Monday, February 23, 2009

My word of the day

pro·te·an (prō’tē-ən)
Exhibiting considerable versatility or diversity.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Black and White - Under 40? You won't understand.

My friend Larry sent this to me and I liked it so much I thought I'd blog it. The point is to help remember that life's most simple pleasures are very often the best.

You could hardly see for all the snow,
Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.
Pull a chair up to the TV set,
'Good Night, David. Good Night, Chet.'

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter AND I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice-pack coolers, but I can't remember getting e.coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries, but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

Flunking gym was not an option, even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.

We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.

I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

Oh yeah ... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either because if we did, we got our butt spanked there and then we got butt spanked again when we got home.

I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front step, just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that?

We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes? We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac! How did we ever survive?


Thursday, February 12, 2009

New paper and CJ Date advert

I've uploaded a paper entitled "Managing Statistics for Optimal Query Performance" that I'll be delivering at a couple of conferences over the next few months. This was a fun and interesting paper to write and I'm looking forward to actually delivering it at SEOUC, the Hotsos Symposium and Collaborate.

I'm also really thrilled that C.J. (Chris) Date will be coming to Dallas in April to teach a new course he's developed entitled "How to Write Correct SQL and Know It: A Relational Approach to SQL". You may have heard Mr. Date's name as you were learning relational theory as he, along with Ted Codd, are known for their work in the field. I can't wait to attend an event from one of the "founding fathers". I don't think it really matters what database platform you use, the experience and application of relational theory that this guy has in his little finger is likely to be more than I've ever dreamed of knowing. Check out the class and come join me. It should be a good one!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

So, I heard that according to the groundhog, we're to expect 6 more weeks of winter. Given the odd weather we've had here in Portland this winter - from more snow than has been seen in years to days of absolutely freezing temps and biting winds with sunny skies (which is very unusual for the typically grey and dreary weather we usually see this time of year) - I almost expect volcanoes to erupt (possible since we're near Mt. St. Helen's) or a swarm of locusts to engulf the city!

I think Bill Murray said it best in the movie GroundHog Day.

"Indexed" and Isolation

I've followed a blog called Indexed for some time. The author/blogger is Jessica Hagy and she gives her perspective on the world using small drawings on index cards. I think it's quite clever. She has a book of the same name which is a collection of many of her "indexed" thoughts. I like the way she makes a point in such a simple and visual way.

I was looking through some older posts and came across one called "Self Defense Today."

I had to laugh. I really (really, really) don't know what I did before caller ID and voicemail! When I see a number I don't recognize, I just don't answer and will wait to see if I get a voicemail message. Or, I'll answer but just cough in the phone like Jack Nicholson did in "As Good As It Gets". Then I listen for a couple of seconds and then hang up. By the way, this is a good trick for handling automated calls. When you answer, you have to make some noise to get the automated message to start playing and then you can hang up. If you hang up before the message starts, or if you don't answer at all, you keep getting call backs. So much for the nationwide "do not call" list!

I try to only do the cough/hang up trick when I really think it's an unwanted sales call (Dish Network for the thousandth time, credit card companies, and so on), but if you happen to call me and get a loud cough in your ear, perhaps you should call back from a number I recognize or just send me an email. Of course, if I don't recognize your email address, that message just might end up in my spam folder.

So, better yet, just drop by if you're in the neighborhood. But that might be a problem too as my doorbell isn't working and if you drop by after 6pm there's a sign that says "knock softly, baby sleeping" and another one that says "no soliciting". If you do knock and I'm upstairs, I won't hear you particularly if the TV is on.

Geesh! I suppose I've effectively cut myself off from society. Maybe I need to rethink things. Hmmmm...