February 2004 Archives

Sight and Sound

I just picked up a Samsung DLP 50" HDTV, a Samsung HD DVD Player hooked up to the TV via DVI and to the new receiver via optical audio. The receiver is a Yamaha HTR-5650 Receiever with a Klipsch Quintet II 5 piece satallite speaker system and Klipsch 12" 440 watt Sub-woofer that is sitting at like 10% level since I live in an apartment for a little while longer.

Now I want HDTV cable channels, at least for HBO. Also I need a better Sci Fi channel feed, it is horrid here on the apartment cable. Well actually all of the cable sucks here in the apartment complex, it is piped in from some non-normal cable company in Atlanta called Apartment Media Works. So in order to get HDTV I've decided to get DirecTV. Now that I also have a TV worth watching it is finally time to get a Tivo. So, after a quick (and uneducated) search of the web I found a Hughes HDTV DirecTV Tivo DVR .

Here is a picture of my new system.

Pinto Beans and Corn Bread

One of my friends recently posted in their blog about being rich and how he had paid lip service to being happy as long as long as his family was healthy and close by. Now he no longer merely just says that, but has established it as a true belief for himself. I have to say that I can't agree more!

My career choice was based on a decision I made very early in life. I got my first computer when I was 8 or 9 years old (1980 or so). It was cool and I enjoyed it. After a year or so I got my first modem. The very first time I connected to a friends computer via the modem and we passed characters back and forth I knew at that instant what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to make computers talk to each other. Taking it much further than the simple chatting back and forth, a "network" of computers intrigued me to no end. I pursed that as a career, not because I thought I'd get rich at it, but because it was the coolest thing to me I could think of. I never expected to be well off from the career choice, I didn't so much care about that.

My mom was recently telling me a story from not that long ago really. About 9 years ago I was thinking about applying at Perot Systems. They had told me if I ever wanted to leave the hospital I was the Network Manager at that I had a job with them. Those were the words they said, but to my ever cynical self I figured they were just being nice to the North Carolina kid and I had no chance of going to work for them. My mom remembers me talking to her about it and how doubtful I was and how much she had to convince me to send them my resume that I really could do whatever I wanted if I just worked for it. I was so shocked when they offered me a job over the phone one night, the hiring manager had never even met me before, he was just going on the word of 3 or 4 of the engineers that had worked with me at various times. Looking back on it now, I remember how amazing it was to me. Even then I didn't realize that I could be as successful in my career as I have been.

Now, finally back to the topic of being rich. I grew up extremely poor. At the end of each month my mom and I would end up eating pinto beans and corn bread and other very inexpensive food. The folks who sold us fuel oil for the furnace were NEVER paid when they delivered the oil. In general my mom would barely get them paid off for last years oil before they were filling up again in the winter. A couple times it wouldn't even be paid off yet. After my father and sisters passed away my mom decided it was more important to continue raising me full time. That meant sacrifices. Social Security checks do not go very far for a widow and her son... but I've never regretted the fact that we were poor looking back. My childhood and my close relationship with my mother is something I wouldn't trade for ANYTHING in the world... well, maybe having my father and sisters back... but there is nothing else.

So, the point I'm trying to make there is that I grew up poor. Very poor and I don't care one bit. It makes me appreciate anything I do have so much more I can't describe it. It also makes me realize I can go back to that in a heart beat and I wouldn't mind at all. If I should lose my mental capacities and not be able to function at the level I do today or in some other way suddenly find myself making much less money; I'd chalk it up to just being life and move on, while enjoying eating pinto beans and corn bread and moving on with life.

For now though, I work my tail off and I am rewarded in two ways for it: the joy I gain from doing my job and financial compensation from my employer. If I'm no longer financially rewarded for it. Oh well. :) I have to agree with Ike there are more important things in life. However, right behind those things is financial success for me... but only if I achieve the financial success on my terms and have fun doing so.

After Hours


Some folks have asked me, "are you really working when you work late so much?" The honest answer is almost all the time, if I'm still at the office at 8, 9, 11pm... YES, I'm working. Sometimes though being the geeks that we are, we have to spend some time having fun as well. Tonight was one such night. I present to you:

The Rocket Car mk I

We had a very successful "launch" and we'll probably create a little competition now that we have an idea of the non-destructive nature of the Rocket Car creations. The top of our parking garage will never be the same again! :)

Last night I updated the http://www.tp.org homepage a little bit as well as the http://blog.tp.org/ page. I think it looks a little better now. This morning I decided to read some of my friend's blogs for the first time in months. Wow. I was kinda shocked actually.

My friends and I have a private forum setup to keep in touch with as we're pretty spread out all over the world at this point. For the first couple of years we kept it to the core group of friends that grew up together, then we expanded it gradually to include all kinds of folks that we thought were "high speed, low drag" individuals. Recently there were several sets of hurt feelings when some political discussions got out of hand. Things happen, folks get emotional on the Internet, and unfortunately feelings get hurt. It was bad and folks owe each other beers all around.

So, back to my story of reading other's blogs. Wow. I never realized how strongly some folks care about politics. Being raised as I was, politics never mattered so much to me. I was (and still am) thankful to live in a country with the freedoms that exist here. Those freedoms allowed my family to practice the religion they chose and to live their lives in accordance with that. Other than forced military service during the draft, politics didn't interfere so much.

So, what I'm saying is that politics wasn't a big part of my most of my life. It is only recently in the last couple of years that I've really started paying any attention at all to politics. What I observe is folks taking stands against "people"... political "people" but still people. Being one new to paying attention to the political system I'm still not sure why folks "hate" or "love" certain politicians. When I stand back and look at it I see issues. I then rate those issues on what I find important to me, then I decide who best represents those prioritized issues. Of course, I've not actually voted or even registered to vote. I most likely will this year though because the election outcome will affect me and I figure why not throw my small vote into the ring as well since I'm going to have to live with the results anyway. We'll see though.

So, the shocking thing to me has been the intense hatred of some of my friends (expressed in their blogs and sometimes on the forums) for President George W. Bush. I really can't figure my friends out sometimes. I look at the issues and for me they are:

1) Military, Population Protection, Justice
2) Economic
3) Social, Population Education
4) Environmental

I've also list those in the order or importance to me. To be clear I think the government's "job" should be 51% #1, 24% #2, 15% #3, 10% #4. Obviously that skews my vision quite a bit. Personally I just don't understand the hatred shown to a guy who is president. I guess my friends are just crazy. Oh well, I can deal with that. I'm not all there either, but this one really puzzles me. I guess I'll just have to deal, because all of my friends are all very good people, even if they are crazy in their political views.