Day-to-day context

I realized this week after talking to my grandparents that they, and likely the rest of my family, have no context of my day-to-day life (and certainly no knowledge of my personal life, but that’s another blog post altogether).

Therefore I’ve decided to do a pseudo-photo essay of things I see and encounter on my daily life in Seattle and the surrounding area. Photos are unlikely to go up daily (let’s be realistic) but hopefully a few a week will wind their way online. I’m 4 for 4 this week so far.

Thank you Pastor Worley

Tonight I picked up a thank you card for Pastor Worley1 at QFC. It reads thusly:

Pastor Worley,

Thank you for your firm stand against the gays, it really demonstrates “Christian love” and further galvanizes real Christians in support of GLBT equality.

In appreciation, I’ve donated $100 to Washington United in your name to ensure GLBT citizens get full marriage rights in WA state in November.

Thanks again,
Casey Peel
(a former Southern Baptist)

1 Pastor Worley is the NC pastor who called for rounding up gays and lesbians in a concentration camp.

Bankruptcy creditor

Two years ago I did some programming work for an insurance broker in Denver. I created a web-based office tracking system that was the core of their business. Through a series of events, which I won’t go into here, I never got paid for the work1 and in January the company went into chapter 11 bankruptcy. Since then I’ve gotten about a ream of paper from the bankruptcy court and the lawyers. It’s been fascinating reading the paperwork and getting an insight into this aspect of both the corporate and legal world.

Turns out, I’m a “major creditor” and had the opportunity to attend the court hearings and even optionally participate. Unfortunately, the bankruptcy case is being overseen (heard? tried?) in Denver and it just isn’t worth the airfare. Frustratingly, the amount owed me – even being a “major creditor” – wasn’t worth hiring a lawyer to represent me.

A week ago or so, the chapter 11 was converted into a chapter 7. With my understanding of how things are coming out, I’m unlikely to see any of the amount due to me. Which means I’ll have the opportunity to see if there’s a way to deduct some of this loss from my taxes (which looks like it’ll be a slog through IRS publication 535).

It’s been an interesting, if expensive, learning experience. One that I hope not to repeat in the future.

Update: Looks like I can’t even write it off as bad debt for my taxes. This is going to be a very expensive lesson indeed.

1 Moral of that story is do everything net 30. Lesson learned.

Pre-announceing Mavericks

Today EMC pre-announced the new version of OneFS that we’re working on: “Mavericks”.1 In fact, the storage industry is all abuzz about it:

The last one is by Chuck Hollis, an EMC VP who blogs regularly.

If you check out his entry, you’ll see this slide showing the improved performance for 4k random writes. I generated that data for Al over the past two weeks. It was shared in the slide deck last Thursday at the Engineering Lunch and, much to my surprise, appeared on the web today (and I presume on some slide deck at EMC World which is happening this week). This is mind boggling to me. At IBM we weren’t allowed to release any ITIM performance numbers without having an NDA in place and here these preliminary numbers (it says so right there on the slide!) are getting press attention. Scary.

Chuck also talks about our new X400 platform and how it blows the socks off our older X-series hardware. Guess who generated all of those numbers for sales & marketing? Yup, that’d be me.

The other thing I find interesting is how marketing presents performance numbers and how I do. Every time I give someone a number, it comes with an entire laundry list of assumptions and caveats. No number exists in a vaccuum. Marketing, however, wants a single number. This makes sense – no one wants a second slide of fine print about how the test was run, the testing environment, client version numbers, hardware configuration details, etc, etc. But it makes me cringe when I see naked numbers — it goes against everything I know.

Mavericks has been announced. Now we just need to finish our planned execution to get it out the door.

1 Errr, maybe I wasn’t suppose to tell everyone what our internal code name was back in January. Oops!

Move over Words of Affirmation

This morning I took the 5 Love Languages online quiz again prior to sending the link to Paul. The quiz is a compliment to the book by the same name. The concept is that people express appreciation to each another in one of 5 “languages”. In addition people best receive appreciation in one of the 5 as well. Relationships are most successful when you speak the language to the other person that they most appreciate.

Despite the presence of “the L word” in the title, I find this helpful in most all relationships. I think of it as Myers-Briggs of appreciation. For example, if Jonobie appreciates quality time most, why expend effort buying her trinkets?

Every time I’ve taken it, I’ve always maxed out Words of Affirmation1 (give me a sincere compliment and I’m good for a month). I was startled to find that was no longer true. I had a tie for Quality Time and Physical Touch then followed by Words of Affirmation.2

This was really obvious when taking the quiz too (it’s only 30 questions and easy to see which answers map to which language). And it’s dead-on. I still value affirming words, but find myself really missing quality time with friends and physical touch. My friends have probably gotten more hugs from me recently than ever before — and they can expect tons more. It also explains why I don’t enjoy being alone as much as I use to.

I’m more interested in why it changed rather than the change itself. This will give me something to chew on all weekend.

1 Which I blogged a bit about back here.

2 I told Chris this revelation tonight and he laughed at me. Said he could have told me that months ago.

Papa’s plant is blooming

Papa’s plant is blooming.

My maternal grandfather, Papa Werner, died from pancreatic cancer in 2003. I remember this period in my life really well as there were a lot of important things happening. I bought my first house just months before he passed. Just weeks after he passed I met Benjamin.

After his funeral I took one of the live plants given to the family: a peace lily. I’ve no idea who gave it, but it’s been “Papa’s plant” ever since. It has travelled from Littlefield to Austin to 2 different places in Denver and finally up to Seattle. Often in those moves it had other plant company, but Papa’s plant is the only one still with me.

Papa Werner was a generous, hard-working man, loving man with a ready smile. I can still see him telling me a story, being interrupted and corrected by my grandmother, and him smiling at me with that “she always thinks she’s right” smile. I remember trips to the lake with him, early morning fishing, and getting pulled around the lake behind the boat.

Papa’s plant has had some rough spots since its trip from Littlefield. It thrived in Austin, but fared poorly in Denver — it was simply too dry I think. I had a scare last year when I left my blinds open on a trip out of town and the plant in the sun. It was a very wilty plant when I got back. Luckily after a lot of water it was back to normal. Papa’s plant is resilient and tenacious – just like my grandfather.

I never came out to Papa. I don’t think he would have taken it well. He had very strong opinions that men shouldn’t have long hair or wear earrings – and I imagine being gay would have been in his “not ok” column too. When I came out to my Granny she said Papa would have loved me no matter what. And no one knew my Papa better than she did.

Papa’s plant has never bloomed since the funeral. I’m fully aware that the plant blooming now has no spiritual significance, just all the right factors to favor that biological response.

It’s been almost exactly 9 years and Papa’s plant is blooming.

Leagues

For the past 5 weeks I’ve gone one several dates with Paul. Enough dates that I’ll be so bold as to say we’re “seeing each other” but not so bold to say we’re “dating”. (Don’t ask me to define the difference.)

At the gym this morning I realized that I think Paul is out of my league. He’s smart, funny, and a co-owner of a successful environmental consulting firm. And did I mention attractive? Actually, ‘attractive’ is a disservice. The man is gorgeous. The only way he could be more physically attractive is if he never wore a shirt again. Ever. And for some reason I think he’s out of my league. Even as I type that I realize it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

I thought Chris was out of my league when I started dating him too for many of the same reasons, but I found him to be approachable and we worked out rather well.

So maybe “out of my league” is a poorly-defined phrase for someone who impresses me. Someone who challenges me. Someone who exceeds my status quo. Maybe that’s just the type of person I need.