Stories's Log
This log represents the Life and Times of the Las Vegas Dude.
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06/22/2009 20:27:32
 jim  Pittsburgh Skies
06/22/2009 20:15:40
 jim  Duquesne Incline
06/22/2009 20:02:44
 jim  Duquesne Incline Area
06/22/2009 20:02:12
 jim  Pittsburgh View
06/22/2009 09:59:14
 jim  Pittsburgh - Becky-n-Jen
06/20/2009 21:04:38
 jim  Lake Erie, Pa
06/20/2009 18:34:24
 jim  Niagra Park
06/20/2009 18:30:54
 jim  Niagara Falls Park - 2
06/20/2009 18:16:08
 jim  Niagara River
06/20/2009 18:13:34
 jim  Toronto Canada
06/20/2009 18:07:00
 jim  Niagra Park
06/20/2009 17:23:58
 jim  Buffalo, Ny
06/19/2009 19:00:02
 jim  Wexford - Cabana Bar
It's not easy finding the Cabana Bar in Wexford. It's not easy to find it on the internet either. What it offers is a very large athletic club, fine dining, and a Californian styled Cabana out back. The foods is good, but the idea is GREAT!
I love it!!! I think it gets most of its publicity via word of mouth.
06/18/2009 18:35:12
 jim  Westview, Pa - Bella Rias
06/13/2009 20:54:30
 jim  Sparta Nascar Race
06/13/2009 19:17:02
 jim  Nascar Race Intro
06/13/2009 18:44:08
 jim  Pat Green Concert
06/13/2009 16:26:22
 jim  Nascar Group
06/13/2009 13:16:26
 jim  Sparta Girls
06/13/2009 11:44:36
 jim  Sparta Campsite
06/13/2009 08:01:44
 jim  Bam
I usually don't tell stories, but this one touched my heart. This one is about a deer named Bam. She was found alone in the woods, assumed to be orphaned from her mother during hunting season. My wife took her in, went to the feed store, bought some cow nipples and powdered milk, and we nursed her.
We called her Bam.
Bam loved playing with our kids and she became as much a member of the family as any of us, but Bam was growing fast.
There came a time one spring, Bam was out in the barn, just going crazy to get out. I told my wife, you have to let her go. You'll have to believe she'll come back, but you have to let her go. My wife, with tears in her eyes, opened the door, and Bam ran off into the woods without looking back. 
Weeks had gone by. We weren't sure if they'd ever see Bam again, but my wife would go out everyday calling "Bam, Bam!" while holding two full bottles of milk.
It was on a beautiful spring day, a day much like today, she went out and called out to Bam. The bushes rustled and Bam came running out of the woods with her little tail wiggling. Bam hadn't forgotten us. Everyone came out, Bam drank both bottles and we all played. She was such a pleasure. That was years ago. The kids have all gone now. Bam would continue to pop in from time to time, and we'd have our bottles waiting for her in the fridge. We haven't seen Bam for quite some time, but every now and then, we'll see a fawn, up on the hill side, looking down at us, and we'll smile. And that, is my story of a much missed fawn named Bam. - Told by a retired couple at the campround in Sparta Kentucky.
06/13/2009 00:07:30
 jim  Nascar Campsite - Night
06/12/2009 19:26:14
 jim  Sparta, Ky - Skies
06/11/2009 00:00:00
 jim  Camping near Cincinatti
WE will be camping with the gang at Kentucky Speedway Jun 11-jun 14th Busch nascar race on Saturday!
Its just south of Cincy on Highwya 71
Translation: Hwy 35 Rt 1, Sparta, KY‎ - (859) 567-3400‎
June NASCAR Nationwide Series Racing!
06/11/2009 00:00:00
 SAE   (Reply).Camping near Cincinatti
NO, please tell me it ain't so.... Car racing is scum....

Cars are transportation, not toys. Dale Earnhart, for example.
06/08/2009 20:32:30
 jim  Down by the Creek
06/08/2009 06:14:30
 jim  Dealing with a bad brain
I don't remember when my memory went bad. har har
All I know is, I've always had to struggle with ways remember things all of my life.
Take for example: when 
I was a waiter at Mgm.
I worked the Exec Station. That meant that I couldn't refer to Clint Eastwood as 'Mr'. I had to say, 'Good evening, Mr Eastwood. May I offer you something to drink?'.
I remember Seigfried sat on my station once singing Framptons "I'm in You, You're in me". I had to think about that one for awhile.
I also had the floor execs.
One was Mr Green who was white, another was Mr White who was black. So, Mr White was black and Mr Green was white. That seemed like a memory grabber.
Then there were the show people:
they would cram 8 in a booth designed for 3.
They'd order their hearts of lettuce salads, their tea with the bag on the side, and so forth.
They never tipped more than 50 cents. I guess in England, food servers don't get tipped. We were lowly scullions.
But that was okay because occassionaly I'd date one of the show girls.
I remember, I offered a showgirl a nickel for her thoughts, and she ripped me off. She had NO thoughts, I mean NONE, but the girl sure could dance.
See now, I forgot what I was talking about.
Oh yes, memory.
These days I have an IPhone. I can just take someone's picture, then email it to myself with their name.
And if someone is talking about something I know nothing about, I google it. If someone is throwing abbreviations around, I can look that up too.
Take for instance, my title these days. I'm a CE in BISD representing ADI for FI. I can't find those in Google, but I can ask and take notes on my IPhone for these things.
I think it's pretty cool. In the current world, you don't need a good brain, all you need is an IPhone.
06/07/2009 14:29:37
 jim  Check out my Yatzee Game
Look down on the bottom right.
It took about 8 hours to write a Yatzee game from scratch.
I love programming. It's a passion of mine.
I used four langauges to create it. I would have liked to use just one, but thats the way things have become of the last decade.
We were talking about new languages that have cropped up over the last 10 years or so.
I'd think most of them are passing fads. Many new languages promise to ease programming woes.
They hope to eliminate programmers.
All systems are simple in the beginning. 
Enhancements make them become complex.
When a new language is adopted, the systems have to be rewritten.
Its not the language that makes them simpler, its the rethinking about changes done after decades of time.
And it doesn't matter what language the systems are written in, ALL systems become complex. 
Programming isn't about knowing a language (I know quite a few).
Programming is about thinking logicially.
To create a system you must be able to hold a line of thought.
So I have to laugh at the people who more-or-less run to Best Buy and purchase packages that promise to eliminate programming !
Imagine how that might work:
A manager clicks a picture of an ATM and drags it over to a new Bank, and the programming is done. Maybe that will work someday. LOL!
Imagine now that the manager wants to trade stocks on the ATM, or add a donation, or whatever, and there isn't an option for it in his package.
Its the same old story. You can't update the package by simply hiring a programmer.
EVERYTHING has to be written from scratch, or the manager will have to pay extraordinary amounts of money to get the package enhanced.
What I'm saying is, you can't create a system without thinking.
A lot of places I've contracted with have off the shelf packages that they've forced on their workers.
We may deal with 10 packages, just to accomplish a simple task, like adding time to our time sheets.
And I think this may be where America has gone wrong.
Greatness doesn't happen by simply throwing money at something.
You have to plan and you don't need a plan for how to plan. You simply have to think.
06/02/2009 18:30:23
 jim  Cranberry Fun Center
06/01/2009 20:07:14
 jim  Brusters Ice Cream...
06/01/2009 20:03:40
 jim  Allegheny
One of the things that really fascinates me about West Allegheny is that it has the second best view of downtown Pittsburgh, and the buildings are falling apart. I'm surprised the wealthy people haven't discovered its vista and rebuilt this area into something very spectacular. I saw people sitting two couches suited for the dump, houses falling apart, and the only business seemed to be a place to buy lottery tickets.
06/01/2009 18:57:38
 jim  Allegheny Tavern
05/27/2009 09:56:38
 jim  Life in the Jungle
05/25/2009 12:01:04
 jim  Cleveland, Oh - Rib Cookoff
05/25/2009 08:49:16
 jim  Cleveland-Statues
05/24/2009 21:59:58
 jim  Cleveland - Walking Around
05/24/2009 21:38:38
 jim  Cleveland - Vampires
05/24/2009 20:54:50
 jim  Cleveland, Oh - City
05/24/2009 19:54:16
 jim  Cleveland - 4th Street
Once again, 4th Street "Live" is the place to be. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in downtown Cleveland (off of Euclid and 4th Street). I thought it might be a good place to hang because there was a House of Blues near it.
The hotel, ahhhh, it was old, stylish,
and classy. Our room was larger than our apartment. It had a jaccussi bathtub and a very comfortable bed.
Right down the block, on 4th Street, there were maybe six bars. Curiously, and sadly, they were all sports bars, so Becky and I didn't do any dancing (in public that is). We dance a lot, but nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to see us.
05/24/2009 19:46:04
 jim  Cleveland LakeErie Dock
05/24/2009 19:21:08
 jim  Cleveland - Edgewater Park
This guy just couldn't get it up.
He tried and tried.
I asked him if I could give him a hand.
He said, "Can you cut this grass". 
I've changed my mind about wanting a paraglider. Everywhere I see one of these (San Diego, Seattle, Cleveland), people seem to be struggling to launch.
I think I'll just save my $2,500
and buy a $2 kite.
05/24/2009 14:48:12
 jim  Cranberry Ichiban
05/24/2009 05:51:42
 jim  The rules for contractors
- If you have a S-Corp, go 1099. You'll have more write offs and will pay almost half in taxes.
- If  you can go W4 and you live out of state, get your contract amended to include Per Diem as part of your wage.
Never fall in love with a contract.
Outsiders usually know whats going on inside your company before you do.
Insiders may know whats going, but will be reluctant to talk about it.
Reviewing Monster and Dice will tell you a lot (query your position and area). Company websites often tell you a lot.
In this information age, truth can be extrapolated from bits and pieces collected through various resources.
In most cases, contractors are frowned upon
It looks like they draw more income, which isn't true.
Full Timers and Salaried Workers may do better than Consulants, even though they make less.
Judging income by looking at hourly wage is a bit bone headed.
A full timer at $30 an hour may end up doing better than a contractor at $40 an hour.
- In most cases, contractors usually don't get paid a vacaton, sick days, employer matched 401k's, and worst of all group health insurance
- 1099 Contractors pay full state taxes, FICA, health insurance (if they can get it) and may have to pay unemployment insurance and workmans compensation.
- The big perk for being an hourly contractor is, you get paid for every hour you work.
Salaried employees often work 60+ hours a week, uncompensated.
I think in general, if you are a programmer, there are no stable positions.
Unless you move up the ladder, you are expendable.
Since outsourcing became popular in the 90's, both salaried employees and consultants have become major targets of budget cuts.
- I've seen situations where almost all of the salaried programmers were laid off, and the contractors were kept.
- I've seen situations where an entire floor of an apartment building was rented to house foreign contractors for an all expense paid contract. 
These foreign contractors make far less in wages. Often, they send most of what they make back to their families. Its almost impossible for natives to compete with that.
However, with the rise of foreign contractors, comes the rise of communication failures. I believe Business Analyst have become popular for that reason.
For these reasons, with management overloading, what used to take a week to impliment, may now take 6 months.
Plus, unlike 10 years ago, when I had one boss, I now have many.
It is important to maintain a network of contacts
Whether salaried, full time, or contracting, everybody is subject to the ax.
In the end, maybe half of the people I've known end up on the street.
The best thing you can do to remain stable is to find a niche.
I think that in the struggle for management to quantify what programmers do
- the cost has been dead paperwork
- documention that no one looks at
- meetings that sometimes involve over 100 people most of which don't have a clue about what is going on
- Constant updates of your status
- Paranoid procedures have been developed. Often, security procedures are created by people who do know the application.
The following is a good story to share.
I made an error, or so it would seem. I wasn't allowed to see productions configuration until implementation day. Its configuration was different than our test system.
I could have fixed the configuration in one minute, but instead, I had to back my programs out and do a workaround. That took 3 months.
I got a black eye for that, but I don't blame myself. I blame poorly designed management procedures and horrible security implementations. To much management means slower responses. Too much security may mean months of red tape to cut through.
05/23/2009 10:04:58
 jim  Ground Hog Day at the Apartment

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