Monday, September 14, 2009

No go on the Math... But, actually I ended up with a bunch of math

I finally found my groove and I signed up for "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics / Atomic Physics" this semester at GMU. It is line with the stuff that fascinates me and keeps my interest. I am taking it with the intention to have it help me decide to go the particle physics or cosmology route. Either one I find fully fascinating, really enjoy learning about and would love the chance to work on directly.

So, I would expect even less blog updates than before. (Although I doubt their could be less than I already post.) This class is kicking my butt and I am doing a ton of catch-up math re-learning.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Times change

I have stopped updating this blog on a regular basis. I have decided to not pursue a MSTM or MBA. So, I do not have the need to practice my writing on a regular basis. I am instead pursuing a MS in Mathematics. I will still have to write a bit, but, at least I can break it up with equations. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We just hang it off the back of the truck... yeah... that is how we roll.

Yesterday was a very long day. I got up and headed out the door early to go take a test at the hospital. They were checking for bacteria buildup in my intestinal tract. (Yeah, really yummy subject matter) The test involved breathing into a bag once and they take a reading of my methane and CO2 content in my breath. Then they feed me a substance and they continue to take breath readings every 20 minutes for about 4 hours.

So, I get to the hospital and they check me in with five other people and we go into the test room. In the test room is a big table, a computer for the testing, the bags we are going to breathe in, some magazines on the table and a TV that is turned up really loud on the wall. The test would’ve been bearable if it wasn’t for the TV. The lineup of shows I was subjected to were:

• Good Morning America
• Regis and Kathy Lee
• Martha Stewart

The only positive purpose any of these shows provided was that it reminded me of how important it is to have a job and be employed. There is no way I could become one of the slobs that sits at home watching TV during the day. It is truly unbearable. Good Morning America had such awful guest as the lady who has some personal vendetta against the planet and popped out eight kids all at once. They also had a midget body builder on. Those of you, who know me well, know how much I was looking forward to that. :-/ Regis and Kathie Lee were just as bad if not worse. I really do not know who or what was on that show because at that point I had found that could tune out the blaring TV by preparing my final exam for my class on my laptop. The last show was hard to ignore though. Martha Stewart is an awful speaker. She said, “uh” and “you know” so many times I was surprised that nobody got up and turned off the TV out of sheer annoyance. She also stutters. How anybody can bear to watch this show on a regular basis is beyond me.

Oh… and I forgot to mention… The two nurses who conducted the test… They spent most of the time talking to the TV and the people on it. With such great phrases as, “OH NO YOU DIDN’T!” and “WHAT? TELL ME DAT GURL DIDN JUZ SAY THAT??” It was by far the most unprofessional hospital visit I have ever had in my life.

Then I get to meet with my Gastroenterologist. The lady who checked me in mostly bitched to me about her computer. Then I get back to my doctor and he spends over half of the visit bitching about the computer system to me. One, I find it very unprofessional to be taking my expensive time for a doctor visit to listen to your unsolicited office problems. Two, how does he think that sitting there bitching to an IT guy about his computer system when I am trying to get help is going to help my stomach?!? I think one thing is fairly certain about this visit… I will be finding a new Gastroenterologist. One who has a decent computer system or at least doesn’t bitch me to me about the one he currently has.

Then I show up at my government job where I get told by my boss in not so many words that I need to slow down because I am going to finish my project way too far ahead of schedule. Ahhh…. The old bring it down to the lowest common denominator. Well, I now know my plan for the next couple weeks. I will have to bury myself in outside learning. I guess I will get a lot of reading done and I will work on my Chinese.

Speaking of reading… I am reading two very good books right now. Both are on recommend from Kane. “Against the Gods” is my reading book and “The World is Flat” is my audio book. The latter is insightful and has the added bonus of making laugh hard out loud several times. I also had a funny observation about the first one. While sitting in the test room, a few of the other people had books and were reading them. I noticed that all of the books were about their respective gods they apparently worship. The book I was reading was entitled, “Against the Gods.” I wonder if they understood that it was a book about the concept and history of risk? Or did they just think I was reading a book that was “against” their book? It was the one humorous experience from the whole test hell.

Back to work…. The last thing we did yesterday was shut down and move the EMC Symmetrix DMX1000 Storage System. It is loaded with live data and fully populated. It was sitting in our old data center which we shut down at 5PM yesterday. At that moment we had the EMC tech bring the system down and we unplugged it. We then rolled it out the door of the data center and up the sidewalk to the box truck. Being that the box is about 2000pounds, 8 feet tall and about 4 feet deep, we could not fit it into the door on our box truck. So, about 10 of us got it rolled up the steep lip of the lift gate and balanced on the lift gate. We then slowly raised the lift gate to the back of the truck. Then we had a guy in the back of the box truck with come-along straps. He hooked them to the support beams in the box truck and we wrapped them around the DMX and ratcheted it as tight as we could to the back of the truck. We then took this quarter million dollar piece of equipment about a half mile down a steep mountain road with a couple sharp switch backs. We walked behind and along the truck blocking the road off from traffic while we made the 30 minute move. When we got to the new data center we went to lower the lift gate and at this moment found that the unit was way over the limit for the lift gate. So, when we tried to lower the gate if wouldn’t lower gradually and softly. It would drop hard with each push of the button. So, we had to push the button real fast many times to “bang, bang, bang” the unit down to sidewalk level. We then had the 10 of us roll the unit off the lift gates and onto the sidewalk. The rest was pretty easy and we got it into place on the data center floor. Today will be the real test… we will try to fire it back up. I have to say that I am about 20% nervous about the outcome.

Ok. I think that is enough bitching and complaining for today. I need to go back to work and continue loading this new data center. I really wish I could post a picture for this blog entry, but, alas our government is a pretty paranoid bunch… so, this blog will have no pictures of the DMX hanging off the back of the truck. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why nobody should ever aspire to be in politics in 1000 words or less

I just finished reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” (Yeah, I know… I am a little behind the times) It is an insightful look at the way human relationships work. I also have found that over the last half a year or so I have used some of the habits he discusses without realizing it. This gives me hope that he is on the right track with his philosophy. In that it is inherit to natural human tendencies. I also found it interesting that some of the topics he covers have roots in other books and writings I have read. He would be discussing a topic and it would tie in neatly with a teaching out of Confucius’ “The Doctrine of the Mean” or something from “Tao Te Ching” or another thing would relate well with the content in “Bhagavad Gita.” In short, I found the book to be inspiring and insightful. I would recommend it to anybody who is trying to work on honing their plan for their life and working on being an all around better human being.

This brings me to my observation of the day. I was watching Tim Geithner get grilled by the TARP Oversight Committee today. I was also thinking about what I learned in the book. One thing really stood out in the hearing today. These people in the government have no concept of how to civilly work with each other to reach a positive outcome. Habit 5 in the book is “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.” The concept is that you need to first understand what a person is trying to deal with before you can give them advice or direction. This isn’t just parroting what they are telling you. It is taking the time to objectively hear what they have to say and to truly understand their meaning and goals.

This was the exact opposite of what I saw in the hearing today. These committee members asked Tim to come to the hill to explain what is going on at the treasury with regards to TARP. It would seem that they would want to hear what he has to say and to try to learn some things so that they can provide better oversight. Instead the 5 committee members spend the first TWENTY-SEVEN MINUTES giving their opening statements. Then it is Tim’s turn to speak. About FIVE MINUTES into his presentation, Elizabeth Warren starts really pressuring him to wrap up. Huh? Excuse me? Why is he here? I found it just stunning. It also makes me really question what the role of this committee really is. If this is the method they are going to pursue to provide oversight to one of the biggest spending plans in the history of earth, I think we are all in for a really bad ride. They have no interest in first trying to understand the treasury’s position. They just want to grandstand and hold a court of public opinion. You would think that somebody who went to Harvard would have a little more insight into the inner workings of human relationships and how to achieve things.

It really did not get any better. Damon Silvers from the AFL-CIO (why in the hell is the AFL-CIO on a TARP oversight board? I could see UAW since they are the second most funded group in the TARP, but, not AFL-CIO. I guess the new administration has to pay back the people that put them there somehow.) started to question Geithner and he proceeds to call him a banker. There was a long back and forth as Damon tried to figure out just what Geithner does or has done all his life. What is really sad, the answer is: He has been in public service all his life. Why somebody on a congressional oversight committee cannot figure out what the person they brought to speak to them does is beyond me. Although it does take me back to that same hearing on the hill I spoke of in my last posting. That committee was overseeing US activity in the newly independent states that broke away from Russia. At one point a member had them turn around the map of the area so he could figure out which country was which. Ugh. If you were going to be serving on a committee for your country’s government to deal exclusively with a small area of the world, wouldn’t you take FIVE MINTUES to look at a map in your down time and try to learn where the countries are? God forbid you actually go further and learn a little bit about the people in those lands and where they came from. But, I am asking this of the same people who cannot figure out what the Treasury Secretary of the United States did or does for a living.

Oh well. I need to go do more productive things than to rant about something that is waaaaayyyy out of my sphere of influence. All I ask is that we as human beings try to take a few minutes each day to understand one another. I know I sure need to take a long sit-down and try to figure out these members of congress and these committee people. *sigh*