Category Archives: Friends

Getting Back in Touch/Looking for Work

There is one upside to looking for a new job, you get to speak to a lot of friends and colleagues you haven’t spoken to for some time. I try to stay in touch with people and there’s quite a few I do manage to speak to regularly (and one I keep finding jobs for and owes me more than a few *cough* *cough*) but there are those few that I have not been in touch with for some time. So, today I sent out an email to a large number of people looking for ideas/leads/encouragement/whatever and I’m getting all these great emails back from people and getting caught up on their lives. So, silver lining.

The flipside, of course, is that I am, in fact, looking for new work. I’ve had a wonderful 3 years leading the development team at Ozmott but by April 1, I need a new job. I’ve learned a great deal these past few years that I can bring to my new employers and am looking forward to learning new things there as well. So, there it is. Resume available on request, just drop me an email at Andy at the domain of this website (really not that hard an email to figure out…)

Oh, and if you did not get an email from me (and you think you should have) then I humbly apologize and invite you to chastise me in an email (where I will blame an out of date email address for the problem.)


Facebook Win! (Why my friends are awesome)

This reminds me of the truly amazing Da Vinci’s Notebook song, “Title of the Song” which is a must hear.

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Jack and Phil Crabbing in Narragansett.

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Joy and Camaraderie

This past year in Cub Scouts has been a tumultuous one. I don’t really want to go into details because there are far too many ways to offend people or hurt feelings. And that’s mainly why I’ve never really blogged or tweeted about what’s been going on. But let’s leave it at this: the den leaders got together in early fall and demanded a change in leadership to right a whole host of wrongs that had been going on. It took a few months from that point for real change to happen but it finally did. How and what is not important. Suffice it to say that the problems are now over and gone.

This past weekend, our pack held the annual Pinewood Derby. For the three of you out there who are not familiar with this, it is a race of scout-made wooden cars on a wooden track (I’ll let you figure out what kind of wood the cars are) using only gravity to propel the cars. This was our first pack event without any influence or involvement from the source of the problems and it was a markedly different event from all others we have held to date. When we met to set up up the track and the finish line software, screen and laptop and the sound system on Friday night, we had fun. It was all joy and camaraderie. On Saturday, the entire event ran smoothly and everyone had fun. There were no politics, no last-minute insanities brought about by poor planning or last-minute changes. Everything just worked and everyone worked together like a fantastic team.

I had forgotten that things could operate that way after so much dysfunction for so very long. I’m still in a good mood from how wonderfully the weekend went and look forward to what this great team will do for our boys moving forward.

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Updates and Such

Somebody took me to task for not blogging recently. Imagine that. Being taken to task for not blogging. Anyway, in the interest of not being glared at meanly, here is an update of what’s been going on lately.

First, we’re deep in the throes of getting this house ready for re-habitation. Since a week before the great flood, we’ve been staying at my in-laws while we had the hardwoods done, did flood cleanup, lead abatement (in the form of covering it all up since actual removal would be a horrid nightmare), and painting. We’ve still got a lot of work to do in the painting department but we’ve finished all of the nasty wall repair and prep work and we’re mostly down to priming and painting. In fact, two of the rooms are fully primed and the ceilings are painted leaving just wall color and trim work. So, we expect to whip through what’s left so that we can get new area rugs, move the furniture back in and be ready for Thanksgiving when we’re having a large number of family members over. When we painted our living room in Virginia, we gave ourselves a week and managed to finish everything the day of our annual holiday party.

Second, we’re debating what to do about the floors. When we started working on the baseboards, we found that putting down blue painters tape and immediately pulling it back up to reseat it pulled up the polyurethane. We’ve also noticed that it’s blistering/bubbling up in the cracks between floor boards. Clearly, something has gone horribly wrong. Perhaps the flooring people did something wrong or perhaps it is the result of the incredible humidity the week they put it down (they did the three coats the week it rained non-stop). We were hoping to have them back in to do some spot repair and talk about it before thanksgiving but it’s clear that we won’t have time. So, we’ll put down rugs, move in furniture and accept the fact that we may have to reverse back out if they need to do any large-scale fixes. Or maybe we’ll just decide to not care about anything except what’s out and visible (ie, where there’s no furniture or rugs). I figure that with a five year old, the floors will age rapidly anyway…

Third, I’ve been heading up to Boston a fair amount. Went to a mini-reunion of current and former WebCT folks, a birthday party, and various lunch meetings and interviews. I nearly forgot how much I love Boston and it’s been great to visit it. Good thing too, odds are that any job I find will be up there as that’s where the jobs appear to be. I’ve done the commute via train a number of times and already know that I am going to like it very much. Much nicer than the bus/subway combo I had to do in VA since I can stretch out and actually use my laptop.

Fourth, I took Jack to the zoo today. It was much fun. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a five year old. So refreshing. And exhausting.

So, that’s an update.

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Various Bits and Pieces

A grab bag of stuff…

  • The Friends Zone celebrated it’s 10th Anniversary last February and this past weekend had a small gathering in Washington DC to celebrate this. It was a great deal of fun and I met people I’ve known for the better part of a decade who I had never met in person before. Go figure! So, that was much fun. And I got to take some fun pictures of DC by night.
  • I was served earlier this week. I’d never been subpoenaed before and the guy who served me looked like he would have fit in far more in a sleazy casino than standing outside my driveway in my little suburban cul-de-sac. He stood there complete with mesh tank-top, gold chains, and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. I can see the lawyer spared no expense on the process server! I hope he didn’t scare my neighbors. I probably shouldn’t say much about it except to say that it was related to some legal action a friend of mine was going through which, thankfully, was settled soon after. Which is good since we had planned a trip to Rhode Island for when they wanted to depose me. They had no flexibility in the schedule as they waited until the last possible minute to subpoena me. But it’s all moot now and I’m glad.
  • I’m enjoying a free month of T-Mobile Hotspot access so while on my trip, I am making liberal use of the Borders Cafe here in Cranston, RI. If you happen to frequent this Borders, say hi. So far, I’ve been the only mac user hanging out here. And my iTunes library is wide open. Enjoy some good music. Say hi via Bonjour/Rendezvous in iChat.
  • For the price of my townhouse in VA, I can buy a split-level, single family with more bedrooms, bathrooms and an actual yard? It’s true. Of course, it would be nice to have a job to pay for the mortgage. I’m working on that part.
  • It’s nearly 2:30 and I have now completed an 8 hour work day (I got up early). So, now begins a fun weekend. I told Ann that for Father’s Day, I wanted to travel around Rhode Island and visit the places I love. So on Sunday we’re off to Newport and my favorite bookstore, the Armchair Sailor, the beach, kite flying at Ocean Point, and Sakonnet Vineyard and lunch at the Provender, nearby. That’s such a long list that maybe we’ll get started on Saturday. Monday, I’m back at Borders and back to work (and not returning to DC for a deposition, thankfully!)
  • Finally, I have recently discovered Iron & Wine and highly recommend you check them out (favorite song: Woman King). Amazing.

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Farewell Robin

robin3.jpg Robin Goodfellow was my cat from 1992 through late 2001. A friend at the time saw somebody pushing a garbage bag out of a moving car into the woods and when he noticed that the bag was moving, stopped and found three kittens inside. One got away but he took the other two. One of the kittens ended up with somebody at Dartmouth’s financial aid department and the other one came to me through my friend Sumiko. Molly and I were living together at the time (if her parents read this we were not living together, I just use that as an expression, to anyone else we were actually living together and I just said that for the benefit of Molly’s parents) and we decided he was a trickster and named him Puck. We realized about 2 minutes later that going out the back door and shouting “PUCK! PUCK!” would not go over well with the neighbors as they might not hear the “P” sound so well, so we got literary and named him Robin Goodfellow, or just Robin.

Robin was a funny cat. As a kitten he immediately took control of the other two cats, Sebbys and Tasha, who were living in our house (Walden) at the time. And they let him. This little two or three week old kitten bossing around these much bigger cats was one of the funniest sights I’ve ever seen. Robin was a prima donna and his favorite activity was looking at himself in the mirror (I also have a picture of him looking at his reflection in the reflective black stove front as well). He literally preened when he walked and you could tell that he was singing “I’m too sexy” inside his head (though, his version was more like “I’m too sexy but have no gonads so whatever.”) Anyway, he was an amazing cat and I could go on and on for hours with various and sundry Robin stories. Those of you who met him know what I mean and those of you who didn’t, well, it’s your loss. He was a great cat.

When Ann, Jack and I moved down to DC we did it in stages. First, I moved down to my friend Chris’ house and lived with him for four months while Ann and Jack stayed with my in-laws in Rhode Island. Both locations already had cats and neither one needed or wanted another, even for a few months. So, I asked my friend Annie if she wanted to take him for the four months. She did and the day I moved down with a car full of junk to Chris’ house, I stopped at Annie’s along the way and dropped off Robin. I think I stopped by to visit him one time afterwards and that was the last time I ever saw him. I never visited again and when we did buy our new house and were all reunited as a family again, Annie had grown so attached to Robin that I didn’t have the heart to ask for him back. And, honestly, we’d gotten used to not having to worry about a pet and thought that, ultimately, Robin would be happier with her where he was. So, we told Annie she could keep him.

I learned from her weblog that he died last Monday. Farewell old friend. And, Annie, I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a wonderful cat and I’m glad you got to love him as we did.

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We’ve Known Each Other Too Long

Chris Kagy and I have known each other far too long. He’s starting to really scare me.

Back in the late 80s, when I was in college, I went with my girlfriend to see Don McLean perform. It was a truly awful concert. Clearly he’d been singing American Pie so long that he could only sing the embellishments and not the actual melody. And he stopped half-way through to get chatty about random stuff. It was a bad concert. At any rate, my girlfriend had, shall we say, a distinctive laugh. At one point, Don said something funny and she laughed out loud. He stopped, looked out into the audience and asked “Did somebody bring a parrot with them?”

I haven’t thought about that in well over a decade.

Yesterday, Jack came home from preschool talking about how they studied Van Gogh’s Starry Night in school and how he painted his own copy which I need to go into school to see as it is hanging in the children’s gallery. All evening, Don McLean’s Starry Night was going around in my head and somewhere in there I remembered the parrot comment and laughed and thought, “I should blog about that.”

And then I promptly forgot about it again.

Just now, sitting in the office with all the windows wide open (on our first near-70 degree day) we heard somebody outside laugh. Chris looked out the window and asked, “Somebody got a parrot out there?”

He’s starting to really scare me.

Mur got interviewed for a podcasting article!

The News & Observer (North Carolina):

Mur Lafferty (and let’s get this out of the way right now — her actual name is Mary) scoffs at the idea that she’s a podcasting pioneer. Why, hundreds of people were doing podcasts before she launched hers. Maybe even a thousand. Pioneer? Pshaw.

Modesty is an endearing trait, and precision in language is appreciated. That said, Lafferty needs to get comfortable with this description. She’s a podcaster at a moment when most of the world has yet to even hear the term. The overwhelming majority of us are still at the point where Lafferty was on Oct. 28, when she uttered these words during a talk with a friend:

‘What’s a podcast? I have no idea what you’re talking about.'”

Actually, it was October 26 and the conversation went something like this:

Me: I guess…but lately I’m obsessed with podcasting… I get all kinds of weird stuff automagically put onto my ‘pod and I’m just starting to see some NPR stuff…

Mur: Cool! And now you speak of somethingI know nothing about.

(I log everything. It’s a sickness, I know.)

It’s a great article and props to Mur for getting the attention she’s getting! She’s got a great podcast well worth checking out.

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The No One Else Meme…

Carla writes in The No One Else Meme… about items you have that no one else I know has.

What the heck. I’ll play along:

Name a CD you own that no one else you know does: Kaserei Musei. When I was still working at WebCT, one one of our lunch excursions, I found myself going with a few others into a German sausage store on Route 1 in Peabody (I shit you not, an actual German sausage store). They were selling for $10 a CD of actual accordian oompah music. Check out that picture. You can see why I just had to get it…

Name a book you own that no one else you know does: This one was pretty tough. I have a ton of books and I know a lot of them no one else has, but they’re all boring. I mean, so what if I have a 10 year old copy of Adam Engst’s Internet Handbook (I only keep it because I’m mentioned in it) or something like that? Instead, I am borrowing one of Ann’s books since we both own everything and all that. It’s the original, pre-Disney One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. How’s that? I can be more obscure and say “Among Madmen” by Jim Starlin. He was my sister’s neighbor out in Chichester, NY and the book takes place in nearby Phoenicia (see below).

Name a movie you own on DVD/VHS/whatever that no one else you know does: Kind Hearts and Coronets: This is a wonderfully funny classic Alec Guinness movie in which he plays a large number of the characters in the movie. My mother gave this to me a few years ago and it is truly a fantastic film.

Name a place that you have visited that no one else you know has: I was going to say Phoenicia but it turns out that a good friend of mine from summer camp goes there every year. What are the odds? So, I’m going to go with the alabaster chapel in S’ant Antimo, just outside of Montalcino, Italy. This is a small chapel that was supposedly built by Charlemagne and was vacant for centuries. It was taken over only about 20 years ago by Franciscan monks from France. The interior is all alabaster and when the sun hits it… wow… it was the most spiritually moving place I’ve ever been in my life.