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18 Sep 2015 /

New Yorker cartoon

Slightly Deflated

17 Sep 2015 /

New Yorker cartoon

There’s a lotta things about me you don’t know anything about, Dottie. Things you wouldn’t understand. Things you couldn’t understand. Things you shouldn’t understand.

Posted by on 14 Sep 2015

The Coffee Goes to 11

14 Sep 2015 /

We stopped in at the Nespresso coffee bar at Geary and Grant just before leaving San Francisco to drive back to Orange County. For the iced latte that I wanted, the menu offered a choice of three coffees ranked by “intensity”: 4, 9 or 11. The 4 seemed too low, and I saw no reason to go with the 9 and leave the extra two intensity points on the table, so I selected the 11.

I didn’t notice any off-the-charts intensity as I was drinking the coffee but it kicked in on the drive home, somewhere near Salinas. I could have driven straight through to South America, such was my level of alertness and energy.


Profiles in Management: The Jackass Whisperer

11 Sep 2015 /

Nothing good comes from two people talking about a third person who isn’t there. If your boss is allowing people to talk to him or her about team members who are not present, you have a problem. If you are the boss and you’re doing this, knock it off.

Who is worse: the person who wants to talk about you behind your back or the person who encourages them to do it?

The good boss is loyal. You can count on him going to bat for you, even if he privately disagrees with your view and even if defending you is not necessarily the best thing for him. He is never two-faced.

The bad boss, perhaps while boasting of his uncompromising integrity, thinks only about what’s best for himself. Watch your back.

Thus spoke The Programmer.



11 Sep 2015 /


“Why not?”


The Ceiling Seems Very Low

10 Sep 2015 /

I don’t know if this is good news or bad news. It would help to know what “trains” means but I read the article and it doesn’t say. Reporters need to be more inquisitive.

Can someone with no knowledge of computer science or programming be “trained” to teach computer science or programming? What would that entail? How long would it take?

Can someone who’s never played an instrument or listened to a piece of music be “trained” to teach a music class?

Can someone who’s never picked up a drawing pencil or visited a museum be “trained” to teach an art class?

Can someone who doesn’t speak Spanish be “trained” to teach a Spanish class?

The ceiling on any of these approaches seems very low compared to hiring actual programmers, musicians, artists and Spanish speakers . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.

I Think We Are Kidding Ourselves

7 Sep 2015 /

More people have ascended bodily into heaven than shipped great software on time.Jim McCarthy


On the other hand, the number of people on LinkedIn claiming to have a demonstrated ability to lead software projects to successful completion, on time and on budget, as well as the number of companies seeking to hire such people, is infinite.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Dogs in San Francisco

7 Sep 2015 /
Dachshund and Golden Gate Bridge

If you’re a dog or a recently released felon, you are welcome in San Francisco. Not only are there lots of people walking in SF, there are lots of people walking with dogs. French Bulldogs, Huskies and Pomeranians seems to be especially popular.

Until he got too old to really enjoy it, I took Lightning to the Irvine dog park six days a week (it’s closed on Wednesdays) for years. I’ve spent a lot of time around dogs, so I’m better than most people at identifying dog breeds.

We were walking in San Francisco last weekend when my wife pointed and asked “What kind of dog is that?” Before I could say “It’s a Labradoodle,” our boy said “Labradoodle.”

I must have been visibly stunned because he then asked me “Were you going to say ‘Goldendoodle’?”

“No . . . you’re pretty good at identifying dogs now.” This is a totally new talent. When he left Irvine, I’m not sure he could tell a dog from a squirrel . . .

Walking in San Francisco

6 Sep 2015 /

Our boy is working and living in San Francisco now, We went to visit him last weekend . . .

It’s hard to drive and park in SF so a lot of people walk to where they need to go. Our hotel was a few blocks from the boy’s apartment but for the most part, we left the car in the parking garage and walked everywhere.

On a couple of occasions, we met one of his co-workers walking past us in the other direction. (His office is nearby, 7-8 blocks from his apartment, but it’s a startup, not a huge company like Transamerica with lots of employees.) On another occasion, we met a couple of his college classmates from Cal sitting near us at a local eatery. This is not to mention the friends, classmates and co-workers that we planned to meet up with because they also live in the vicinity.

I’ve lived in Irvine and worked in town or nearby for 15 years and I never see anyone I know walking around the city, probably because I don’t walk around the city and neither does anyone else. Well, I take that back . . . on weekend mornings I usually walk about a mile to Starbucks for coffee. The average number of people I meet on those walks is approximately 0.0.

But even when we go to restaurants. movies, stores, public events, etc., I very rarely see anyone I know. Very rarely.

It’s funny that a big, international city like San Francisco feels more like a neighborhood than does a typical suburban community . . .

San Francisco from Nob Hill

Photo Credit: louisraphael

How Can You Ever Be Sure?

1 Sep 2015 /

W.S. Merwin

I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

— W.S. Merwin, “Berryman”


25 Aug 2015 /

Photo by Siderola

Guess what, Dad and I finally figured out Pandora,
and after all those years of silence, our old music
fills the air. It fills the air, and somehow, here,
at this instant and for this instant only
—perhaps three bars—what I recall
equals all I feel, and I remember all the words.

— Rebecca Foust, “Abeyance”

At the Kite Festival

23 Aug 2015 /

Kite festival kitefest2

EppsNet at the Movies: Strictly Ballroom

23 Aug 2015 /

Strictly Ballroom

This is my new favorite movie of all time. It has everything: music, dancing, comedy, romance, fear, courage, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters . . . vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias!

Rating: 5 stars

Strictly Ballroom

A maverick dancer risks his career by performing an unusual routine and sets out to succeed with a new partner.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Paul Mercurio Scott Hastings, Tara Morice Fran, Bill Hunter Barry Fife, Pat Thomson Shirley Hastings

IMDb rating: 7.3 (19,368 votes)

In every living thing there is the desire for love. — D.H. Lawrence

Lesson Learned at the Drive-Thru

21 Aug 2015 /

Del Taco cup

This Coke Zero I got at the Del Taco drive-thru tastes more like root beer than any other Coke Zero I’ve ever had. Possibly the guy in front of me or behind me is wondering right now why his root beer tastes like Coke Zero.

Note to self: In future visits to fast food drive-thrus, take a sip of the drink before driving off with it.

Time is Money

13 Aug 2015 /

Short histories

Amazon sent me some book recommendations, including A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by the same author. The second book costs five dollars more. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Maybe condensing a short history into a really short history saves me some time and I have to pay more for that. Time is money . . . in this case, five dollars.

A Shortage of Sand

13 Aug 2015 /

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.

— Milton Friedman

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. — Muhammad Ali

There Are Four Ways You Can Spend Money

10 Aug 2015 /
English: Portrait of Milton Friedman

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.

— Milton Friedman

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