but that one already looked dirty. Then I almost walked out with a fancy one for $20 but then I found this mat that looked nice and was on sale for $6. Do I really need something fancy for people to wipe their feet on? It's going to look awful in no time so why spend lots of money?

Okay, let it be hereby known that I received a phone call at lunch today and the new apartment is a reality. Now I need to get everything setup and it is already becoming a huge hassle in order to get the utilities turned on I need to take time off from work, drive into downtown Phoenix, and prove to the people there that I am really me and not someone else pretending to be me.

Update late Tuesday afternoon the apartment complex had a fit that the utility companies would not talk to me and they called the electric company and got it straightened out. However, the gas company would not talk to them. I called the gas company and spoke with a manager, they said I have to take time off from work and spend my gas to drive down there because of THEIR problem. I figure it will cost me $50 and they are not going to do ANYTHING for me they won't waive the connection charge, nothing. Here in the desert we don't NEED natural gas for ANYTHING and I have dealt with this company before and I HATE them. The apartment complex feels so bad that they might give me some money to compensate me because I told them I want to switch units but they don't want me to.


Anyway, in the old days I would have just taken this laying down. At least I am letting people know I am not happy. I was SO upset with the gas company. The manager told me that the old tenant didn't pay their bill and I said and WHY is this MY problem and WHY am I supposed to spend $50 of my money to fix it for you? She said it was their policy and I told her it was a pretty bad one. This is how they welcome new customers?????

The meaning of customer service

In my mind customer service means helping your customers and giving them the best service you can. You don't screw your customers and then tell them it is your policy and if they don't like it that's just too bad. Both on the phone and in person when I told them I would NEVER get a residence that used natural gas based upon this experience they just laughed at me. Now I know why they feel that if the residence is there that SOMEONE will be living there even if it is not yours truly. However, I find their attitude towards their customers absolutely dismal. A company like that should not even be in business in my opinion.

ANYWAY, I now have electric, gas, water, sewer, cable, Internet, and phone lined up at the new place. Is there anything else? Did I forget anything? Last night I attempted to get the new address out to every credit card company I could think of.although I'm sure I missed someone. The post office knows and should be forwarding anything sent to the old place..

We have two electric companies out here in the desert called APS and SRP. I currently have APS but because of the area I am moving to I will be switching to SRP. Well, I was on the phone with SRP and I called them APS by mistake. She said sir, this is SRP. I was mortified! I apologized profusely but she didn't seem to think it was a big deal. I told her I have APS now and that is why I was so confused.

Yesterday I was reading through some old blog entries and I found the animated graphics really annoying. I stopped putting them in here just because I got lazy. However, when I was reading through the blog I was going along in text mode and when I came upon a moving picture it was like my brain had to switch gears. I had to transition into another mode. We are going along in text mode and I can hear the voice in my head and it's this stream of consciousness and..oh, wait there is a picture here and it is moving! What does this picture mean, why is it moving, and how does it relate to the text? As far as I am concerned it ruined the entire flow of consciousness so I'm glad I took them out. I mean, a picture is worth one thousands words but those didn't say much of anything, they were just there for amusement. I will let my thoughts and words be amusing enough. By the way, there certainly are a huge number of words in this blog. I wonder if when you read the entire blog it really means anything at all?

Sunday, 23 Apr 2006 14:52 From: via Journal Subject:

Our destination becomes ever closer

Yet another Monday, yet another week. I told the cats this morning that I have no idea where we are going or what we are doing, but each week we get whatever it is that lies ahead. Our exciting new future is just around the corner.

Really, if I got this new job in that place with the funny name that I can't spell, it would mean we would be in a new apartment complex in a new city with a new job, new stores, new church. It would be like a brand new life. So while this whole thing originally had me freaked out now it sounds sort of exciting. I could take a week off between jobs to get moved AND THEN I could pretend that this was my real move to the desert I could forget about the one in 2001 that was such a disaster. This is how it is supposed to be a nice friendly move where everything works out as planned and you have a job all lined up.

No mountains in sight

This morning I went for that interview in the Ahwatukee Foothills. It's right at the base of South Mountain just south of downtown Phoenix. A friend of mine asked if there were any mountain views there and I told him there were no mountains within miles of Ahwatukee. What in the world was I thinking??

Anyway, I don't think the interview went well. I hate interviews where all these people are sitting across the table from me staring at me and then they ask me some off the wall question:

Please relate a time when it was 10:00 at night, the production system was down, you were relying on your coworker for some assistance which you did not get, and you were unable to solve the problem without their contribution. How did you resolve the situation and how did it make you feel?

I am always unprepared for those questions and then I get into this deer-in-the-headlights mode because they are all staring at me waiting for some words to come out of my mouth.

So..I think we can forget about this job and move on but I don't know where we are moving idea at all. Yes, I guess we are moving to the north side.

After the interview I looked at a Mark Taylor apartment complex across the street. It sure was impressive but I wonder why they have these rooms with all these diagonal walls? What happened to square corners? I'm trying to plan where I am going to place everything and nothing will fit because of all these angles they have with the walls!

Door A or door B?

Either I will be working down south and living in a nice luxury apartment near the mountains or I will living up north in a luxury apartment near some other mountains and workingwhere? This isn't a Sidney or the bush type of thing, it's door A or door B and I can't tell what is behind either door until I go through one of them and once through whichever one I choose I will never know what adventures the other path would have held for me.

On second thought I guess it isn't which door I choose it is which door I get sucked into. For the most part the first person who offers me a job has me. How many openings can there be out there for Junior .NET developers?

They said they will know by the end of this week whether I am getting the job. If not then this weekend I will post my resume all over the Internet since I will be one week from being unemployed.

It isn't unemployment, it's a long vacation!

It's a time to unwind, get moved into the new apartment, get things setup, and lounge by the pool. Some people would say I should kick back, relax, and enjoy this time. I guess I'm just too wired and worried to sit back and relax. Yes, that's what I am weary, wired and worried. Perhaps that could be the title of my book if I ever write one.

A few days ago I said that sometime this summer the gas could hit $3.00 a gallon but it's going up so fast that it might be sometime in April and April is almost gone! For that matter it might be sometime this week! I figured out in my mind on the way home that if I worked down south and lived up north I would be driving 70 miles a day and if gas went up to $5.00 a gallon I would be spending $900 a month on gasoline. Then when I got home I got a piece of paper and figured it out it came to $150 a month. That sure sounds a lot better than $900.

However, the $900 figure was greeting me when I arrived home. Right now I am spending $730 a month in rent for my tiny one bedroom apartment which is $100 more than it was last year. A note was stuck in my door that if I stay in that place after May 31st I will be spending $900 a month for rent. OKAY I don't think I will be sticking around.

It's the afternoon now and a short time ago I received a call from my recruiter that I will probably be getting that job down on the south side. That means I need to instantly get an apartment and move down there in one week. Can a move even be done that quickly?

Reality keeps changing

Okay, well they say that I definitely have the new job which means I need to get the new apartment lined up, get out of the old apartment I signed up for, and I'm taking a week off to get moved out of my current apartment. Once I am approved for the new apartment then I need to get in contact with the utility companies and the post office.


Sunday, 16 Apr 2006 18:55 From: via Journal Subject:

I just don't know what I was thinking.

I am packing up my apartment and on top of the mountain of boxes I have a 17-inch computer monitor and a 19-inch computer that I never use. I guess I just have them for backup in case the flat screens suddenly die or I need to setup a computer out on the patio I don't really know.

Anyway, I now remember that there is NO WAY the movers are going to take these things. I remember what happened last time they gave them a look like they were some foreign objects they had never seen before and said, OH! We can't move these they need to be packed up! Can you explain to me why they cannot move a 19-inch computer monitor but the 27-inch color TV goes out the door and onto the moving truck without a word? I don't understand that. I also had glass shelves from my entertainment center that they would not touch but a mirror without a frame again went out the door and onto the moving truck without a word.

Are they making up these rules as they go along?

Anyway, the plans for my move are really shaping up now. I need to call the movers today and line up an estimate and figure out the move date. The apartment complex called yesterday and said I have been approved; my lease starts on May 6th which is a Saturday.

The good old days are almost gone.

It appears that my first software development job is coming to a close. I don't think they are renewing my contract. I sure did learn a great deal here but I can't stand thinking that I'm going to be out on the street after four months. I mean, that's what being a contractor is all about but I can't afford to be out of work and I don't relish the idea of being without a job and moving to a new apartment all at once.

This was a chance I took, a major gamble to get my foot in the door of software development but I question the wisdom of that move at this moment.

Up and up it goes and where it will stop nobody knows.

The price of gasoline, that is. I can remember a time since 2001 when I bought gas for less than $1.00 a gallon I was already living in the desert. I purposely filled up at that price just so I could say I had done it. I should have written the date on the calendar or typed it into my computer or something. Now in a few weeks they say it will go over $3.00 a gallon. WOW! Some of the stations I have seen are already up to $2.70 a gallon for regular unleaded. What a great time to be moving even farther away from work! After my move I think I will be driving around 60 miles a day. I love being a contractor, really I do.

Now when I see those tiny little two-person cars zooming down the expressway I feel as though I am viewing the future. This is even more true as I see more people taking their bikes to work. I used to envy people when I saw them driving their huge Cadillacs, but not any more. No, I'm quite happy with my little four-cylinder engine thank you very much!

Now that I am a programmer I am dealing with all the little things that can make an application crash and I'm pulling my hair out. For instance, let's say that you create a new column in a database called PhoneExtension so you can add a phone extension to all your customer or vendor contacts in the future. Then when you display a contact to the screen you want to also display the contact phone and extension. Seems simple, right? However, when you add the phone extension column to the database it places nulls in the phone extension for each contact.

Now, in the programming world nulls are VERY evil. You see, programs can deal with blank information but they can't deal with nulls. Think of blank information as like a room full of air. Application programs can deal with air. However, a null is like a vacuum or a void. You would think that if the phone extension is null it is nothing and it should display nothing to the screen for the extension, right? WRONG!! This is what happens:

Implicit conversion from type DBNULL to type System.String is not allowed! and your program crashes in flames.

Our teacher in school taught us to surround every statement that might crash in the program with a Try.Catch type of construct so each possible crash is captured and a friendly message is displayed to the user. I have a better idea just surround the entire application with a huge Try.Catch statement and if anything goes wrong anywhere just display the following message:

We're sorry, this application is currently out to lunch and cannot process your request. Please try again later.

Okay, the news has just come down the wire I will be out of work on May 1st.

I thought that when I told my recruiter that I was going to be out of work I might have to wait 20 days for something new to come along. He sent an email back in twenty minutes that he has a new position for me. That was a shock!

Just when you think you have everything figured out

I had my move all figured out, I was moving to the north side of town just down the road from where I am now because that's where I thought the jobs were. However, my current job is on the south side of town and this new job will be on the south side of town as well. With gasoline heading up to $3.00 a gallon it sure looks like I should be moving to the south side of town. Also, I'm sure we will have a hurricane in the Gulf this summer and what will that do to gas prices?

I hate having my whole world up in the air. I don't know where I will be working or living. How exciting! At least there are some things that won't be changing in my life my cats, my car, and my furniture. Everything else is in a state of flux.

They have high wind warnings this afternoon for the desert. The desert floor will be in the air and the visibility will be awful. I'm thinking no expressway tonight. I know that may sound silly, but there are freshly plowed farm fields on both sides of the expressway and going 70 miles per hour without seeing what is down the road sounds like a recipe for disaster. I would rather take longer to get home and know that I will get there in one piece. Perhaps I'm being too cautious but..since moving to the desert I have seen too many news reports about dust storms and multi-car pileups on the expressway.

Saturday, 08 Apr 2006 12:20 From: via Journal Subject:

Another week and another month. The pages of the calendar are flying by. Someone said it should get up to 85 today and everyone is upset that summer is around the corner. I am hoping that in 2006 I can put a sizeable dent in my debts and the battle begins today. After my move is over I will have a better idea of how this will all work out. It would be nice if I could have my money working for me and collecting interest instead of me paying interest to other people to use their money to live. However, being out of debt is just a dream at this point.a far away goal for some time in the future.

In the meantime I am hoping that later this year I can go back to college to learn C#.NET. While I'm there I want to get a special deal on Visual Studio 2005 Professional and Office XP Professional. I often wonder which will win out, my desire to pay off my debts or my desire to keep expanding my computer empire?

They had a special last night about General Motors and all the trouble they are having. If General Motors ever went out of business they would take several smaller businesses and a large part of the nation down with it.

I have a tradition now that I am a software developer every Friday afternoon when I'm frantically trying to get stuff done I figure that on Monday morning when I arrive at work I will have no idea which end is up. So, I write a note to myself giving Monday morning Phil some easy tasks to perform until his brain gets back in gear. I think it's a nice tradition.

I just couldn't take not knowing any longer, I can't stand being in the dark..

Since I have to move and I was planning to move to a place far away from where I work, I had to ask the CIO if there was any chance this could turn into a perm job in the future. I had to know before I paid some money to reserve my apartment. He said that he did not expect it to become permanent, their plan was to keep renewing my contract each month until they no longer needed me. So, there you have it. I don't think it ever hurts to ask and now I can move ahead with my life.

Yesterday I felt just awful. I was really out of it and had an all day headache. I don't know what was going on but I feel a whole lot better today.

Along with the other injury that Jack sustained a week ago today, his tail is now paralyzed. I looked on the Internet and they said this is common for cats and usually the tail will heal itself however if it does not it should be amputated since he is not tail aware and might get it caught in something. I have had cats since 1984 and I had no idea although I had another cat years ago (Timothy) who had a paralyzed tail. It was always a mystery to me. In Jack's case his tail was always vitally alive and now it is totally dead so it was difficult to not notice the difference. I just can't stand watching him dragging that dead tail around with him. When it was whipping around Butterscotch always enjoyed batting at it. Sometimes Jack even used to play with his tail. Now all that could be in the past.

My apartment complex is becoming a ghost town. Everyone is moving out and no one is moving in to take their place. It is a condo conversion and everyone thinks the prices they are charging for these places is outrageous. I'm starting to not feel safe there, surrounded by totally dark and empty buildings. The lady who lives above me is moving out at the end of this month.

Tomorrow night I need to get over to the new apartment complex and see what I can line up for myself.

I was reading an article about retirement funds and they said that while most Americans feel they will enjoy a comfortable retirement, many people over 55 years of age have less than $25,000 saved up. What are they thinking? I don't see how the Baby Boom generation can possibly afford to retire. The work force will never be able to pay for our retirement with all the health care we will require.

So what do you do when you have millions of people too old and sick to work and they have no money and society can no longer afford to provide for them? It's not like there will suddenly be a magical solution coming down from heaven, everyone knows what we will have to do but no one wants to say it.

By the way.according to my original schedule I'm supposed to be moving into my new apartment one month from today. I wonder if it will happen?

I went to the new apartment complex last night. I have good news and I have bad news. Which do you want first, the good news? Okay.

In May when I am kicked out of my current apartment I will have a place to move, a destination. That's very good news. I paid my money last night to reserve the apartment of my dreams.

And now for the bad news..

It isn't the apartment I had hoped for. Years ago the Rolling Stones sang that you can't always get what you want. However, life is about compromises and deciding what is really important. Here are the criteria I had for my new apartment:

1.Wanted to live in this complex
2.Wanted a 2 bedroom
3.Wanted NO fireplace
4.Wanted to move first part of May (get out of my ghost town apartment complex)
5.Wanted to be on the second floor
6.Wanted a mountain view

Okay, so I got two thirds of my wishes. The first four will come true and the last two went right out the window. There were some on the second floor with fireplaces and I was thinking of those as a possibility but they came with garages that were an extra $60 a month. I don't need that sort of luxury.

Once I get settled in the new place I need to get going with my career again big time. I can afford this new place and I will be living within my means but in a year the rent will go up and I will be in trouble again. At least this weekend when I am packing up boxes I can have the feeling that I am really going somewhere.

Sunday, 02 Apr 2006 23:40 From: via Journal Subject:

This morning I am working on a large SQL stored procedure that does a UNION ALL between two result sets. Since it is taking a while for the SQL server to chew through my request, I thought I would type a few items into my blog.

Have you ever heard people say that money isn't important, that money doesn't matter, that it should not be a priority in life? I really don't get that whole way of thinking. This morning I was listening to a song about the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I once researched that entire topic and the ship was badly in need of repair everyone knew that but they didn't want to spend the money. How many times do dozens or even hundreds of people lose their lives because there was not enough money to do things right?

Then there was a boss I used to have who said you should not work a great deal of hours because no one at the end of their lives wishes they had spent more time at work. At the time it seemed to make sense because I had a really good paying job and my career was secure. However I now wonder how many people when they are old and cannot afford to retire wish they had spent more time concentrating on their careers and getting ahead while they were younger and could put in the long hours.

I think that money and finances are a requirement for present and future happiness. I'm not talking about driving fancy cars, living in a huge mansion or going on world cruises. I'm talking about having something in the savings account, having no debts, and being able to someday retire.

In my opinion anyone who says money isn't important is not playing with a full deck!

Last night I came home from work and Jack was like a different cat. There was evidence of a big cat fight during the day, there was a pile of Butterscotch and Jack hair on the floor and Jack was not his usual chipper self. I noticed it right away when I came home but then forgot about it until later. Then when I fed them there was still food in the dish from 24 hours before and Jack wouldn't get up off the couch. Then I noticed he was just laying around, not playing, and he was walking like he was in pain.

So, my buddy Jack is spending the day at the hospital being checked out. I hope it's nothing serious.

Tomorrow after work I'm going to pop into the new apartment complex again. I think I will just show up there every Thursday night until they find me an apartment. It can be a weekly ritual Hi, it's me again! Find me an apartment yet?

Okay, it is afternoon and the report is in from the cat clinic. The good news is that he is not sick and nothing is broken. The bad news is they can TELL that he is in a great deal of pain. As far as we can tell, yesterday when the cats were fighting Butterscotch tried to take a chunk out of Jack and really hurt him. They are sending him home with pain medication and antibiotics.

Jack is starting to feel better but I'm not. This entire week seemingly has taken a great deal out of me. I haven't been sleeping well and yesterday afternoon I was barely able to keep my eyes open. I'm looking forward to the weekend, my major goal is to chill out and regroup.

Yesterday and today the cats have been in separate rooms during the day. It's funny, last night Jack climbed up the side of the five foot tall cat tree and when he got to the top I asked if he should REALLY be doing that so soon after his injury. Of course, he just gave me a blank look.

Oh I didn't get to the new apartment complex last night, I was just too tired. I did my weekly grocery shopping and headed for home.

Sunday, 26 Mar 2006 22:34 From: via Journal Subject:

It is yet another Monday. I was remarking to someone recently that we need fewer Mondays and more Fridays, I think that would be really nice. He said if I could accomplish that he would vote for me as president of the country. I would love to change the work week but since the entire planet is on the same work week that would be a very large problem.

As I anticipated, the cats will be little help with the move. When I construct a new empty cardboard box, go and get an armful of stuff to place in the box, and then return to the empty box I just created there is a cat sitting in it looking up at me and meowing. Apparently he is thanking me for the new cat toy he is sitting in? I don't know what they are thinking, I just know they don't lift a finger to help out. I'm sorry.they don't lift a paw to help out.

As I am packing the boxes if I only have a little room in one corner I shove one of their little fuzzy cat toys in there. It's fun on the other end when I'm unpacking because once again they are not helping, they are just sitting there and watching me do all the work. I rip open the box, see the cat toy, yell out, Look what I found!! and then bounce it off the head of the nearest cat. It's one of the fun traditions we observe during a move.

I can't believe it is Wednesday already! Where is this week going? If the weeks continue to fly by this quickly I will be in my new apartment in no time.

Someone here at work mentioned how many people forget to sign their tax returns and I think I'm one of them. I really don't remember signing it. OOPS! Also, I am now moving so I wonder if they will send it back to me before the end of April. If not, I will probably be gone and that will add another complication to the mix. I did everything on the web this year and I really need those packets from the government with the envelopes that have the reminders on them DID YOU REMEMBER TO SIGN YOUR RETURN?

A couple of people told me that I should continue to look for apartments because this one I picked is ripping me off and the living room isn't a very good size, etc. But you know I just HATE looking at apartments. I just want to pick a place that looks nice, move in, and call it quits. I get so overwhelmed with this stuff so quickly. I look at a few places and it just gets to be too much. I don't know why that is. Someone mentioned to me that because it is right by a canal they might have scorpion problems. I need to ask about that, I forgot. I'll bet it would not help to be on the third floor, those guys can get anywhere. I wonder what my big cat Jack would do with a scorpion?

I have moved a great deal in the past few years and it has become somewhat commonplace. What amazes me with professional movers is that you pack up all your belongings and you have this entire apartment full of boxes and furniture, most of which you can hardly move or lift. In the morning you are in your old place and by the time the movers leave that afternoon, all that stuff that you could not begin to move yourself has magically gotten from your old place to your new place clear across town. The key is to pack very well beforehand and keep whatever you really need in a suitcase that you place in your car before the movers arrive. If you do a really good job then when the movers are done all your belongings will be contained in a scrambled mountain of boxes at your new home and you will have no idea where anything is. The next time I am at OfficeMax I should pick up some large bright orange labels to stick on the boxes I want to unpack first.

One of the things I have learned is life is that you don't want to be a victim. Instead, you want to be a powerful and victorious person.

Let's just say that I have a bad job with no income and tons of debt and no solution in sight and I have health problems. I could just give up and say that the world hates me and it is the fault of my parents and I am powerless. Or I could instead admit that I have made some bad choices, lived my life the wrong way, and then make changes to build a better future.

Do you believe that reality defines our thoughts or that our thoughts shape reality? Some people live in a bad world and have bad thoughts and it's a downward spiral. Other people have good thoughts and their good thoughts build a good world. Now which comes first, thoughts or reality? More importantly, if you are a person in the downward spiral how do you turn that around? There's an old saying, When life hands you a bunch of lemons, make lemonade but there is something basic missing from the equation. When all you see is hopelessness and despair, how do you turn it around? How do you get the energy and faith to believe in a better tomorrow and put forth the effort to make it happen?

There is also a theory that when you live down in the muck and mire of life there is a point of no return, a certain depth from which no one can escape which is the theory behind slums. Also, the people living in the muck and the people living in the sunshine cannot see the other side of reality. The people who are successful believe the depressed people are just lazy and the depressed people think the sunshine people are unrealistic dreamers with easy solutions that don't fit their difficult problems and where they are in life.

This is a complicated situation and a terrible evil under the sun.

Have you ever experienced a moment in your life that you knew would change everything? It was a moment that on the surface was just like any other moment and yet when it was over you realized it was a signpost pointing to your future? I had a moment like that last night.

I had gone to the apartment complex that I really like and I asked if they had any apartments available now that I could reserve. I wanted to move in the month of May. Well, this guy found me an apartment on the third floor overlooking the mountains in a perfect part of the complex with the features I wanted and said it would be ready in three weeks. I told him that was too soon and so he said I would have to check back later to see what became available and he closed the book.

Now I'm thinking that since I am being forced out due to a condo conversion perhaps they will let me out of my lease? I'm wondering if that is why the parking lot is looking so empty other tenants have left early? I'm going to see if I can get to the apartment office after work and ask about this. This could be a historic weekend in the life of Phil.

The apartment management says no one can get out of their lease early.

Sunday, 19 Mar 2006 22:16 From: via Journal Subject:


So.what happened on the weekend? Well, we had lots of rain in the Valley and lots of snow up in the mountains. I think some areas got two feet of snow and all the mountains you can see to the north of the Valley are white with snow not just snow capped. I started ripping my apartment to pieces and shoving things into boxes which makes the move seem more real. I think the key is just to get started and pack a new box or two each night the rest should be easy. I went to the new apartment complex where I want to live and walked through the model of the two bedroom. They said I am too early to reserve an apartment for May 1st and I need to come back in two weeks.

As part of my move I thought I would throw a large hard drive in my one idle computer and make it a storage place for movies during the move when my life is up for grabs and TiVo keeps grabbing new movies I can just put them on that hard drive. For only $120 I bought a 320GB hard drive that's just amazing. It's this new SATA technology and now I can't get it working in my computer. I had the motherboard booklet in my hand and the hard drive documentation and there was something they were not telling me!

It's the middle of March and they already have tornados tearing through the Midwest and killing people. I enjoy living in the desert and I feel sorry for the people still living in the middle of that nightmare. I mean blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, tornados, mosquitoes, humidity it's just awful. I once had a brand new car partially wrecked by one of those terrible Midwest storms and it was never the same after it was rebuilt at the body shop.


I was not at work yesterday they needed the conference room for a conference. I took the day off and did my taxes between state and federal I owed about $1600. That's because I had so little income last year and I had them take LESS out of each paycheck just so I was able to pay the utility bills. Next year should be much better for my taxes. Anyway, I am mailing the checks today. I know I am early since I owe so much but with the move and everything getting shoved into boxes I want to get this off my desk and out of the way.

The night before last (Monday evening) I was able to get that new 300GB hard drive up and running and yesterday I loaded the remainder of the updates and applications onto that newly configured computer. That's the AMD Sempron 2500 computer in the new black case with the eight cooling fans very cool in more ways than one.

The Internet is an amazing place. Today I needed a list of states in lower case and in my search I instead found a fascinating article about the underground railroad used in the 1800's to smuggle slaves to the North. However, I had no idea they had to leave the country and go to Canada. I always thought they just had to escape to the northern states where slavery was not practiced.


Today I created my first SQL query where I create a temporary table in the memory of the SQL server and then do an inner join on that table using real SQL tables. I'm learning tons of stuff and having a great time but am I moving in the right direction with my career? I mean, am I doing real work that my boss is happy with or am I just playing games here and enjoying myself? When this company is done with me will I get another temp job or has this all just been a dream? I don't know what to think. I mean, if I'm doing a good job how will anyone else know and how good of a job am I doing?


Friday is here and I'm quite happy. This weekend I really need to start packing big time to get ready for the move. Next weekend I need to put down a deposit on the apartment to reserve it. Then once I have the apartment lined up I can have the moving company out one night after work for an estimate.

This weekend is supposed to be another cold rainy one, similar to last weekend. They said we won't have as much rain but they guaranteed there will be water falling from the sky. It sounds like the perfect time to be indoors packing boxes.

My apartment complex that is going to condo sent out a notice that some apartment features are being discontinued. They will no long accept package deliveries for residents and starting April 17th they will no longer be picking up the garbage. That place will start looking like a ghost town as more people move out.


Okay, it's official - today (Sunday) I started really packing up boxes and I already have quite a collection lined up for the movers. This weekend was the living room, next weekend will be the bedroom, the weekend after that will be the kitchen and we'll see where we go from there!

Fri, 10 Mar 2006 15:30:36 -0800 From: via Journal Subject: Journal 3-10-2005


Someone in the audience mentioned that the apostrophes looked fine in the blog and they didn't know what I was talking about. Well, a week ago when they were missing I hand-typed them all back in. This last weekend I discovered they were all missing and found a way to have the computer fix them so they were actually apostrophes BEFORE the text file went into my blog generation program. In both cases I made sure the blog was correct, otherwise it would not have been published. There is no way I would purposely publish a piece of work with missing characters!

I could probably fix my program so it knew about the special characters but right now the special characters don't even make it into my program. It would take a major re-design and I don't have time for that now. I am about eight weeks from my move now and it's time to start cleaning and packing. I want to move on Friday, May 12th if I can. I think that would be ideal. Sunday May 14th is the five year anniversary of my arrival in the desert.

I went out looking at some apartments on the weekend and as I surmised from my research on the web, the apartments that were dumps were REALLY dumps and the apartment that I thought was nice was very nice. Now if I just knew what part of town I was going to be living in I would be all set.

I found one apartment complex that had a promise that if during your lease you were forced to change jobs to the other side of town they would transfer your lease to another of their properties and assist with the move. However, that is the same company that is kicking me out of my apartment complex so now I don't trust them. I suspect all their properties might be going to condos.

I didn't want to say anything about this yesterday but this morning I had to get up early and drive to downtown Phoenix for my annual physical. I hate seeing the doctor. I mean, the doctor is a nice person but I just don't want to think about health stuff. I want this body of mine to just keep on going with no maintenance at all.

In about 35 minutes I will be showing my latest software development creations to the CIO here. I am sort of hoping I can get hired here because then I could move to an apartment down the street and spend more time learning about software development. There is SO much that I don't know that would help my creative efforts if I had the knowledge. For instance, in my web application anytime anyone clicks on anything I send a post back to the server because I don't know how to process anything on the client side in Javascript, I only know how to do stuff on the server side in VB.NET.

So..I have this fear that the CIO will look at all my creative efforts and once again say they are klunky. I just discovered today that if you have an ASP textbox on the screen and it is called FromDate on both the client and server sides even though it is only one textbox it is really two. There was some Javascript thing putting a date value in there but I couldn't read it from the server side. He said of course not, even though it is one control it is actually two. This is the first I've heard of this little issue! The web side of things is SO different from plain vanilla VB.NET! He sat down at my computer here and with a smile he fixed it in two seconds.

	I was doing:	strFromDate = FromDate.text
	Which is the standard way of doing .NET framework textbox text

	He did:		strFromDate = Request.Form("FromDate")
	Which I don't know what it is  he said it is the direct form access.
	This is how you get a value from a textbox when it has been placed there by Javascript?

I see that the widow of Christopher Reeve died. She was a beautiful young woman in the prime of life and a nonsmoker and she died of lung cancer. She was 44 years old. They keep saying our life span is increasing and we are all living to be older but sometimes I wonder. I mean.I'm living to be older. I seem to grow a year older about every 12 months. However, this doesn't seem to be working out the same way for everyone.

The CIO seemed happy with my work so they will extend my contract here another 30 days and that is all. It makes me wonder how happy they really are with my work but perhaps they are running out of money. My original contract was for 90 days and that was all. It means I will NOT be moving to Chandler since I will be a roving desert programmer. I will get a two bedroom apartment and pray that at least I will be able to keep my current salary this year and not be forced to accept less money. In the meantime I will live as frugally as I can.

Last night I downloaded some IT courses from my consulting firm. I think I can only take the classes while I am still a contractor for them. I have not looked at the courses yet but the titles don't look very encouraging in terms of technical content. Each course says I can complete the entire thing in two to three hours so here again how complicated can they be? I was hoping these would be highly detailed technical courses that would take me down into the innards of the computer from a developer's point of view.

I am toying with the idea of going back to college again in the fall. I want to see if I can get the same teacher I had for VB.NET and see if she remembers me. I want to buy another $1000 piece of software for only $60. That's what happened the last time I was there for classes such a deal!

This morning on the way to work I was listening to a song by John Denver. He is someone who really enjoyed life, who brightened the world of those around him, and in my opinion who died much too young. However, he brought that on himself because of how he lived life.

That brings me to an equation that I cannot solve and I always think of when I hear his songs. Is it better to live a safe but boring life or to grab for the gusto and die in the process? John Denver strikes me as someone who could take great pleasure in the simple things of life like watching the sun rising over the mountains. Had he not taken chances with his life he would have enjoyed many more sunrises but would he have been as happy? Hobbies like scuba diving, mountain climbing, and sky diving are not passions of mine but for some people these things must be part of life.

Of course, my mother used to say that when your time is up you're going regardless of whether you are sky diving or sitting at home watching television. So there is also that side of the equation to consider. I just don't know.

They are saying that rain is almost a sure thing on the weekend. So naturally I will be out taking care of business. I need to pick up packing materials so I can start getting ready for the move and I will also be putting down a deposit on the apartment I want. I hope I can get what I really want my dream is to have a second floor place looking north at the mountains. I will have a bay window in my dining room and I can watch the storms up north during monsoon season. I guess I do have little things I enjoy in life but I tend towards safer hobbies.

The weekend is almost here!

Last night I was listening to a song with the following lyrics:

I think of that girl from time to time,
I call her up when I've got a dime,
I say Hello Baby,
She says Aint you cool!

So here I am in the 21st century, wondering how a dime relates to using my cell phone?

Technology moves so fast I was watching a Seinfeld episode which isn't that old and the entire thing was about a cassette tape in someone's answering machine. In 2006 I don't know of anyone with an actual answering machine, it is all done digitally on server hard drives.

Speaking of hard drives, where does this blog of mine physically reside? I am in Phoenix but these words could be spinning around on a hard drive in Chicago, New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo, or MoscowI have no idea.

It amazes me how everyone seems to have a cell phone I mean, everyone. It's funny when you're in a restaurant, a phone rings, and twenty people dash for their belts, pockets, or purses thinking it is theirs. In theory this means that you can always reach your friends, relatives, and associates regardless of where they are or what they are doing. We are becoming a very connected society and we are getting more connected with these combination devices that can do it all so to speak.

I have never been one to save for rainy days, mostly because I didn't know what my parents were talking about when they spoke of rainy days. Also, I hated to save because I thought I was helping the economy when I went out and spent money on useless items. I thought that saving money was like stuffing it under my mattress, that it wasn't serving any purpose in the bank. However, during the State of the Union address the president mentioned that they want to encourage more Americans to save and then I understood. It's like George Bailey said in the movie It's A Wonderful Life, the money isn't sitting in a vault somewhere - it is instead being used to build homes, start businesses, whatever.

SO..this blog of mine is like this stream-of-consciousness thing. We drift here, we drift there, you never know where we will end up. It reminds of the big Lincoln I was driving behind this morning on the way to work they were drifting from one lane to the other.they didn't really know where they were or where they wanted to go. The entire experience was frankly quite frightening.

Fri, 10 Mar 2006 15:54:53 -0800 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: have you ever wondered why?

For those of you who have moved recently, I'm wondering if anyone has gone through this experience....

I have piles of paper I need to sort through and things I need to do but the thought is, "Oh, I will do this at the new place because it will be so much better" and then I just shove all the stuff into a drawer.

Now, in the back of my mind when I think "it will be so much better" I am thinking the lighting will be better or the temperature will be better or I will have more room or I will be in a better mood or I will be more organized....there's just this overall feeling that it will somehow get better but I don't know why exactly.

Of course, now that I'm moving again I'm wondering if should just stuff all the stuff I don't want to deal with now into the drawer where all the stuff is sitting that I didn't want to deal with 18 months ago the last time I moved.


Anyway, I think the moment I dread in the move is when the moving guys leave and everything is in the wrong place and 90% of my life is in towers of boxes stacked everywhere and I don't know how to find the most basic thing.

Yes, this will be fun.

Wed, 8 Mar 2006 15:30:36 -0800 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: soon out of a job

The official word from the boss right now is that on May 1st I will be unemployed.

I thought that once I got into some company and did some of my Phil magic they would hire me in an instant. However, this is a small company and if they don't have enough to keep me busy then that is that.

So that determines where I will be moving in May. the way....I am now getting interested in once again studying programming at home in my spare time. I downloaded some courses last night from the consulting firm and I'm thinking of going back to college in the fall - partly so I can once again purchase a $1000 software package for $60.

Yes, I know I'm supposed to be packing right now to get ready for my move, but I always like to have several irons in the fire at once. It always seems to make life more interesting that way.

Sun, 05 Mar 2006 13:28:58 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: The case of the missing apostrophes

This is a test: Shouldn't couldn't can't won't - how can something so simple become so complicated?

Well, as I feared when the journal came across the Internet and was transferred into my blog, all the apostrophes were gone from my blog. Where did they go?

I typed the journal into Word at the office and they were there. I sent the Word file home and opened it in OpenOffice and they were there. I imported the text into Notepad and they were there. I sent the file through my blog generation program and they were gone. I would imagine there are a pile of them sitting on the floor behind my computer now, I haven't looked. Anyway, I know for a FACT that if I type apostrophes into a file using Notepad and then run it through the blog generation program it works fine. I looked inside the blog generation program and the apostrophes never made it into the program - the moment the line is read from the plain text file, they are gone. So.....what's up with that? of the things I love about developing software and what many people don't realize is that you need to be a detective of sorts. You go around, collect clues, round up suspects, perform interviews, and gradually unravel the mystery. In this case the question is, who stole my apostrophes? The answer is, they were never really there in the first place, they were just an illusion created by Microsoft to confuse and amaze people. Of course, I found the answer because programmers all over the planet are having the same problem.

See....Microsoft Word is SO SMART then when you are in there typing your document and you press the key for the apostrophe it does not really put an apostrophe in there it uses a "smart quote". According to the article I read, Word has four different characters it can insert into your document in the place of an apostrophe. In my case, it used something that I could not find anywhere on my keyboard - as far as I am concerned, it does not exist. It looks like a comma that is floating above the letters.

Now, this is not a standard ASCII character, it is a UNICODE character for those of you in the audience who were wondering. It's a standard but in my mind it is NOT plain text. So, then I open the Word file with OpenOffice and then I import it into Notepad. Well, the special characters are still there. Now.....this is the can't tell Notepad to replace all apostrophes with apostrophes because this "thing" that Word puts in there - although it is in the Notepad file - cannot be found anywhere on your keyboard.

So I save the file with Notepad THINKING it is plain text and then when I read the file with my program it throws the apostrophe-things right out the window because they are NOT plain text and the "feature" I'm using in the .NET framework called StreamReader does not know how to handle it. are my thoughts on this whole thing, my suggestions for Microsoft:

1.  When a customer types an apostrophe, place an APOSTROPHE in my file!  I don't 
    want smiley faces or flying pigs or anything else, I want in my file what I 
    typed on my keyboard!!!
2.  When I import a file into a plain text application such as Notepad, make it 
    a PLAIN TEXT file!  If there are smiley faces or flying pigs in there, I want  
    them stripped out!!!!
3.  Inside the .NET framework if you are going to take my data and just toss it out the 
    window or wash it down the drain or whatever, DISPLAY SOME SORT OF MESSAGE!!!!

I'm just hopping mad about this entire affair! Can you tell??

Fri 3 Mar 2006 From: via Journal Subject: journal 3-3-2006

The beginning of another week, and almost at the end of the month!

On the weekend I got the blog generation program up and running and officially published the blog but there was a problem that I never figured out. In last week's journal I had contractions that did not come through for some reason. Words like couldn't, didn't, won't, can't, and shouldn't came across with the apostrophes missing. Where did they go? Did they fall off in the middle of Cyberspace and land in someone's soup? Do you ever wonder what happens to things that get lost in Cyberspace?

Actually, I know that when I typed it into Word here and sent it to my house via Outlook it was received in Thunderbird and imported into OpenOffice OK. Then I converted it to a plain text file and ran it through the blog generator. I'm hoping that the contraction-filled paragraph above will help me to track this down next weekend.

Speaking of solving impossible problems, last night I dreamt that my dad was still alive and he was flying back to Sweden to visit his relatives and see the lake where his sister sprinkled his ashes after his death. This was very puzzling to me because I distinctly remembered him dying and his sister taking his ashes back to Sweden to sprinkle them into the lake where he used to fish as a boy. could he now be alive and flying to Sweden to see the lake where his ashes were sprinkled? See, during the day I am a software developer solving impossible problems and at night in my dreams I'm attempting to solve impossible problems as well. Is it any wonder I'm a little eccentric??

Saturday night I dreamt that I was taking the final exam for some class and there was a bonus question that no one knew about that you could answer and get extra credit which I really needed because I wasn't doing well in the class. Well, the teacher had written the extra credit question on the top of a white cake with green icing and I saw the cake so I had the question and I was going to research it on the Internet so I knew the answer. Now..why in the world would a teacher write an exam question on top of a cake in green frosting? My dreams are almost like entertaining movies sometimes.

I have a big news flash for you it might rain here tomorrow. It has not rained here since October so everyone is quite excited about this.

So..I was sitting on the couch in the living room on the weekend staring off into space and I started to think about old steam-powered ocean liners 100 years ago. They used coal to fire the boilers that generated steam to drive the engines. Now coal is a rock and how can a rock burn? Are there any by-products after the rock is burned, what is the by-product and what did the ships do with this leftover? Did they take fresh water with them for the boilers or did they use salt water? If they used ocean water, what did they do with all the leftover salt from the process? Assuming the boiler is under high pressure, how do you add more water when it is running?

Don Knotts, Darrin McGavin, and Dennis Weaver apparently all died on the weekend. Every time I check the web today I see another death announcement and I wanted to type their names into my blog because I'm starting to lose track.

Last day of the month gee, I'd better think about paying my rent! Okay, I sent an email to my home account.

I would like to know how we are supposed to plan for the future if we don't know what the future holds. Let's just say that I'm someone who does not believe in debt and I save up for everything before I buy it (HA-HA-HA) and I'm saving up for a new TV and then the car breaks down and then the hot water heater breaks and the cat gets sick and when do I get to buy my new TV? What if I sign a lease on a fancy two-bedroom apartment and then my health fails me or I get laid off from work? I don't understand how I can plan if I have no idea what tomorrow might bring. If I might not be able to afford my fancy apartment in the future does that mean I should live in a large cardboard refrigerator box under a bridge?

Recently I was at a Chinese restaurant and when I opened my fortune cookie it said If you are not happy with what you have, why do you think you will be happy with more? Somewhere else I read the words, Life isn't about having what you want, it is about wanting what you have. Increasingly as I get older and see the misfortunes that can invade the lives of people around me I realize how thankful I should be for what I have. I don't have a huge fancy house or a huge fancy car but I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a reliable car, and food on the table. Isn't that enough?

Here is another question, how do I plan for retirement? At what age will I be forced to retire due to failing health? Will I be 70 or 65 or 60 years old? How old will I be when I die? Will I be 80, 90, or 100 years old? I might need to plan for 10 years of living expenses or 40 years. That is quite a range and no one can give me any information on what the future holds. These are all very sobering thoughts on this Tuesday morning.

The logical conclusion to these thoughts is we should all live like misers and NOT enjoy life today in order to prepare for a bleak future that might never arrive. I'm not sure that is the correct approach. I know that when some old man dies who lived like a miser and they discover he had millions of dollars everyone thinks it is so cool. However, what if he lived his life in frantic fear of the future and it all began with thoughts such as these?

I'm not very good at looking for an apartment. I mean, what am I really looking for? Some people need a big refrigerator and a big washer and a big dryer. If I move into a place with smaller appliances I will buy less food and wash fewer clothes. How can anyone get excited about this stuff? I mean, if it has a floor and some walls with windows to let in some light, what else do you really need? I guess I should get together a list of things that are important to me so I will recognize my dream apartment when I see it.

Air Conditioning (no heat required)
Indoor plumbing with bathroom

I need to start searching on the Internet to see if I can find an apartment that has all that important stuff.

Seriously, I want a two-bedroom for under $800 a month on a second floor with a balcony and a washer and dryer. However, I don't want my washer and dryer on the balcony. You think I'm kidding but since it's always beautiful weather here in the desert some apartment complexes do that. I refuse to walk out onto my balcony to do my laundry.

Also, I want to live in a nicer low-crime area of the city in a central location close to the Loop101 expressway where I can get anywhere in the Valley of the Sun quickly. Oh.and it must be a gated community. I almost forgot about that requirement. If I get a list together of requirements then my search will be easier.

We never did get that rain they promised. They said it has been 136 days now since we last had rain. To make matters worse, I just learned they have not had any snowfall up north. They are saying things are so dry that pine trees are now dying. I've seen some of them here in the city. They don't need much water to survive, but they need at least something. The experts are worried that we will see record forest fires this summer.

I cannot believe it is Friday and this week is gone. I have been looking at apartments but the ones that are cheap either look horrible, have bad reviews, or are in areas that I know are high crime. On the other hand, there is no complex that is perfect and you will always see bad reviews. I need to do some research on the web this weekend and shred more paperwork.

Sun, 26 Feb 2006 19:12:10 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: Phil's Blog is now up and running!!

Okay, it is official - my blog is now up and running.

Go to my home page at and at the top you will see a link to the new blog.

When you are viewing it, if the icons stop moving you might need to refresh the web page to get them going again. I don't know why that happens. I'm using Mozilla Firefox here and it's almost like after a while the web browser gets tired of making all the icons move on the screen.

Very strange....I bet there is a setting for that somewhere.

For those of you who are interested, the JOURNAL entry on 2-10-2006 is the last entry I made in the blog by hand. All entries beginning with the email on 2-10-2006 with the subject "Phil's Special Theory of WARPED minds" was done by the new blog generation program.

Tue, 24 Feb 2006 10:40:57 -0500 From: via Journal Subject:

Yet another week! I worked on the blog generation program most of yesterday and Im so tired today I can barely keep my eyes open! The blog generation program (Phase I) is complete and it works but it doesn't produce any output. I think it needs some tweaking. I don't know if this is something I can work on during the week but I would THINK it would not be too bad. Perhaps it just needs some adjustment here and there?

The blog generation program Phase I will handle the most mundane parts of creating the blog. It will read the original plain text files, insert animated line images between the files (selected at random from files not recently used), create the animated header for each entry, insert basic smiley images, format paragraphs, and refrain from formatting preformatted sections. For the most part, the only thing it will not do is advanced smiley icons and it will not know how to insert images in the middle of blog entries. I still need to do that part manually but thats not much work and its fun and not mundane.

Part of the reason why I have trouble sleeping on Sunday night is because I nap too much on the weekend to make up for the sleep I lose during the week. Its a vicious cycle. Also on the weekend I wanted to setup the new flatbed scanner I bought but that didn't get done either. Well, at least I have a blog generation program that won't produce any blogs. Thats got to count for something. I mean, how many people can say they have something like that?

Also on the weekend I discovered they DO want $200K for my little 760-square-foot one bedroom apartment. If I go with the deluxe package it would be $220K but I get around a $10K discount. If I liked living there I might consider it. The place I really want is around $300K and Im sure I can't afford that. Someone said I should buy the tiny place, live there for a year, and sell it at a profit. Well, I can't stand the place because its so small and what if the real estate market goes down? Then I'm totally stuck! I think I should move someplace where I will be happy.

Now I have had two people say I should buy this little place for $200K. If I could get one on the second floor facing away from the courtyard I might consider it. Less noise, more privacy. However, I still don't think I can afford it. I only have 5 days to decide, then the offer is no good.

I figured I might be able to afford the $200K for my little apartment but the $200 per month they wanted for the association fee put the place out of my reach financially. I figured my monthly housing bill would be $1500 and thats just way over the top.

So, either I will be moving to an apartment in Chandler or one in North Phoenix depending upon whether I have a permanent job on April first or if I am still a contractor. If I am still a contractor it would make sense to be in North Phoenix because from there I can reach many parts of the Valley of the Sun where I might find work. Regardless of where I move it wont be a totally new experience although the Chandler location would be more of an unknown. The North Phoenix location would be the same old stuff. Either location will be a $1000 per month two-bedroom apartment on the top floor.

I have not revisited the web log generation application. Its the cobblers children syndrome. I spend all day getting paid to write software and when I go home I just can't force myself to get back into Visual Studio once I sit back and relax with a cold can of sliced peaches in my hand.

In about eight weeks I need to start packing up boxes and getting ready for my big move into the new place. I'll bet those eight weeks will go by pretty fast.

This is a test to see how this works.

I am do tired today that it was a mistake to do without medication so early in the game.

Thus fat this year I have taken something every night to hellp me sleep. But thhe last two nights I have not and now I am playing for it.

I can barely keep my eyes open although I have had several cups of coffee. I cannot dontrol my muscles and I keep dozing off. It makes it very difficult to type as I must type some works 5 times before I get then stratight. IN some cases I have left the speilling errors and moved on. If my desk was larger I sould have domeone next to me to monitlor how I am doing.

I hate this as I am supposed to be on the web doing research on how to save a web page as a worf file.

I need to get mmore sleep tonight.

On second thought, I don't want anyone sitting next to me watching this. I think I am starting to wake up now. It is 1:45 in the afternoon the after lunch slump.


Okay, I am awake now.

That was terrible.. I didn't sleep well last night at all. I remember in the middle of the night I woke up and I had a fluffy cat sitting on my abdomen, kneading my stomach and purring like crazy. I don't know what else happened during the night but I have been really struggling today.

This evening I need to take something to help me sleep and get to bed earlier.

You know, I am sitting here in my office that is not really an office and I'm looking at the front door of the building and there is this large illuminated red EXIT sign over the door. I have to it a federal law that every exit in every public building in the country needs to have these? How did that come about? Who decided that? How long has this been happening? I mean I seem to remember them always being there. I bet this is something that needs to be there in case of fire.

I looked for an exit sign online and couldn't find one, but here is a cool traffic signal:

I did some research and here in the United States it is mandated by OSHA and in the old days the exit signs were dimly lit by an incandescent bulb and they kept burning out. In Europe this is mandated by some organization based in Brussels and there was even some mention of standards for exit signs in Australia. In Europe the exit signs show a picture of a little person running since they cannot use a language over there, you can never tell what language to use. There was no mention of how long this practice has been in place.

The end of another week is almost here. Last night I took some good medication to help me sleep. After I took the medication and I was still walking around I decided I should check my bills and sure enough one was almost overdue. So I went to pay it online and usually I check my account balance and compare it with the balance in the checkbook. Well, it was totally off and then I saw a whole stack of bills next to the keyboard that were paid but not entered into the checkbook and I saw on the screen there was another payroll deposit into my account and OH MY GOSH my checking account is totally out of control! Something else I need to do on the weekend, along with everything else.

So I'm getting ready to move and while I was at Super Wal-Mart last night getting groceries a heavy-duty paper shredder hopped into my shopping cart. See, I have this box of papers that need to be shredded and I didn't want to move them to my new place. Then as I am carrying this huge paper shredder from the car to the apartment I think wait a minute sure, I won't have a box full of paper to move to the new apartment but now I have this big paper shredder that I need to move. Did I really accomplish anything at all to simplify my move? I don't think so!

On the weekend I should shred papers and balance the checkbook and pay more bills and do some filing and create my web log and clean the apartment and do my taxes. Weekends are really much too short!

Tue, 21 Feb 2006 10:40:57 -0500 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: invasion of the Girl Scout Cookies

You know, where I used to work there were no benefits to speak of and it was not a happy place.

Here they take me out to eat every day at lunch - yesterday I had chicken parmasen (sp?).

Now today the president brings in $42 worth of Girl Scout Cookies and wants everyone to have some. How can I say no?

Last night I finished the last of the apple pie and ice cream. That's what I had for supper. I think I don't need supper anymore with the lunches they are buying me here.

My goodness....when it rains it pours and there is no happy medium.

I have gained so much weight. I need to start exercising again, walking here and there. My new apartment complex has a large pool and I plan to use it! I need to see the doctor after 3-1-2006 for my yearly checkup. new health insurance is with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.


Mon, 20 Feb 2006 15:46:30 -0500 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: buy or rent? HA!

I recently saw an article that stated you can buy for the same monthly price as you can rent a place.

The person who wrote that article must live in a different city!

I am currently renting my place for $750 a month. To buy the same place with the same everything right down to the same window blinds would be $200,000 which according to my mortgage calculator is $1300 a month. Plus they are adding a $200 a month association fee.

So....which one sounds lower to you, $750 or $1500? There is no way in the world I could afford $1500 a month.

That person must have been talking about buying a place away from the city...but were they also figuring in the extra gasoline cost, the extra insurance, the extra three hours each day I COULD be working and the fact I will need a new car every 4 or so years? Not to mention the money I will be spending on home repair items.

Anyway, I had two people tell me I should buy my little apartment and I was thinking about it but at $1500 a month there is no way in the world I could swing it.

I DID create a blog generation program on the weekend and it runs just fine but it doesn't really generate any blogs. I think it needs some work....

At least since I created it myself I will know how to fix it. Just where would I be now if it was something I bought off the shelf? I would be in a world of hurt....almost like buying a condo in North Scottsdale.


Wed, 17 Feb 2006 10:33:12 -0500 From: via Journal Subject:

Another Monday has arrived. I worked on the new 2006 blog on the weekend and its coming along nicely.

When I am here at work I type these words into a Word file. Then when the journal file is sent home it is converted into plain text and imported into the HTML file which is the blog. I will automate all this by writing a program. That's one of the reasons why I became a programmer again so when I need a tool I can just create it out of thin air. Yes, I know there is free software on the Internet to do this but I treat that stuff like a shiny new-looking penny I see laying on the ground in a parking lot. Sure it looks really nice, but where has it been? I would rather just build my own.

Anyway, I happen to know that even though my words will go through several transitions before they make it to the blog that HTML tags will survive. So I should be able to bold my text or italicize or underline or any combination thereof although it really slows me down when I am typing. Right now if I do a smiley face I don't think it will survive the trip so that will require some work. I want my program to convert emotion texts into emotion icons or whatever you call them.

There was something else I did on the weekend, I figured out how to this is in ASP.NET how to within the server software dynamically change the onclick property of a button on the form to pass a parameter to a Javascript function (called Silly) on the client side, then I had the Javascript function place a value in a textbox on the client side and click a button on the form on the client side to fire a server-side routine to read the textbox. I thought it was really quite an accomplishment because I am having great difficulty crossing the VB.NET/Javascript barrier. It might just be a barrier in my mind. Anyway, I am including the client and server code for your inspection. I have a TERRIBLE time now getting motivated to work on this at home so this little workshop in the end only took 30 to 60 minutes:




Public Class WebForm1
    Inherits System.Web.UI.Page

#Region " Web Form Designer Generated Code "

    'This call is required by the Web Form Designer.
     Private Sub InitializeComponent()

    End Sub
    Protected WithEvents Button1 As System.Web.UI.WebControls.Button
    Protected WithEvents Button2 As System.Web.UI.WebControls.Button
    Protected WithEvents TextBox1 As System.Web.UI.WebControls.TextBox

    'NOTE: The following placeholder declaration is required by the Web Form Designer.
    'Do not delete or move it.
    Private designerPlaceholderDeclaration As System.Object

    Private Sub Page_Init(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Init
        'CODEGEN: This method call is required by the Web Form Designer
        'Do not modify it using the code editor.
    End Sub

#End Region

    Private Sub Page_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load
        'Put user code to initialize the page here
        Dim strButtonString, strAttachmentID As String
        strAttachmentID = "7743"  

        strButtonString = "return silly(" & strAttachmentID & ")"
        Button1.Attributes.Add("onclick", strButtonString)        
    End Sub

    Private Sub Button2_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Button2.Click
        Response.Write("The value of textbox1 is " & TextBox1.Text.ToString)
    End Sub
End Class

So there was quite a bit of rejoicing in our home when I was able to get this accomplished. Well, I was rejoicing the cats were just giving me a blank look like, What in the world is he babbling about now?

By the way, I thought that Javascript was an entity that was outside of or somehow foreign to Microsoft but on the weekend I found a huge Javascript reference section on the MSDN web site. It was quite a discovery.

Please note that the blog forces me to learn HTML and it will also force me to write a program in VB.NET so once again I have a hobby that will help me with my career. I like that scenario.

Happy Valentines Day! I was going to include in this blog a link for the new apartment complex Im moving to in May. That would be sort of a stupid thing to put in a blog on the Internet. I need to get into the swing of things here. This is a journal that the whole world will be able to see. I will be putting all my thoughts here so the entire planet can benefit from my great wisdom and knowledge. Yeah, right. Anyway, I should not have any links to my apartment complex, no mention of my new address, and I won't be typing my ATM card PIN here either. Geez.

I will tell you that I will be living in the area of Phoenix, Arizona.

Anyway, there are some people who don't understand my fascination with computers and don't think that computers are fun. They just don't get it. These are probably the same people who when home computers first arrived on the scene thought they were only good to store recipes. I will repeat this again for the benefit of the entire planet - computers can do anything at all. Some day they will even be able to mimic human thought.

If I become an expert at woodworking I can make a nice dresser or china hutch, if I become an expert at computers I can take over the world. When I say that to people no one knows what I am talking about. Don't you realize that what a computer can accomplish is only limited by the imagination of mankind? Don't look at a television program like Star Trek The Next Generation and think it could never happen. Even God in the Bible stated that He created mankind in such a way that NOTHING would be impossible for us to accomplish. I think with the help of computers we are seeing the reality of that statement.

Then there are those who think that if we can make computers truly intelligent perhaps we should not. Well.did the person who invented explosives think that way? What about the person who discovered electricity or nuclear power? There is no great invention in the history of mankind that cannot be used for destruction. That does not mean it should not have been invented. People say the computers will have great power and machinery at their disposal. Yes, Nazi Germany did also but we defeated them. I don't believe that humans should stop inventing, growing, and innovating because their inventions or technology could be used for evil purposes by evil people.

On a different but related topic, did you know that the Nobel Peace Prize is named after the man who invented dynamite and blew up his brother in the process? I always found that very interesting. He was a Swedish guy. You need to watch out for the Swedish and German people, they are quite clever (Im only saying that because Im half Swedish and half German). Anyway, after Mr. Nobel had several accidents with his experiments they put him on a boat in the middle of a lake and that was his laboratory. Thats hilarious in a very tragic sort of way.

We have photo radar on the expressway here and they have caught people going 122 miles per hour! They will start ticketing these people on February 22nd.

They must think that its a raceway or something. We do have some really nice expressways here.

So..this coming weekend I am hoping the spend the entire weekend automating my blog so I don't need to manually do any of the HTML or image embedding it will all be done for me while I sit there sipping my iced tea. Of course, that sentence is totally inaccurate since the entire operation will take one second and I don't drink iced tea at home but you get the idea. I need to get real graphics smileys in this blog as well.

So I was looking at my checking account last night and I have too much money in there. Thats a silly thing to say because when I think of all the things I need it overwhelms me. I need new cat trees because Jack has the current ones shredded and they are down to the wood. I need to get the cats to the doctor, they are way overdue. I need to get my teeth into a dentist as it has been many years. I also have a big move coming up and with all the expenses that will be a couple of thousand dollars. Then there is the tax bill for $1500 because last year I had no income so I purposely had the government withhold less from my paychecks. Therefore, I really DON'T have too much in my checking account. I need to keep thinking of all these expenses so I don't go out and buy a new printer/copier. I just need to make all my copies at the library for now. That used to be what we all had to do, why do I now assume that every home needs a copier?

I have one of those HP multi-use things that are supposed to do 4 different things and it doesn't do anything right. It has always been a piece of junk. I still say its better to be modular and buy each piece separately. That way you get something that is well designed and you can upgrade one part without replacing everything.

Yesterday I was having an off day. I was awake but its like I was living in a fog. When you are trying to create computer programs with a foggy mind the computer can be REALLY unforgiving! Not only didn't I know what I was typing but I was getting the strangest errors something about my bubble event not being raised.

It was really all Greek to me. Im hoping that today the computer and I will be in the same orbit!

It is the last day of the week and I am so glad. Today I'm having technical difficulties but perhaps that is what a programmers life is supposed to be, a bunch of technical difficulties. Trial and error seems like such a bad way to learn things, one would think you could read about the correct way to do something and then just do it but perhaps that is not realistic.

Today we have a cloudy day in the desert and it seems so very strange. What happened to the sun? Although I am not complaining, I see Chicago is supposed to have a 25 below wind chill this evening.

Wed, 15 Feb 2006 10:33:12 -0500 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: blog update

In case you didn't know.....

There is a Phil blog being created and it will contain lots of animated graphics.

It will contain (almost) daily commentaries from me and details of my ongoing adventures in life.

Including little trivia and other useless information presented in a humorous fashion....

This way I won't be sending emails to people who DON'T want to be informed of my latest escapades.

The blog already exists on my hard drive at home but on the weekend I want to write a blog-generation program that will do all the real work for me. When I get that done and find a home for it on the Internet I will let you know!


Fri, 10 Feb 2006 22:34:02 From: pbpersson via Email Subject: Phil's special theory of WARPED minds

Okay, I am giving you a link to some programs I created with the source code:
Samples of my programs

Now, we have all heard these stories of all these Indian, Russian, and Chinese programmers who are willing to work for half the price of American programmers and we keep hearing that all the jobs are going overseas.

Fair in this country programmers could not find work and many of them who didn't love IT and were just in it for the money went off to other things - woodworking, gardening, whatever. I have heard dozens of such stories. People said why am I killing myself being a programmer when I could make as much money building birdhouses. So, many programmers have left in search of ultimate happiness and fulfillment leaving Information Technology behind. is my belief that the Russian, Indian, and Chinese programmers who are writing for companies in America and Europe will soon be desperately needed in their own countries. As these countries build factories and new companies are started, those companies will need the very best software they can get to compete.

This is what my theory states:
1.  As developing nations develop their need for software rises dramatically
2.  As American and European programmers realize they cannot get a six-figure income they will either adjust their lifestyles or get out of programming.
3.  As the global demand for programmers increases there will come a time when there will not be enough programmers on the planet to develop all the software desired by all the managers in all the companies in all the nations of the world.

Keep in mind that the uses for a computer are only limited by the human imagination. Where I work when the president of the company asks if we can do such-and-such I tell him it is software and it can do ANYTHING he wants it to do for him.

It is my belief that the only people in the long run that will stay in software development will be those who really love doing it. It is also my belief that someone who enjoys doing this all the time must have a somewhat warped mind (if there is any question as to the validity of this assertion, please refer to the previously included link).

Now, I believe that the number of humans on the planet at this time who would enjoy doing this for a living is somewhat limited but I could be wrong.

Do younger people have an easier time with this? Are their brains wired in such a way by our increasing technology that programming is easier? Is it true that some nations are somehow producing young people who are better, stronger, and faster programmers?

I re-entered the field of programming in the belief that until computers can program themselves (HA!) programmers will always be needed to convert human ideas into software that can allow humanity to explore new frontiers never before imagined.


February 10, 2006 From: Phil via Journal Subject:

Here we are, another Monday and another week. The weeks trickle by in the life of Phil and while I realize that some think of life as one big ocean liner I have no idea where we are going. Yes, I have managed to setup my deck chair and Iím facing the front of the ship but all I see is thick fog ahead. The captain up in the bridge has radar and navigation equipment and knows where we are going, Iím just a trusting passenger hoping that everything will turn out okay.

I am a temp employee in a brand new career and I just discovered on the weekend that my apartment complex is going to all condos and I need to move out. This is why I have no idea where my life is going. But I know I am sailing along at a good clip because I can feel the power of the engines pushing us forward. Sailing bravely forward in the ocean of life towards an unknown destiny.

Speaking of ships, people have a great deal of explaining to do when it comes to this Egyptian ferry that sunk and killed 900 to 1000 people. That is just unbelievable in the 21st century!

On the weekend I was able to see a movie all about the Britannic which was one of the sister ships of the Titanic. The other sister was the Olympic. The Britannic was sunk just a few years after the Titanic during WWI but my understanding was that the Olympic lived on quite a few years after the sinking of its other two ill-fated sisters. There is a book available on these three sisters going into great details regarding their construction and history, I should really buy it. In seeing the movie, even though the Britannic had been converted into an army hospital ship it still kept much of its luxurious interior and it still was a luxury ocean liner.

Last week I implemented tons of enhancements to the application I am writing here and decided that today since Iím not awake I will just test and get the bugs out. My goodness, there are so many bugs! I think it will be a full day. Phil the bug exterminator!

I have been feeling like my life is out of control and now I know why Ė all the stress from having a new job, new career, and now being forced to move. Iím also not sleeping well so it all adds up. I knew that 2005 and 2006 would be years of turmoil but I guess I forgot.

Originally when the three sister ships were designed they were called the Olympic (the first to be completed), the Titanic, and the Gigantic. By the time the Gigantic was complete Great Britain was entering WWI and the Gigantic was renamed to the Britannic for patriotic reasons Ė it was then converted into a military hospital ship. After the Titanic sank the Olympic was returned to dry dock and the improvements that were being installed in the Gigantic (still under construction) were also incorporated into the Olympic so the two sister ships could benefit from the lessons learned in the Titanic disaster.

The interesting thing is that with the improvements to the Britannic it WOULD NOT HAVE SUNK but for the fact that the nurses had opened all the portholes to air out the ship. As the front of the ship sank below the water line the ocean poured in through the open portholes thus sealing its fate. After having been damaged the Britannic went down in half the time it took the Titanic to sink. Only 30 people lost their lives in the incident, many of those dying because some lifeboats were mistakenly launched too early and were sucked into the propellers.

The only remaining sister ship the Olympic (the first to be built) lived on and during WWI actually rammed and sank a German submarine that attempted to sink her. At that time she was being used as a troop transport ship. After the war she was converted back into a luxury ocean liner and was finally stripped and salvaged after having sailed for over 20 years.

That is our history lesson for today. We are very glad you were able to join us for this brief discussion of the Titanic and her sisters.

SoÖ I am in this new career in this new job in this new company and when I donít understand something I beat myself over the head and figure itís all my fault. They hired me as a Junior .NET developer and I expect myself to automatically instantly know everything about HTML and Javascript. Why do I expect that of myself when I would never expect that of anyone else? Why canít I be a better, stronger, more perfect person? Why donít I have all wisdom and all knowledge in my tiny brain? Why donít I know what to do and what to say in every situation? Why have I not succeeded at everything I have attempted in life?

I once had a friend many years ago, he and I were born in the same year. His parents became very ill and eventually their minds went out the window and he insisted on caring for them at home. I said put them in a nursing home, save yourself! He said he could not do that. So he cared for his mindless parents at home until they died, he started hitting the bottle, and wrecked his liver. When I last spoke with him seven years ago his health was failing and although he had health insurance he was being forced out of the company where we worked.

NowÖ.am I more successful at life than he was? Am I a better person? This mood I am in started yesterday afternoon and I donít know what set me off but Iím very upset with myself that I donít have all the answers to life and donít even know how to call routines and pass parameters between Javascript and VBScript inside a web page. I really need to lighten up!

Last night my (temp) boss was here helping me with some stuff I didnít know how to do. He looked at my drop-down conrol where I have all 50 states listed (51 with PR) and he asked, ďOh, did you use a bound array for this?Ē I told him no. So heís looking at that drop down with the 50 states and Iím sure heís wondering how I did this in an ASP.NET world without a bound array. Heís wondering what the server code looks like that I wrote. Well, my code is the product of someone who doesnít really know how to do this but thinks where there is a will there is a way and I just keep plugging away. Dogged determinationÖ. In the meantime Iím wondering what a bound array is and how it would have made my life easier. Such is the state of my world right now. He comes in here and between the Javascript he writes and the stuff he says Iím always convinced Iím just beginning as a programmer.

SoÖ.I left a secure full-time job to become a temp employee in a new career where I donít know what Iím doing. That seems sort of gutsy Ė I donít know if everyone could do that. Anyway, last night when I was at the bookstore and spent $100 for two programming books I said what the heck and paid $27 for a ďfunĒ book. Itís all about the building of the Titanic and her older sister the Olympic. I never thought about how they built these things back in 1910. They were truly huge. They said when the ships were being built in dry dock they dwarfed all the nearby buildings. The propellers were the size of windmills. They showed a man standing next to one of the engines being built and I think the engine was thirty feet tall! Thereís lots of photos, blueprints, and stories about the history of the Titanic so I think it will be great reading when I donít have my nose buried in a Javascript book. OhÖ.and by the way if you ever want to buy a book on the Titanic look in the automobile section. Silly me, I was looking in the European History section!

I has come to my attention that the other day my temp boss went to lunch with my consulting boss so I sent an email last night to my consulting boss to see how Iím doing and if the client is happy. I am looking forward to having an ASP.NET/Javascript weekend. Itís time for me to get back to my studies, at least on the weekend. No time for hobbies during 2006, I knew that it would be a study year.

February 8, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: so lost

I am SO LOST here at work. I don't know how to do this stuff and I don't know where to get the answers and whatever I try a message pops up on the screen telling me I am incompetent. Then the guy who is supposed to be training me comes in here and gives me the answers and I can't understand a thing he is telling me.....

I'm going to Barnes and Noble after work.....
How do you use bound arrays and are they dynamically re-created when you return on a postback?
How do you call a server-side VB routine from a Javascript routine?
How from the server do you invoke client-side Javascript and VBscript code?
How do you close the web form from Javascript, VBScript, and server side code?
How do you position a standard HTML control anywhere on the ASP form?
How do you do a messagebox inside an ASP.NET web form?
How to send and receive cookies
How to open a web page from within a web page using server code

February 6, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: sister ships

I was on the phone with a friend and I told him the three sister ships were the Titanic, Britannic, and Gigantic.

On the weekend I saw a movie about the sinking of the Britannic - after the Titanic sunk they added new features to make the other two ships "truly" unsinkable however the Britannic was in the middle of WWI and there are many ways to sink a ship.....even if it is "unsinkable".

Anyway, when the Titanic went down they lost over 1,000 people and when the Britannic sunk they only lost 30. That just goes to show that as time goes on we humans learn from our mistakes.

Can anyone explain to me how in the 21st century with modern commnications we can lose nearly 1,000 lives in a ship sinking? Oh....nevermind.....

Anyway, the third ship was called the Olympic and not the Gigantic. I knew that wasn't right. Lately I have been in a daze. New career, new job, new company, my former in-laws are in town because my ex is in the hospital, now I'm being kicked out of my apartment....I think I'm all stressed out. I barely know which end is up. :-)

February 3, 2006 From: Phil via Journal Subject:

Typically the first thing I do in the morning when I get up is I check my computer for the news Ė just to make sure the world survived the evening and we didnít all die in our sleep. Most mornings there is very little news but this morning a ferry with 1400 people sank in Egypt. It looked like a very large ship and it didnít sound like there were many survivors. Then I saw that New Orleans was hit by tornados. It was just a few months ago they were hit with two hurricanes so it almost sounded like someoneís idea of a joke, although a sick one. What is going on down there anyway? Is someone out to get them?

Iíd like to know who thought it was a good idea to have all these stalks coming out of the steering columns of cars that all look the same but do totally different things. Furthermore, depending upon what you do with them, they can serve totally different functions. You can twist them away from you, twist them toward you, push them away from you, push them toward you, push them up, push them down, or push them in toward the steering column. Some of them have little switches or buttons to add even more functions. Now, when I was growing up we had two buttons on the dash and they were always in the same place and you always knew what they did. Now we have all these different stalks and each one does like seven different things and there is no standardization between cars. Well, the turn signal always works the same because it was like that in the 1960ís before mass confusion set in.

To make matters worse, in my car the cruise control is on yet another stalk but this one comes out of the steering wheel so it looks just like the stalks on the steering column but this one is never in the same place, it is always moving around. I gave the Toyota sales guy a strange look and he said our engineers designed this using years of research and you will just love it. I hated it then and after two years I still hate it.

Here in the desert it only rains maybe three times a year and when it does I canít figure out how to use the windshield wipers. Itís not like when you are driving you can stop and read the confusing symbols on your multiple stalks because the beauty of these things is you are supposed to just have them at your fingertips, ready to carry out all your commands. So it starts raining and I go to turn on my windshield wipers. Iím frantically moving this lever and Iím flashing my bright lights at the person ahead of me, the windshield wipers arenít doing a thing. Then I realize Iím getting too close to the car ahead of me that Iíve been flashing so I pull on another lever to slow the car down Ė well the car keeps speeding forward but suddenly water is shooting onto the windshield from these jets in the hood and the wipers then spring to life. At least I can have a clear view of the disaster unfolding before my eyes as I rear-end the car ahead of me.

I donít know, maybe Iím just getting old but I think these cars have gotten too complicated!

SoÖ.last year I was an entry-level helpdesk person and I spent the entire day talking on the phone to customers and talking to my co-workers about problems. Now suddenly this year I am a software developer, sitting in a room all by myself and coding all day without speaking to anyone. I have done this for four weeks now and Iím starting to think perhaps I need more contact with other people. I know I said I wanted this lifestyle but too much of anything is not good, including peace and quiet.

February 2, 2006 From: Phil via Journal Subject:

The first day of another new month has arrived. Does this mean we can start with a clean slate and I can forget all my mistakes of the past or does that only happen at the start of a new year? Today I had the meeting with the president of the company AND all the service and shipping people. Every time the president says he wants to meet with me I think it will just be him but itís ALL the people who will be using the application I am writing Ė which is a good thing.

Last night was the 2006 state of the union address and the president said the government wants to invest billions in electric/hydrogen/hybrid car research to get rid of these gas-guzzling things we have now. It sounded like a good speech but we will see where this goes. I think I will start saving these things so I can play them 15 years later and laugh at their promises. Not that Iím becoming a skeptic or anythingÖ.

I really donít like commuting to and from work every day. Itís a little under 25 miles each way and itís mostly expressway and Iím doing a reverse commute so itís usually only about 30 minutes Ė not too bad. Yet, I donít like being out there on the road each day because I feel like a target. This morning on the way to work I was breezing along on a surface (non-expressway) street and I was coming up on a truck that was barely moving. So I put on my turn signal to indicate a lane change, glanced over my left shoulder, and prepared to move out of the right lane to pass. Thatís all well and good but AS I was looking over my left shoulder I realized the front of my car was just entering a busy intersection on a green light. During that brief moment something in the back of my mind said, ďYOU ARE DOING SOMETHING REALLY STUPID AND YOU COULD DIE.Ē I hate driving, I really do. By the way, no one got in my way while I was glancing over my shoulder and I did survive which is why I am sitting here typing about it.

My ultimate goal is to work at home as a software developer, probably becoming a telecommuter. I think that would be so great. That was part of my goal in returning to software development was to work at home, sitting out on the balcony with my wireless laptop and a tall glass of iced tea. We all have our dreams in lifeÖÖ

Hereís an interesting question. Letís say you are on a web page and you ask for a report of some sort and you are waitingÖ.and waitingÖ.and waiting. After like a minute of waiting do you ever think about hitting ďcancelĒ but then you figure the answer is about to appear on the screen in two seconds and if you hit cancel you will need to start all over? Do you ever think that if you hit cancel there is some magic genie miles away somewhere in Cyberspace that will be offended or worse yet angry if you hit cancel? After all, he has been running around getting all that information and working so hard and then you send the message to just forget the entire project. HOW RUDE!

By the way, now that I am developing web applications I can tell you that there is an all-powerful genie behind all this technology and he is REALLY mean! So, youíd better not ever hit cancel or he will come after you to exact his revenge upon you. You can run but you can never hideÖ..he will visit you in your dreams.

February 2, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: apartment blog

I have started working on my blog - sort of. It will be a (maybe) daily journey into the life and thoughts of Phil and what's new and exciting. Stay tuned to this channel for further details. When the blog is published if you want to read it please have plenty of your favorite stimulant available because I'm sure it will be as boring as watching paint dry. :-) I just need to write it because.....

Anyway, did I send all of you the floor plan for my new apartment? I don't know if I made this clear but this is available regardless of whether I am living on the west side, east side, north side, or south side of town. I am not being silly in picking this floor plan thinking that I know what the future holds, this is how my place will look - money permitting - once I have a full-time job.

I just need to find one where they don't allow dogs. I guess I don't want dogs because of the noise factor and the fact that owners walk the dogs and then don't bother to pick up the deposits their dogs leave behind. It's also bad.....very bad.....when I have a huge dog fight right outside my door. The dogs are on leashes but then the owners need to pry them apart as they are trying to kill each other. The sound is horrendous!

I had a meeting yesterday with the president, my supervisor, and all the people in the shipping and service departments. I did a demo of the web application I am writing for them using an LCD projector. They were all very excited about what I have created, they gave me a bunch of new features to put in there and they want it done NOW so they can start using it.

January 31, 2006 From: Phil via Journal Subject:

Dear DiaryÖ..I remember decades ago when I used to get Disney comic books as a kid, Daisy Duck was always writing letters to someone named ďDiaryĒ and I wondered who that was and why they had such a funny name.

Anyway, in this day and age it seems that TO SOME DEGREE a diary can instead be a web log Ė as long as one does not put their deep dark secrets there. Do I have any deep dark secrets?

Tomorrow I am supposed to show the president of the company what I have created thus far with this application and I thought I would get more guidance from the CIO. However, he is acting like this is my project and it is up to me how this is created, how this works, how it looks, and what I want to show the president. Itís a weird feeling, I guess it is the Phil Show tomorrow. Itís all up to meÖ..

I am now watching old Seinfeld episodes that I never got to watch. When I was single and the program was on I never watched TV because I was too busy with life. When I was married the wife didnít want to see them because she had already seen them all. Now that I am single again and TiVo is grabbing just the programs I want to see I can afford to watch Seinfeld. That program is going to be like my web log, and whole lot about nothing in particular.

It always amazes me the degree to which our society has changed in the last few decades due to computers. Now there is information EVERYWHERE and itís just overwhelming. My mother wanted me to take typing classes in high school and I said TYPING CLASSES? What are you thinking?!?! Iím not going to be a secretary!!! She said that it would help me in typing term papers and those sorts of things for high school and college and I said wellÖ.okay. I went off to typing class and now EVERYONE is typing every day of their life. There is not a desk in any office that does not have a computer. As a matter of fact, watching an old movie from the 50ís is hilarious because all they have on their desk is piles of paper and I wonder how they ever got any work done without a computer. Of course, they all had secretaries.

OkayÖ when I grew up in the dark ages a diary was a place where you recorded your innermost dreams, secrets, desires Ė all the things you would never share with another human being. You would put a lock on your diary so if anyone ever picked it up no one could get into it. (Mine was not locked but it was all written in code that only I could read.) In this day and age diaries are blogs and they are on the Internet for the entire world to read. YeahÖ.okayÖ.I think diaries have somehow changed in the last 50 years.

Of course, we spend time in online forums and chat rooms and we have blogs and at least in Cyberspace we can be whoever we want to be. It reminds me of Eleanor Rigbey who when she ventured out into public wore a face she kept in a jar by the door. Now that the Internet has allowed us to wear our faces 24 hours a day, will we start to believe our own lies about who we are? Itís just a question lurking in the back of my mind. The theory is that in the 21st century the Web is becoming so much a part of daily life that we are constantly in a role-playing world.

Okay, the CIO came here to help me with something and said my work was really KLUNKY. I donít think that is a good thing. Itís very possible that all my ASP.NET stuff is ďKlunkyĒ since I am learning this as I am going. What if when I am done with this he reviews my code and says it is all klunky? I thought I was really smart just knowing how to get this stuff working.

It is Monday and I am so tired. Iím getting better at regulating my hours and sleep patterns. On weekdays I get up at 6:00 and on the weekend I sleep really late Ė usually until 8:00. On weeknights I stay up until 10:00 each night but on the weekend I stay up until 11:30 and then itís off to bed. I didnít used to be that way but if I take good care of this body it will take good care of me. When I was younger I used to keep crazy hours on the weekend and this body was always fighting with me Ė I couldnít stay awake. Perhaps getting more in tune with your body comes with age. My dad used to get up at 8:00 on the weekend and I thought he was crazy.

Regarding BattleStar Galactica I found a discussion board on the weekend relating to true AI. These people are expecting the robots to take over and while they think it will be suicide for the human race they see it as the next progression of life on the planet and they feel the earth will be a better place once all the humans are gone. OkayÖÖ????

It is the last day of the first month of the first year of my new life as a software developer. Part of what I love about being a developer is knowing that once I know this stuff and can do it quickly I can whip up an application to do anything and what sort of power is that? Doesnít that mean I could rule the world? WellÖ..there is always the Persson Konscious Kernel to consider as the ultimate development project. That one is going to require some really deep thought. Itís sort of like a bottomless pit of thought into which you could fall and never hit bottom. How do you create an abstraction layer out of thin air? What does the ďI think therefore I amĒ loop really do? Perhaps we should call that the ďIím AliveĒ loop instead.

In any case, right now I am struggling along just attempting to create web pages. I should perhaps journal the things I am learning each year. Last year it was all VB.NET and SQL, this year it is ASP.NET and more SQL, next year I should be doing C#.NET and more SQL. I wonder where it will all end? How much will I know in 2010 and where will I go from there? I just learned today that on these web forms a totally empty textbox contains one space. I didnít know that. I was doing a test on if textbox.text.length = 0 and apparently that will never happen.

Anyway, the global competition and outsourcing craze means that I must continue to learn without slowing and to never stop. Never assume that you are on the top or that you know enough. Programmers in Russian, China, and India are also growing in knowledge every day. In many cases they are way ahead of where I am in this journey to attaining ultimate knowledge whatever that may be.

My current masterpiece is a program I started one week ago and it is now 35 pages of code. I can barely keep track of it myself, I have no idea where the routines are or how they are organized in there. They are actually located chronologically by when I created them. I wonder how many pages of code are contained in a really large program?

What really upsets me now is that I still cannot join ASP.NET and HTML and Javascript. The CIO can have the VB.NET code on the server create HTML on the web page dynamically to call a Javascript function and I cannot begin to understand any of this! When I was doing Javascript last year I could not keep track of what was HTML and what was Javascript. It just drove me crazy!

January 25, 2006 From: Phil via Journal Subject:

Todayís note will just be to myself. I have been doing so much typing to other people and I know they tire of reading my incessant thoughts about nothing. Today I will give them a break.

When in the course of human eventsÖÖI donít know what that line is from but it reminds me of another one ďIt was the best of times, it was the worst of timesÖ.Ē Anyway, here I am designing systems for this company, my first job as a web programmer and it is all rather overwhelming to say the least. Once in a while I do some typing here just to get a away from the programming.

I just designed a stored procedure that will do an inner join between two tables and will return a data table with exactly the view I need to fill a data grid in a web form. However, I now need to figure out how to give different colors to the rows in the grid and then how to click on a service ticket and pass the ticket number to another web form I have written.

Like I said, right now it is all rather overwhelming. Twenty-five days ago I didnít know anything about stored procedures and very little about ASP.NET and look at where I am today. I am learning things at an alarming rate and I donít know if that is a good thing. I always worry I am not learning things fast enough. Also, I wonder how they will like what I have created and if it will serve their purposes well. I donít want to add functionality they donít need.

Builder, tinkerer, inventor Ė thatís fine as long as I am inventing things that people need and Iím doing it how they need it done. Remember, the product must match the customerís requirements. If you whip something out of thin air that you think is wonderful it is in fact worthless if it is not what the customer wanted.

I know that I am a Junior Programmer but I still think about how easily the CIO would be able to whip this stuff together and I think about how slow Iím going. Also, I am thinking that once I help him create the ServiceTicketTracking, Inventory, and CRM systems I will be out the door because he will be able to handle it all. That is unless they want to keep me on as his backupÖ..

January 24, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: no happy medium

In this job the learning curve is so steep and I am so outside of my comfort zone. For me to be outside my comfort zone with computers is almost a contradiction in terms.

Today I need to create a whole bunch of SQL tables and figure out how to fill them with data using my program. Oh my goodness! This guy wants me to use all autonumber/identity keys so I need to figure out how to send a record to the SQL server, have it do an insert, and return the primary key to me. I never got this far last year when I was doing this stuff at home.

Last night I didnít get to bed until 10:30 because I was watching some movie (STUPID!) and this morning I felt so sick I almost didnít come into work. I thought I was getting better but if I donít get enough sleep or I exert myself the chest congestion returns with a vengeance. Cherry turnovers are temporarily on hold since I cannot ever exercise.

Okay, well it is now 2:00 in the afternoon and I was just at the CIOís desk because I was stuck. He wants me to create stored procedures to do my table inserts and then pass parameters from my program. This is almost too funny. Last year I had NO challenges at all and in 2006 I am swimming in challenges. Itís true what they always say, when it rains it pours and there is no middle ground, no happy medium. Iím just typing here because Iím trying to avoid the dreaded stored procedure.

You can run but you can never hideÖ..

January 23, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: firing on all cylinders

Itís another week. Every seven days another Monday comes along.

It amazes me that here I am doing the exact stuff I was doing at home last year. Tinkering, building, inventing. They gave me the initial requirements and itís totally up to me to come up with the screens, the programs, and the database design. How very strange. Itís like last year was a dry run for 2006. Last year I was creating the ďPersson Business AdvisorĒ and now this company is paying me to do the very same thing for them. I mean, I was doing it last year because I really enjoyed it and thought it would be great to get paid for it and here I am. How weird is that anyway?

Mondays are so difficult. I mean, what was I thinking last week and what did I do last week? It is Monday morning and Iím looking at what I did last week and itís all just a jumble. I can hardly figure out what it all means. However, I did sleep well last night and I think I am winning with this cold. On the other hand, I have not been exercising and I need to stop buying apple pies and turnovers, this morning I discovered my pants had shrunk again.

I spent some time thinking about the new apartment on the weekend. That sure would be sweet but I will only get that apartment if I get a permanent job here and itís at least $5K more than what I am making now. If I am hired at the same rate here without a pay raise then I will get a two bedroom in the same complex. The second bedroom will be a combination storage room and den but I will still do all my computer work in the dining room using a wireless desktop computer. At least the master bedroom will not be cluttered with stuff and I should be able to sleep there.

SOÖÖthe company where I am working now I get this LARGE lunch every day and Iím starting to wonder if I really even need to have supper. Maybe just a can of fruit and some apples with peanut butter? I mean I just wonder. I think having a big lunch each day sure helps my budget. OhÖ.the morning commute is good but the evening commute is not good. I mean, it isnít horrible but some days itís like a parking lot.

You do realize that with this new job Iím using all my brain power. In the old job I had nothing to do but look out the window all day. At this job I have my brain working on all cylinders and by the end of the day I can really feel it. I have to admit that I donít really 100% know what Iím doing and Iím making it up as Iím going along. For instance, on Friday I executed some command to get some data from the SQL server and when it came into my program I didnít know what data type it was Ė I was getting all these errors. Typically you are supposed to declare what sort of data type you are going to use. Well, I created an OBJECT which is a non-type, then threw the SQL data in there, and had the object display to the screen what data type it had become. Thatís cheating but I always like to think there is a way out of every jam. By the way, I thought it was a dataset but it turned out to be INT32. I was REALLY off!

January 20, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: The evils of having money

Okay, so now I have money rolling in and my life has turned around. I walked into Best Buy last night and was looking at LCD HDTV sets. I found the TV set of my dreams. It was a JVC 40-inch LCD and it looked so much sharper than many of the other televisions around it. It was around $3500 and I really wanted it andÖ..wellÖ..

This story isnít really about the TV because I was just there to use the menís room. Somehow that in itself seems pretty funny Ė just stopping at Best Buy to use the menís room. I was there because I was depositing a rebate check in the ATM next door.

However, let me tell you what happened when I was buying groceries. I was minding my own business pushing my shopping cart through the bakery section looking for cherry turnovers when this apple pie on steroids jumped into my shopping cart when I wasnít looking. It was one of those apple pies with the lattice tops where you can see the baked apples inside Ė they were calling to me. Anyway, once I got this thing home I got out my handy-dandy 25 foot Stanley tape measure and this thing is a one foot diameter pie! I didnít know they even made them that large! Shortly after the pie jumped into my shopping cart some vanilla ice cream landed there as well. I have no idea how any of these things got into my shopping cart, Iím completely innocent.

WARNING: Having money can be hazardous to your health!!

The weekend is here and I have nothing planned except to play with the cats, watch TV, and sleep. OhÖ.and on the weekends I am trying to read some documents on the theory behind ASP.NET and how it works. NO CODING because I have more than enough fun with that during the week.

Now my application is broken again here, the web page never creates the array of states and it does not populate the dropdown control on the web page with the list of states. Grrr!! Worse yet, when my page loads it does not run the page_load routine. I need to consult with Aaron on this because I thought page_load ran when the page first loaded, regardless of whether it is a postback or not. Doggone it anyway! Just when I thought I knew how this stuff worked! OhÖ.I figured it out. Each day Iím learning several new things.

January 19, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: Almost end of week!

Wednesday - Another day, another dollarÖ Yes, I enjoy what Iím doing but itís still work. I have often said that if I enjoyed something as a hobby and then made it my profession it would take all the joy out of it. Now, I never meant for programming to be the love of my life. Someday Iíd like to just stay home, play with the cats, watch DVDs and nap all day and not have to worry about money. Come to think of it, thatís what I should do each weekend.

Last night I got 10 hours of sleep and now Iím taking something called Ecanachia with Golden Rods or Golden Seals or Golden something. I still feel awful. I donít know, but someone here at work just said this cold stays in your lungs for months. Oh, and they ran out of coffee here and now Iím drinking free unlimited Diet Mountain Dew. It sure isnít the same as coffee!

This morning we had a beautiful sunrise. Iím glad this week is going fast. I always look forward to the weekends but they are too short. I donít know if I really have anything to do on the weekends now since all my programming work is done during the week. I come in each day and do more programming and I donít realize that just sitting here is increasing my experience level and making my resume look wonderful!

Thursday Ė There is always a silver lining. Sure, I need to get up early now and hit the road while itís still dark outside but while Iím on the expressway I get to see some wonderful sunrises.

I canít get over how much knowledge there is out on the Internet. When I donít know how to do something here I just look out there and they have all the reference materials and classes I need to teach me what I need to know so I donít need to bother Aaron with this stuff. When you add the speed with which I read stuff along with my memory I guess Iím all set. I can look like a genius when really Iím making this all up as I go along. I am having so much funÖ

OhÖ.so last night I went to bed at 8:30 but then I donít think I got to sleep until 10:00 and then I woke up at 5:00 and could not get back to sleep. Whatís wrong with this picture? I try to be nice to this body of mine and put my life on hold and it just doesnít appreciate all my sacrifices. I guess thereís just no justice in the world.

This evening I need to buy food for the weekend and tomorrow night that 1GB of memory arrives Ė this time the right type. Letís seeÖ.I think I ordered buffered fast-acting and it was supposed to be unbuffered time-release. I donít know, the guy said I ordered server memory instead of workstation memory. I donít remember, I guess my memory is bad. Maybe I should have ordered some for me as well.

I get in early each morning here and make the 8-gallon all-day pot of coffee for the entire company. I figure that in itself will be a reason they will decide to hire me as a full-time person here. After all, it they let me go who will make the coffee? That makes perfect business sense to me.

First they gave me a mechanical mouse with no mouse pad Ė I couldnít get the mouse to work on this conference table so I said I need a mouse pad. They said there are no mouse pads in the building and they brought me an optical mouse. However, because this table has a micro-pebble finish I kept losing the mouse pointer and wasting all sorts of time getting it back on the screen. So now Iím using a manilla folder as a mouse pad. The best laid plans of mice, men, and mouse padsÖ..

Just before lunch I sent an email to the CIO telling him the first screen in this application was almost done. I did such a good job on it Ė error checking, colors Ė I even formatted the phone number with the (###) ###-#### mask. I was so happy. Then the CIO and the president walked in here and totally changed everything. The screen layout needed to change, locations were actually customers, my SQL queries had to change, the database tables I was using changedÖ.now after all the changes my application just crashes. I guess this is the life of a developerÖ.

January 17, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: NICK IN TIME

I have decided to hibernate. This ďcoldĒ has all gone into my chest and I cough so much even at work that people say it sounds like Iím dying. At home itís worse and I wonder what the people upstairs think when it sounds like Iím coughing my lungs out. My goal is to get to bed early each night and not even turn on the TV set. Television is evil. Well, maybe I should just turn on the TV each night, check what TiVo has, tell my XP machine to download more stuff from TiVo, and then go to bed.

Last night I made the mistake of turning on the TV at 9:30 at night and that was incredibly stupid Ė I watched a two-hour movie, got to bed at 11:30 and then had to be up at 6:00. I will never get over this cold doing this.

So if you donít get any email from me then it means my entire life is on hold due to this cold Ė except that 8 hours each day Iím getting paid to learn software development.

I am doing my very best to really impress them with my thoroughness and attention to detail. I am supposed to develop three applications for them in three months. Well, from what I can see I think the FIRST application is going to take three months so I think I will be here for some time Ė at least I hope so.

Say, I just found a nic in my glasses. Is that a nic or a nick? I donít remember dropping my glasses in the last day but there is a gouge in the one lens on the outside. Itís as though some projectile was heading for my eye and was stopped by the glasses. Unless Butterscotch was playing with my glasses last night while I was sleeping. I donít know. OhÖ.I am so tired today!

January 16, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject:

I am attaching a copy of one screen I created for this place last week Ė this is a web form.[not included due to proprietary concerns]. There are a total of five screens I think in this application. This is the most complicated one. I could send all of them to you but that would be silly. The five screens took me two days to create.

Anyway, it seems strange to me that I am getting paid more money but I donít need to work as hard. Letís say I was a janitor Ė then I would be making little money but would be doing hard work. Letís say I was a helpdesk person Ė I would be making more money but would just be talking on the phone all day. Now I am just sitting here all day staring at a computer screen and pushing a mouse around on a table and Iím making even more money. I wonder how much they would pay me to just stay home and sleep? Based upon this trend, I could get rich doing that!

On the weekend I slept and did nothing Ė trying to get over this cold. It didnít work, I still have it. I donít have health insurance now so I donít want to go and see the doctor. I could get health insurance but it would cost me $1000 so Iím trying to pretend like Iím healthy but I donít feel well. I have enough energy to get into work each day and thatís about it. Even if I walk around at Wal-Mart itís too much for my body and I get into these terrible coughing spells. I have all this stuff in my lungs. Itís not a good situation.

Does anyone in the audience know anything about creating multiple panels on a web form tied together with a tabstrip control in ASP.NET? I donít understand how you can design the GUI if you have 5 panels on top of each other. The boss here does not use the GUI for web design, he does it all in text. Oh Ė I figured it out.

I think back to last year and in November financially speaking I was like a jet plane in a nose dive headed for the earth. I came SO CLOSE to crashing when the apartment complex said my rent was going up $120 a month and I discovered I owed $1500 in taxes. I hope I never again get so close to financial ruin. My parents always told me to save for a rainy day and I never knew what they were talking about. This I guess is what you call learning the hard way.

So far Iím doing okay with controlling my spending even though I have more income. Now that the money will be rolling into my bank account a container of cookies occasionally jumps into my shopping cart and a few $10 polo shirts jumped in there Friday night when I was at Wal-Mart but at least no big screen televisions have followed me home. I am trying to ignore the extra income because being a temp person means I could be out on the street in the rain again.

On the weekend I saw a movie from 1944 called ďBetween Two WorldsĒ about a bunch of people on an ocean liner that were dead and didnít know it. It was created during World War II and had to be one of the strangest films I have ever seen.

By the way, now that I have an interesting job I am not drinking nearly as much coffee and I have no problem staying awake.

I have been using the English language for 50 years now and I am still learning it. Did you know that a calender is some machine that presses cloth together or smoothes paper or something like that? I thought it was a page that I hung on the wall to tell me what month I was living in but that is a calendar and is something completely different. Sometimes I hate this language. We should all be using Esperanto, it makes sense!

January 12, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: One week

WellÖ.now I need to get into the swing of things, realizing I have a challenging job and sometimes I will just be spinning my wheels. I am going to my mentor and asking him questions about things and he does not have the answers and says he has never gotten it to work. He said if you get that working let me know because he has never seen it.


It reminds me of the first computer I ever bought, it was a Kaypro II. The guy wanted to give me some pointers on how to use it. I asked him how I would construct a 20 milliamp current loop interface using opto isolators so I could connect a teletype machine to my Kaypro II and download all my BASIC programs from paper tape. He gave me a totally blank look and told me he had no idea what I was talking about.

SoÖ.I think I am already pioneering. I mean, I am in Visual Studio and I would like to construct my pages and my controls graphically. The tabstrip control is supposed to be used with the multipage feature so I can display several tabbed pages in one HTML document. I would really rather not code all this in notepad. I meanÖ.this is the 21st century, right???

OhÖ.I am supposed to create a brand new service ticket tracking system in ASP.NET. My goodnessÖ. Everyone is waiting for me to now somehow magically produce the GUI setup and I donít even know how to start!

This was actually a totally blank canvas. They said Phil create us a system with several screens that all link together and let us know when you have something for us to look at. Then they can all look at it and say, oh no that is not at all what we want. I guess we need to start somewhere. That seems like a strange concept.

Also, this place has no standards at all, it is all fly by the seat of your pants stuff.

January 11, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: Switching gears, embracing change

It occurs to me that my entire reality changed at the beginning of the year and I have not yet realized it or what it means. This all came to a head last night when I went to bed after midnight and needed to be up by 6:00.

It used to be that I had a terrible job where I wasnít learning anything so every night I would stay up late trying to learn new things and then I was half asleep all day and it didnít matter.

Now I need to totally reverse that Ė I intend to mostly ignore my computer lab at home. I will go home each night, watch a little TV, and then go to bed early so I can be alert, awake, and productive at work. What a concept! Well-rested sponges are efficient sponges. While I am here at work (it is before starting time as I type this) I need to learn all I can from this companyís systems, the Internet, and the CIO himself. Although, he is the last person I consult because I donít want to take him away from his work.

Typically I try to solve problems myself then I look to the Internet and finally I ask him when I think Iím spending too much time trying to find the answer.

One of the bad habits I have is that if when modifying his programs I encounter sections I donít understand I just rip them out. Then when Iím running my program I canít figure out why it is acting strange. Iím waiting for him to come along and say, ďWhy did you rip out all my code I had in there that I wrote to make it work right?Ē

ďTo write server-based code for this element, it must be converted to an HTML server control. Right-click the element and choose Run As Server ControlĒ

I have NO idea what that message is telling me! On second thought, I think I will work in my home computer lab every weekend. I am really in over my head here and I donít understand the ASP.NET environment. I just found a 273-page textbook online that explains it all. How can you download entire textbooks from the Internet for free? I still donít understand how all the stuff on the Internet can be free. My parents taught me that you never get something for nothing but the Web seems to have changed all that forever.

By the way, to fix the last problem the CIO had me write some Javascript. Thatís pretty funny, because I didnít even know I was doing Javascript. After a while between HTML, Javascript, VB6, and VB.NET it all starts to become a blur.

January 10, 2006 From: Phil via Email Subject: back to the salt mines....

SOÖ.here I am, typing to you from my new job. I have decided to take a break after finishing my last task. Iím waiting for the CIO to appear and give me my next assignment. However, I am thinking of the project I did this morning and how easy it was. The frustrating thing about being a newbie is that I donít how much I donít know because until I learn everything I wonít realize how much I donít know. At my old job after 4 years I still did not have all the answers.

This morning I had to create a stored procedure and then create a web page in ASP.NET to call the stored procedure and display a report in table form on the screen. Then they wanted to be able to specify the data by date range and also transform it into an Excel spreadsheet or a report. Well, I started by cloning a web project that the CIO had written and gutting it so I could insert my own code.

Here is some code I got off the web that I stuck in the middle of my project:

    Sub ComputeSum(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As DataGridItemEventArgs)
        'First, make sure we are dealing with an Item or AlternatingItem
          If e.Item.ItemType = ListItemType.Item Or _
               e.Item.ItemType = ListItemType.AlternatingItem Then
        'Snip out the ViewCount
            Dim viewCount As Integer = _
              Convert.ToInt32(DataBinder.Eval(e.Item.DataItem, "Terminal Count"))
            'Add the Viewcount to our running total
            TotalTerminals += viewCount
            'If we have gotten to the footer, display the total
        ElseIf e.Item.ItemType = ListItemType.Footer Then
            e.Item.Cells(1).Text = "Total Terminals: "
            e.Item.Cells(2).Text = String.Format("{0:#,###}", TotalTerminals)
        End If

So I think it was a happy ending, we will see what the boss thinks. I wonder if the assignments will always get more difficult and how much studying I should be doing at home? I donít want to get burned out on this stuff but I donít want to waste their time while I am spending hours researching stuff either. ???

He wanted me to put links on the top of the datagrid so you could sort by each column but I could not do that easily Ė the datagrid was bound to a datatable that I got from the SQL server. One web page suggested that each time they click on a new column sort I should do a different query to the SQL server but instead I created a different data view and used that instead of changing my stored procedure. You can create a dataview from your datatable and then after the sort bind it to the datagrid.

Having a wonderful time, wish you were here.