March 06, 2006

It's always something part deux

Posted by Scott at 09:21 PM

Mailbox - I came home this evening with news from Michelle that the door for our mailbox fell off because the hinge corroded. It's always something! Actually I'm a little sad because it was a nice mailbox. Although you can't tell in this picture, it was not a typical stamped metal on a cheap post. The mailbox is a thick powder coated, die cast aluminum model that weighs 18 pounds. This thing looked as though if teenagers got any ideas about drive-by mailbox vandalism, there could be a shattered bat and potentially a shattered wrist as a consequence.

Dining room - So I have good news! After looking at five different furniture stores (thanks mom and dad!), we've finally ordered a set for our (non)dining room. For the first few years we opted to utilize the room as a playroom. Once we finished the basement last spring and moved the toys downstairs, we discussed making it a dining room. Unfortunately once we recovered financially from the basement and the wood stove installation, we had notice that I would be let go in the late winter of 2006. Thus, we put any plans of making it a dining room until things stabilized.

With my new job underway and my folks available to watch the kids, we shopped two stores on Saturday and three on Sunday. In the end we chose this table and chairs (with 8 chairs instead of 6) and this server. The table is a bit like Christopher's. It's tall and square. It's ironic because I went in with the mindset of buying a low, long table (95-105 inches) with seating for 8 and ended up on the other extreme. We liked how a square table brought all the seats closer together. You don't end up with conversations on opposite extremes in terms of seating. We bought the optional server to give us more space nearby for holding extra food serving plates in case the center of the table gets too crowded.

Parody - If the mortifications of Lent have you down, cheer up and listen to the 50th podcast at Rosary Army. About 2 minutes 50 seconds into the MP3 audio file (fast forward if you're impatient), they play a song called with the tag line "There's a little black spot on your head today" which parodies Sting's King of Pain while singing about Ash Wednesday and Lenten observations.

Books - I got two books for work today: the Perl Cookbook and Perl Best Practices. They are both reference books about common idioms and practices of "good" programming in the computer language Perl. I've programmed in Perl on and off since my time in the USAF but I'm doing a lot more of it lately. It's the glue that holds our verification environments together. When dad saw that first title, he joked, "oh! you got a cookbook!"

The "best practices" book had this priceless quote near the opening on page 5:

“Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.”

Having worked in a role where you do a lot of sustaining engineering, verification, and support, I wholeheartedly agree!

I did get two other books this past weekend that are more biographical sketch in nature. One is an older, out-of-print book called "Basic Yankee: conversations with farmers, lighthouse keepers, maple sugarers, boatbuilders, dowsers and others". You can tell I'm not a yankee because I paid full price for it when most places online will sell you a used one for a few dollars. I picked it up at Parker's Maple Barn's gift shop. The second one is "Crunchy Cons". Both are interesting to me because in these people's personal stories, you get insights into what we've lost in modernity.

Goodbyes - As we get ready for my folks to head back to Chicago, we wrap things up tomorrow night by going out to The Mile Away restaurant. While sad to see them go, I am looking forward to that dinner!


I've made many a surgical strike in the Perl Cookbook - it's been very helpful over the years.

Posted by: Bill White at March 7, 2006 02:34 PM

Hi Bill,
Yep, I brought the books to my office desk this morning. I was writing some more perl today and already found their examples useful. We need books like these in perldoc format so that they are only a few emacs keystrokes away...

Posted by: Scott at March 7, 2006 04:02 PM

Michelle and dad looked at trying to order spare parts from the OEM. They were pricey and there wasn't any guarantee that they'd get things working again. Michelle has no intention of spending $170 to get model exactly like the yuppie one the previous owners had put in. So it looks like we'll be changing to a new reasonable costing mailbox. Despite the overall ruggedness of the yuppie mailbox, its weak link was the hinge.

Posted by: Scott at March 8, 2006 10:28 AM