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Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year, One and All

2006 was a good year for me and mine, in many ways.

To all of my family near and far, to my ecclesia here and worldwide, to all of my friends new and old, close or distant:

New Year!

Hoping 2007 will be even better, for all of us...

Thursday, April 6, 2006
Sunday, March 12, 2006

Saturday in Lancaster

Breakfast with Larry

Saturday morning I was up at 6:30 so I'd be ready (and fully conscious) by the time Larry Fox picked me up for breakfast.

Who's Larry? A voice from my past, that's who.


For three-and-a-half years I was a consultant to RR Donnelley, primarily to the facility in Old Saybrook, CT. When I started working with them, they received film from their customers, stripped it up, and created printing plates. I helped them migrate from that traditional workflow to Computer-to-Plate (CTP). By "help" I mean that I was in charge of training the employees, designing the workflow, reviewing and recommending purchases, meeting with their clients, making sure the jobs were finished on time (which was very hard to do in the beginning), solving problems, meeting with the vendors (especially Creo, now part of Kodak) and supporting the sales people.

Larry was part of the core team that was retrained in the digital workflow. I worked very closely with him and just a few others, and eventually that core group was split up across the three shifts and were able to handle most of the work that came through the department.

In early 1996, I accepted an offer to work at RRD as a 'technical supervisor'. It was a huge cut in pay (but still not a bad paycheck), but I really wanted to see the project through to the end. To accept this job I had to turn down an offer for my dream job at Creo in British Columbia. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but for one thing: Corinne was out here, and I didn't want to be 3,000 miles away. Plus, I wanted to see the project at RRD through to the end. (I sometimes wonder how I'm doing in that parallel universe where I chose the other path.) Absolutely no regrets, though: I'm happy with those parts of my life that are under my illusion of control.

In early 1997, I quit RRD. It was almost exactly a year from when I took the job. My boss (the manager of the print side of the facility, second in command in the entire building) didn't like a report I wrote and asked me to change the numbers to make them look better. He wouldn't take no for an answer, so I walked.

I haven't seen Larry, Bill, Dick, or even Art C. since then.

Larry picked me up in front of the hotel, and we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I had a great time! Larry looks good, and he seems to be enjoying his new IT job at a local college campus. He misses New England's weather, but says he's managed a lot more cycling down here than he did in CT.

I guess we ate and talked for 90 minutes (+/-), then he drove me over to the (small) campus where he works. It's brand new, and is right behind the gargantuan RRD Lancaster East plant.

Larry had three generalizations about Lancaster. I definitely agree with two of them, but I don't really know about the third (maybe, maybe not).

  1. The corn in Lancaster County is unbelievably good. It's really funny that this was his first point, as Corinne always says the same thing.
  2. There are "mountains of good food" in Lancaster, so there are a lot of fat people.
  3. There are a lot more smokers in Lancaster than in CT. That seems like it might be true, I've certainly seen quite a few, but that's anecdotal so I'm not sure.

Lunch with Clark

After he dropped me off, I worked while waiting for Clark to show up. He was driving down from Hershey so we could have lunch at 11:30.

We went to the Taj Mahal and sat in the parking lot for a little while because they open at noon. No problem, there was plenty to talk about (Clark is always interested in what and how Macrobyte is doing).

Lunch was delicious: they had a buffet! This my second or third time at this restaurant, and I'm pretty convinced that they have the best Indian food outside of India.

After lunch we (accidentally) drove around for thirty minutes before finding MacHeads just one exit up from the restaurant. I'm happy to say that their advice for Clark regarding a couple of old, dead iBooks was the same as my own: sell them for parts on eBay.

Back at the hotel, I wheeled out my bike so he could have a look, and realized one thing immediately: it's very badly in need of a bath. :-( It's only been a little over 100 miles, honest!

Oh, one other thing: Clark has an excellent car. Vroom! Like, I could feel it pushing me back into the seat like only a real sports car can. (Jed, if you read this: I said the same thing about his car that you've said about your truck a few times!)

Riding Solo

After Clark dropped me off I worked for a couple hours and then went for another ride at 4:00. The weather was fantastic again: 65° and sunny. Clouds were starting to come in from the west, but the rain wasn't supposed to start for a few hours.

I tried to go off in a different direction than yesterday, but somehow ended up on 772 again, headed east. Two years ago when we were hear in the Summer, staying at a different hotel in a different part of town, I found myself on 772 every day except when I rode up to meet Corinne at the cat show. This road really is a 'collector'!

There were two riders about 1/4 mile behind me. I kept trying to 'shake' 772 and ending up back on it again, and eventually I saw them up ahead of me. I caught up with them and chatted for a little while. When I asked about any big hills in the area to help with my workout, they both exclaimed at the same time, "You're on it!" Yeah, it figures. This is flatland!

My intent was to ride forty miles, but the clouds seemed to be coming in and I didn't want to be caught out in the middle of farm country (where I really am the tallest structure around!) during a thunderstorm. Ended up with 32.64 miles at 18.2 mph.

Dinner with Corinne

For dinner, Corinne and I had wings from Lancaster Brewing Company (takeout) and tenderloin tips subs from Villa Nova (takeout, again). Those subs are pricey, but they're really good. (Corinne has perfected their recipe, though, so I don't really feel like it was worth the price.)

Great day, and thanks again to Larry and Clark for the meals and conversation!

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Happy Birthday, Clark!

It's Clark's birthday today, but he isn't very happy about it.

Cheer up, man! It's just another trip around the sun.

We all spend our lives going in circles.

Saturday, February 5, 2005

Trackback on Waking Up Costs

I've just helped Clark set up trackback on Waking Up Costs.

This feature needs better documentation, because the RDF (used for autodiscovery) confuses people.

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