Wednesday, October 24, 2007

... and the hotel was great.

Clay held the IT Architecture meeting at the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort which was really, really nice. The picture above is the view from my balcony/patio which overlooked both the putting green and the South Pool. The landscaping was beautiful (obviously), the room was neat & spacious, and the meeting facilities were ... just okay. I guess it's hard to make big rectangular rooms interesting but it was quite a let down from the rest of the beautifully appointed resort.

My room was on the other side of the very large property from the lobby area. It was quite a hike going back and forth from the room but the surroundings made it a pleasant trek. I passed a sign several times pointing the way to the "Sonoran Desert Cactus Garden" before my curiosity got the better of me and I went to check it out. Wow. Very cool. OlderSon is a huge fan of cactus so I went back several times to get photos of it in different light. Glad I made the effort.

Anyway, if you ever find yourself in Scottsdale there are worse places to stay than here.

Architecture in Scottsdale

I ran across this quote from James McGovern's Enterprise Architecture blog about a tech fest he attended:
Having a conversation, even for one minute of something that isn't the dog and pony show is like methadone. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel but wonder if you are strong enough to take the first step. The journey is long and as you progress, you realize that others around you are caught in the same trap and also are struggling.
It pretty much sums up my feelings about the big IT Architecture team meeting we had out in Scottsdale last week. It was great to spend time with a group of colleagues who were (mostly) committed to looking at the strategic view of the company. A nice change from the day-to-day tactical demands of the enterprise.

And it was really nice to meet all the people I only knew as a voice on the other end of the phone. Of course I got to see the core EA team members: Andy, Mike, and Jim along with Rodney, our newest EA member from Concentra who I met for the first time. Also got to meet the other dozen or so IT Architecture team members which was particularly nice since I rarely talk to any of them outside of the biweekly conference call. Getting to sit down with them and talk casually about their work was extremely valuable to me.

I also finally got to meet Stan, the SVP I've reported to for almost a year but never met. He came with Maria, our (newish) CIO, to deliver a presentation on approved projects for 2008 and along with their vision for architecture. I about cried when Maria talked about how Enterprise Architecture was near and dear to her heart and how important she felt our efforts were. It's one thing for our team to talk about it but having the CIO in charge of several thousand IT professionals come out and say how it important it is made the 4500 miles and many, many hours of travel time worth it.

Do not attempt to adjust your browser ...

... it's about to get a little strange. I know, I'm way behind on the blog. I keep thinking I'll take some time and catch up but it all becomes a little overwhelming. I've decided to embrace the disjointed chaos for a while and blog about the present things and at the same time as I fill in with stuff that's taken place in the past few weeks. Someday I'll catch back up.

But don't hold your breath.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Your luggage may be a little delayed ...

Here's the photo that goes with the Jott post below that I phoned in from the airport. As you can see, the plane hit the cart pretty good, smashing the windshield and leaving glass all over the wing. The plane pushed the cart a pretty good ways as well so it's a miracle nobody got hurt.

The most interesting thing was how matter-of-fact they handled it. The pilot came on the speaker immediately and simply said that we would be deplaning and that those who had checked their luggage at the gate would have them delivered just inside the door. No mention of the crash at all.

We got off the plane very quickly with no delay. They brought out a stairway as we were still a little way away from the gate. And that was it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Interesting thing happened on the way to Phoenix

Interesting thing happened on the way to Phoenix. In Charlotte as we were taxiing into our gate, the plane shuddered and shook and looked out the window and our wing had clipped a baggage train and left glass flying all over the windshield. Nobody was hurt. We all deplaned and hopefully the trip to Phoenix will be less eventful.
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Unpacking Halloween

YoungerSon and I went over to the storage place to put away a couple of things from the house but also to bring back our huge amount of Halloween items. Four big bins plus several trash bags full of foam and plastic pumpkins. We do Halloween up pretty big and we've collected an inordinate amount of decorations and such.

Our discovery last year of Fun-Kins, realistic hollow foam pumpkins, was a big turning point for us. We've always done very elaborate pumpkin carvings and tried to have about ten pumpkins out for Halloween. Unfortunately, because of work, school, Scouts, clubs, etc. we were carving them later and later. The past couple of years we were carving them right up until 6pm on Halloween. These new foam pumpkins let us carve them in the evenings days and weeks before Halloween and we get to reuse them year after year.

For instance, I've been carving the same Virginia Cavalier pumpkin for years. It's very detailed and takes me quite a while to get it all carved up. Some of the cuts leave only a very thin strip of flesh to hold things together. As the pumpkin ages over the evening, it begins to sag and fall apart as you can see in this pic from 2005. Last year, however, I carved it into a foam pumpkin and could get it just how I wanted it. Better yet, it's just waiting to be put out this year so I can spend my time on a new pumpkin design.

polMom just finished a new William and Mary foam pumpkin last for CollegeGirl. She made a one with a real pumpkin last year because CollegeGirl thought that making a permanent one would tempt fate and she might not get into W&M. No worries about that now so polMom created an absolutely beautiful pumpkin. We'll have to get pics of it up after CollegeGirl gets to see it this weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Big ugly bridge will have to wait

Legal challenge puts Sunset Beach bridge on hold | Star-News

You gotta love those pesky taxpayers! Just when you thought the NCDOT has finagled the process enough to actually award the contract to build the GiantUglyBridge, the Sunset Beach Taxpayers Association and the Brunswick Environmental Action Team step in with yet another lawsuit. God love 'em.

I figured they were out of lawsuit options but apparently DOT has modified the construction plans since the last environmental impact statement was done in 1997. The SBTA and BEAT say that a supplemental study needs to be done or DOT will be in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Environmental Protection Act.

Maybe this will buy enough time for the state to realize that the money would be better spent addressing much more pressing bridge needs around the state. And we get to hold on to our little bridge a little bit longer.

Jott is very cool.

I am sitting here at lunch with Carl and Mani and we are just talking about Web 2.0 technology so I want to demonstrate the very cool technology that I had found, so I am going to give them my blog site address and let them go to if after lunch and they can see that when I am saying here right now is showing up on the blog site as we speak.
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