Monday, September 30, 2002

Updated Update: I just got a call from Netpro. As I anticipated, they're not going to make me an offer. My friend Larry was very gracious about it. I feel a little awkward, as if I put him on the spot, which wasn't my intent. Anyway, since I expected it it hasn't rocked my world or anything.

Also, I just got a call from TCI Solutions. They want me to come in Wednesday morning to meet with one of their team leads that I didn't meet before, and then their CTO is going to take me to lunch. This looks very positive. I wish it were tomorrow! Oh well.
Two more priests from the Diocese of Tucson have been accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. One of them was at a parish not too far from here. I had heard rumors about him, mostly that he was an alcoholic but never anything like this. He has been suspended, and the other priest accused died 5 years ago. Dear Lord, how many more will there be?
There's more than one Catholic-in-training in the blogosphere. Check out Joe Convert's blog. Unlike Sean Roberts, "Joe" is coming from evangelical Christianity.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Eeep! Apparently potato chips and french fries have a carcinogen in them! For someone who loves starchy stuff like I do that is an issue. Fortunately, there's progress: Scientists identify carcinogen clue.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

I went to the Arizona - North Texas football game tonight. It was a good game, much closer than it should have been. North Texas played really well and for much of the game it seemed like they were moving the football at will. The Wildcat defense was able to make some key plays, though, and North Texas had some very costly turnovers, so we hung on to win 14-9. Next week we're playing Oregon -- we'll have to play a lot better than tonight to have a chance against them.

After the game I followed the band over for their post-game concert on the steps of the Admin building. They've been doing these "victory concerts" for a few years now. They play a few songs and then the bell from the USS Arizona (which hangs in the Student Union bell tower) is rung. It's pretty neat. The band (the Pride of Arizona) bills itself as an "alternative music marching band" and it's true. Tonight they played the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I really enjoy them, they are great. I can't imagine have a marching band that does "ordinary music" after having listened to the Pride all these years -- I guess I'm spoiled.
My e-buddy ElfGirl should like this one -- Slashdot is polling geeks on their favorite US city. So far San Francisco is winning.
For those who have not seen it, here is Bishop Wilton's letter to President Bush on Iraq (Bishop Wilton is President of the US Bishops' Conference). This letter is on behalf of the Administrative Committee of the US Bishops. I've not heard anything from my own bishop on this matter.
YAY! After letting it bug me for ... weeks, I think, I finally went down to the hardware store and spent the $2.46 I needed to fix my toilet so it wouldn't leak. Ah, what a relief! For some reason doing these simple kinds of things is very daunting for me. I've been finding, though, that the more of them I do the better I am, and the more confident. That doesn't surprise me, really. But inertia is hard to overcome sometimes.
If things like this don't scare you, they should -- Turkey seizes weapons-grade uranium.

Update Turkey now says the amount of uranium is far less than previously thought.
My friend Tim teaches 7th and 8th grade CCD at my parish. He's going to Rome for the canonization of Bl. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. He's asked me to teach his classes 10/5 and 10/12, so I sat in today to learn where they are and so forth. They are learning about the Church. Fortunately it's a relatively small class (12 or so) and they are mostly alert and awake. I think it will be fun, and a definite change from teaching adults as I do in RCIA.

When I was outside the house just before noon, I could hear the UA marching band practicing for tonight's halftime show (UA plays North Texas tonight). I really love living close enough to campus to be able to hear them. It just makes me feel good.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Curiouser and curiouser.... I called TCI Solutions today and asked them about the schedule. They said that they wanted me to meet the CTO (Chief Technical Officer, or Chief Technology Officer) and perhaps some others, and that this was something they had to do for senior positions. I didn't think too much about it until I went back to their website and noticed that one of the positions they are listing as open is for "Director of Quality Assurance". This is interesting, since the job title I was given for the first person I interviewed with last week was "Director of Quality Assurance and Customer Service." So.... either 1) She's left the company (unlikely, since she was copied on the email I got yesterday), or 2) she's been promoted, or 3) they have split the QA and CS functions and she's taking CS. This could be very, very good (if they are considering me for the Dir of QA position) or kind of bad (if they aren't, they may be reluctant to do any hiring until a Dir. of QA is hired). Hmmm....
Here's a gool article on The BSDs: Sophisticated, Powerful, and (Mostly) Free.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

I had my Netpro interview this morning at 10. It's a small office (5 people), so I met with everyone at various times. I was there for about an hour. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm a good fit for what they are looking for so I doubt I'll get an offer.

The Raytheon interview at 4 p.m. went much better. I met with 4 of their people, and it was pretty positive. They didn't really ask me that many questions -- I think they'd asked most of them in the phone interview. They did ask a few questions about how I'd handle some sample situations, and they explained a lot about the various groups they have. I should hear from them next week.

When I got home tonight there was an email and a voicemail from TCI Solutions, saying they'd like me to come back in to meet some other folks that I didn't meet on Wednesday. I emailed them back and I'll call tomorrow, I just thought that pretty strange.
The RC5-64 challenge has been completed! The project took 1,757 days and involved, no joke, 331,252 people. The winning key was apparently found by a P3-450 in Tokyo. I myself had several machines working on this challenge. It's a great example of distributed computing at its most basic.
From Slashdot -- Robert Lucky reflects on the Future of Engineering. Is the future bestselling software "Engineer-In-A-Box"?

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

I had my interview this afternoon at TCI Solutions. I got there at 1 and I was there until about 4:15. All in all, it was a very enjoyable interview. I met about half their QA team, their QA Director, as well as one of their software architects (lead developers) and their documentation lead. I felt very relaxed, comfortable, and competent -- a great feeling for an interview. I wasn't nervous at all. All in all I think I impressed them with my knowledge and forthrightness. For my part I thought they seemed like a good bunch of folks to work with. The Director seemed very intelligent but not at all proud. I think I'd be quite comfortable reporting to her. The company is privately held and has some venture capital. They are currently about 150 people total.

Tomorrow I have my Netpro interview at 10 a.m. I also got a call from Raytheon today, I have an interview with them tomorrow as well (!) at 4 p.m. So tomorrow will be a busy day! I'm going to see Arizona Theater Company's production of "Much Ado About Nothing" tonight, with my friend Mary. It should be a lot of fun!
Tony Blair makes the case for war against Iraq.
I couldn't sleep, so I was surfing the web and listening to the LA Master Chorale's recording of Morten Lauridsen's works -- particular "O Nata Lux" from Lux Aeterna as well as his "O Magnum Mysterium." I love Lauridsen's works, but especially "O Nata Lux". The Lane Justus Chorale performed it in ... 1999 or 2000, I don't remember. It's a compelling mix of savage tenderness and utter transcendence. We performed it at our April end-of-year concert; it was one of those rare moments when the choir performs a piece the absolute best it can at the concert (instead of in rehearsal before, as so often happens). I remember looking at my fellow choir members as we were singing; many were weeping. I was weeping, too. I looked out at the audience, and saw many of them were weeping as well. That is the power of music.

O nata lux de lumine,
Jesu redemptor saeculi,
Dignare clemens supplicum
Laudes preces que sumere.
Qui carne quondam contegi
Dignatus es pro perditis.
Nos membra confer effici,
Tui beati corporis.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Tonight at our Living Stones class, Bishop Kicanas (he's our new coadjutor bishop for the Diocese of Tucson) came to talk to us about his vision of lay ministry and the Church. It was particularly interesting since he's been involved at the national level in promoting lay ministry for quite some time. He's a real blessing to us, and he gave us a lot to think about. I'll try to blog about some of the more interesting points tomorrow.


I had a call from Netpro this morning, they want me to come in for an interview Thursday morning at 10!

Monday, September 23, 2002

Just got home from Collegium Musicum rehearsal. We had a pretty good rehearsal. For our 10/27 concert we are doing five pieces from the English Renaissance, plus some secular music that we've only briefly looked at. The good news is that the five pieces (they're not easy!) are in good shape.

Before rehearsal I walked over to 5:15 Mass at the Newman Center; on the way over I spotted my friend Sharayah stopped at the light at Speedway and Campbell. I said hi briefly and asked her to call me. I called her when I got home from rehearsal and we talked for about a half hour. It's good to touch base with old friends.
Today's been a nice day. I had lunch with my friend Alex; we went to Rosa's (yum!). Alex is one of the brightest people I know, and his beautiful wife Zoe is another. Some people would call them DINKs (double income, no kids), but I'd rather call them DDNKs (double doctors, no kids) or DGNKs (double geniuses no kids). Alex has his Ph.D in Economics and Zoe is an MD. I met them when we were all in grad student government together. Alex and Zoe live in Phoenix now, she's finishing up her residency. Alex was working for Amex but got laid off; he's now teaching at UA as an adjunct and also working as a "wealth management consultant" which is like a financial planner only for people with a lot more assets than I.

After lunch I took myself to the matinee of Good Girl, with Jennifer Aniston. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the previews, but it is a pretty good movie. Aniston is really terrific. It's a movie about life and despair and the crazy things lack of hope can make us do. It's also about secrets and how they can twist and warp our lives, and about knowing ourselves. I recommend it. For myself, though everyone has secrets I try to live a relatively open life (hey, I have a blog after all!). That's not to say I don't have secrets, but they aren't many.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

I don't remember if I've blogged before about the dangers of cohabitation. Anyway, here's a link to a Rutgers Marriage Project report on the subject. Good stuff. Here's a sample:

"...a careful review of the available social science evidence suggests that living together is not a good way to prepare for marriage or to avoid divorce. What’s more, it shows that the rise in cohabitation is not a positive family trend. Cohabiting unions tend to weaken the institution of marriage and pose special risks for women and children."
I came across this Dave Barry article about the heroes of Flight 93. It's worth reading, and worth remembering.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

I've written up the 2002 - 2003 RCIA Schedule for Ss. Peter and Paul.


This afternoon at 2 p.m., my goddaughter, Isabel Elizabeth James, was baptized!
The Tucson-Pima Public Library is sponsoring a One Book/One Community project. The point of the project is to get everyone in the community to read a particular book in the month of October and then discuss it. The book in question is Rudolfo Anaya's book, Bless Me, Ultima. Check it out!

Amy Welborn has banned me from her blog!

Yep, apparently she did not like my comments (now deleted) taking her to task on her comments here. Her explanation is here. I sent her the following email:

Dear Ms. Welborn,

You have banned me from commenting on your blog, as is certainly your right. I'd have appreciated a note to that effect. In any case, I'm surprised that you claim that the people you banned were referring to others in personally disparaging ways, since while I certainly disagreed with you (I believe I referred to your conflation of the Cathedral and the Archdiocese's budget troubles as "a cheap shot" and suggested you should have known better) I didn't personally disparage anyone, nor did I intend to. I certainly do apologize if you felt I personally disparaged you, it was not my intent. In any case given your post claiming not to care what people say about you, I'm definitely confused.

To get to your larger point, I lived in the Archdiocese of LA for 6 years. I can tell you that the Cardinal (even before he was a cardinal) did a lot for the prolife movement in the time I lived there. He also, if I'm not mistaken, served as head of the US Bishop's pro-life committee for several years. He personally led the Helpers of God's Precious Infants in saying the rosary at abortion clinics, and encouraged his auxiliaries to do so as well. So I think you are wrong about him on that point. Furthermore, the money for the Cathedral was raised before it was constructed, and long before the current budget troubles, which as another person noted, are due to the downturn in the stock market. Finally, there is and always has been a big difference between capital budgets and operating budgets. It's one thing to raise a large amount of money for a one-time expense, it's quite another to raise anything approaching that on a yearly basis. I think your criticism is unfounded and unfair, and worse yet, poorly reasoned.


Gordon Zaft

Friday, September 20, 2002

Thursday, September 19, 2002

In response to the recent coverage of the 20th anniversary of the emoticon ":-)" and others, Brian Dear has posted Smileys and Emoticons on PLATO in the 1970s. I have to say the only one I remember using (mid and late 80s) is the the VICTORY one.
Tonight at RCIA we talked about Jesus. My teammate Marilyn talked about Jesus as people encountered him in the Scriptures, and then I talked about Jesus from a theological aspect. We talked about Jesus as:

  • true God and true man
  • the Christ, the Messiah
  • the Lamb of God
  • the Word
  • the Savior
  • the Lord

And several others... it was a good class, and some good questions were asked.
CNN reports a possible scientific explanation for out-of-body experiences.


I just got an email from TCI Solutions, they want me to come in for a face-to-face interview next week. They're saying it will take 4 hours(!). Update! The interview will be Wednesday 9/25 at 1 p.m.
I was all set to go to bed when I checked on ElfGirl's blog. I'll quote at length:

But I think I've been a situationalist since I was a kid. I remember sometime in grade school, I'm thinking 4th grade but I'm not sure, a teacher asking the glass what we would do if someone were to break into our house, and there was a gun near by. Would we shoot the person in self defense and be justified? Would we not shoot the person because killing is wrong? Was there such a thing as absolute law. She then went around and asked everyone in class what they would do and why. This is the kind of exercises you get in class when you're taught by ex-hippie liberals.

I don't remember what anyone else said, but I do remember very distinctly what I said. I told her that there was no such thing as absolutely right or bad, that it all depended on the situation, that there was no such thing as black and white and life was all different shades of gray. I remember my teaching looking at me, and telling me that I was a situationalist.

How I became a situationalist is a mystery to me. When I look over at my education, I was definitely taught from a very young age to always question authority, to never take anything at face value, to always study and learn before making any kind of judgement. That it was my responsibility as an educated person, to use my mind and my intellect to navigate my way through life. Strange huh? Were other people taught this? That education was valuable, that learning was life long process and that one should never stop learning. Blame my idealist, ex-hippie teachers for this.

This is indeed classic post-modern relativism. Not surprisingly I don't believe in relativism, since I believe relativism to be inimical to Christian faith. Relativism's classic statement is "that's true for you, it's not true for me." Such statements are really a denial of the existence of truth, and reduce reality to perception. My thought experiment (alas, I'm too kind to do it in person) would be to punch such a person in the nose. If they object, I would tell them that in my reality it's not a problem.

Seriously, though. How can one claim to accept the teachings of the Bible (for example, the 10 Commandments) if they are situationally interpreted? Is murder wrong for some people but not others? Does God exist and not exist at the same time depending on whether people believe in Him or not? Christ is either present in the Eucharist or He is not; if He is you should adore Him there, if He is not, you must not adore the Eucharist since it would be idolatry.... either way you have a real choice to make.

Furthermore, relativism would seem to undermine, if not deny, the entire notion of Heaven or Hell. After all, if there is no absolute right or wrong, if God's will is unknowable, then we cannot be held accountable for not knowing it. Furthermore, it would be most unfair of God to punish some and reward others for the same actions.

In regard to the last paragraph, questioning authority is an outgrowth of the Protestant Revolt/Reformation and the "Enlightenment." It's ironic since the Church always had a love of learning (the great universities were all founded by the Church!). Questioning authority comes out of the idea that we have to find Truth for ourselves, we can't count on others -- similar to Protestantism's claim that every man should be his own interpreter of Scripture. Of course it is not possible for most people (even college educated ones) to question authority on everything. How many people can deal with quantum mechanics, evolution, psychology, philosophy, theology all at once? No one. There are only three ways to know something: 1) direct observation, 2) revelation by authority, or 3) logic based on 1) or 2). Most of us must take many things as revealed by authority -- for example, all of history. This is perhaps Protestantism's biggest lie, and Achilles heel -- that we should interpret Scripture for ourselves. I know people who've tried to do that. What often happens is that they are intimidated by their pastor into accepting his interpretation, or, they are encouraged to leave. That's part of the reason that there are more than 20,000 Protestant denominations, most claiming to be "Bible based."

Having said all this I have to make clear that I'm not trying to knock ElfGirl in the slightest -- she's just being honest about where she is coming from. Furthermore, I probably agree with her more than it might seem from what I've written above in that I firmly believe that education is precious, and that learning is a lifelong process. And it's certainly good to know the biases and background of the authorities that you accept. Also I should make it clear that while I believe that truth is absolute and knowable, I do understand and accept that our understanding of it grows and changes as we progress in our own understanding. That doesn't mean the truth changes, anymore than the Earth started orbiting the Sun (and not the other way around) when Copernicus began to believe it did. A good example of this is the whole "wave theory of light" vs. "particle theory of light" debate that took place in the early 20th century. Many people thought that light was some kind of wave, then further experimentation showed that it seemed to behave as some kind of particle. Many people who've not studied physics much get really hung up on this and want to know whether light is a wave or a particle. The answer is that those are both models that are useful at times, but light is not a wave or a particle, it's what it is and we use whatever model applies best. The truth of the issue has not changed but our understanding has (and may yet again).

I should probably say more but I'm really tired and I'm probably not very coherent, so I'm going to bed. Worthwhile reading by someone far brighter than I am: Pope John Paul II's Fides et Ratio and Veritatis Splendor.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

As I was excavating my dining room table today, I uncovered a birthday card from my insurance agent. One of the items on it was a comparison of living expenses in 1963, when I was born, and now. Some excerpts, with my calculation of the increase:

3-Bedroom Home$14,850$149,16510.0x
Average Income$6,249$38,5006.2x
Price of a new Ford$2,504$21,0008.4x
Gasoline, 1 gallon$.30$1.545.1x
Bread, 1 pound$.22$1.034.7x
Milk, 1 gallon$1.04$2.842.8x
1st Class postage$.05$.377.4x

This is really worth considering. Housing has gotten much more expensive than 1963, and so have cars. On the other hand staples like bread, and milk, and even gasoline have gotten less expensive.
Since I know you are all fascinated, I'll point out that I've updated my thesis page. It now has PDF versions of both my thesis and the article I presented at SCI 2002 that was based on it.
Update I just got done with my phone interview with Raytheon. All in all I'm not sure what to make of it. This position is in their IT group and it's heavily Oracle and SAP driven -- stuff I know very little about. I get the impression I'm rather over- and under-qualified at the same time (after all I DO have a Master's degree!). Indeed, if it weren't for the fact that there were 3 people on this conference call I might have thought it was just a courtesy interview. Based on that, though, I think they are seriously considering me, which is a plus. Actually it sounds like they have some fun stuff to play with, it could be a lot more interesting than it seems at first glance. They said I should hear back from them Monday or Tuesday as to whether I'll get a face-to-face interview.
On Monday I had blogged that Canon 827 requires textbooks used for RCIA to have an imprimatur. I checked with my pastor (who is a canon lawyer) and he says "827 as I was taught it would not require it. What it is talking about is the text for the teachers." So I guess I'm wrong, my apologies.

On another note, I went to a job fair down at the convention center this afternoon with one of my ex-coworkers. There was nothing there, indeed, there were only two software companies (Intuit and Misys) and I've already applied at both anyway. Oh well.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Elf Girl had mentioned to me that the SF Chronicle was accepting 9/11 stories and posting them on their website (Elf Girls' is here). Bo and lehold, I happened to go looking, and mine is published too: SF Gate: 9/11 Stories
Well, I didn't get picked for a jury. I did go up to a courtroom and have a chance at being picked, but I wasn't in the first group and didn't get shuffled in after the many defections. So then I waited around for another hour or so and they sent me home. Whee!

Monday, September 16, 2002

Sean Roberts, St. Blog's resident catechumen, has blogged about his first RCIA class meeting. Unfortunately, one of his texts for the class appears to be Wilhelm's Christ Among Us. The book is somewhat notorious in that its imprimatur was withdrawn due to the many deficiencies in the text. Canon 827 requires that catechetical texts have to have an imprimatur.

It would also appear that his RCIA program may be somewhat light on catechesis. That's really bad. Catechumens have a right to be taught the teachings of the Church so that they know what they are getting into. In fact the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults #78 states:

"The instruction that the catechumens receive during this period should be of a kind that while presenting Catholic teaching in its entirety also enlightens faith, directs the heart toward God, fosters participation in the liturgy, inspires apostolic activity, and nurtures a life completely in accord with the spirit of Christ." (emphasis added).

Thanks to The Lady of Shalott for this link on the legal aspects of the Rose-Johansen dispute: Rod Dreher on Internet & Libel . It's a good cautionary tale for all bloggers. Johansen is being sued for defamation by Rose because of Johansen's critique on his blog. It's probably worth being a little more cautious when one blogs.

Correction As was pointed out in the comments, Rose has not actually sued Johansen at this time. He has threatened him with legal action. Thanks to Lane Core for the correction.

Collegium Musicum rehearsal tonight. The group is really starting to come together, and we are sounding much, much better. It also helps that I've adjusted to Dr. Brobeck's conducting style! The only real problem now is that we are somewhat short on tenors so I am singing tenor on some six-part stuff. Oh well!

On a very encouraging note, when I came home there was a voicemail from a guy at Raytheon that has an IT opening, he wants to phone interview me on Wednesday! I'm psyched! Things are starting to happen... Also a voicemail from my friend Mark, he wants to take a Parks and Rec Spanish class with me on Wednesday evenings. I think I can do this. Way cool...

Well, my number has come up. I have to report for jury duty tomorrow. Actually, I don't mind; I certainly have the time (!) and it could be worse -- most groups have to report at 7:30 a.m., my group has to report at 9 a.m. I've served on juries twice before so I know the drill. I wouldn't be surprised at all if I get picked. The way it works in Pima County is that you have to show up for one day. If you are not picked that day you go home and you're done for the year.

Job Update

I had my phone interview with TCI Solutions this morning. I think it went pretty well. We talked for about an hour, I talked with two folks there in a conference call setup. They asked a number of pertinent and relevant questions and refrained from asking stupid ones. Apparently TCI has a QA group of about 15. It looks like they are hiring multiple people. At the end of the interview they asked me if I am looking for a supervisory/management position. I told them I'd be interested in that but that I understand that often folks are reluctant to bring in outsiders straight into that position and that I'd be willing to work as a senior engineer before taking on any supervisory role, they can see whether I'm a good fit etc. That seemed to go over well. I'm really pleased that they seem to be much better versed in QA and process issues than many companies I've known over the years. All in all I'm quite hopeful.

Also this morning I had an email from a guy at Apollo Group up in Phoenix. I was referred to them by Steve Hickman (thanks Steve!). They are looking for a QA Director since their previous one (who emailed me) was promoted. He said they are working out some budget issues but that he hopes he could interview me by the end of the month.

All in all a very positive day! I also ran a bunch of errands -- got my car's emissions tested, got my Living Stones textbook, went to UPS and sent off some stuff I've EBayed, and did some laundry.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Our Latin Schola sang today:

Prelude: Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)

Gathering Song: Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven (OCP #614)

Penitential Rite: Kyrie (Chant Mass)

Gloria: (Chant Mass)

Psalm: Psalm 95 (OCP Respond and Acclaim)

Gospel Acclamation: Chant

Preparation of the Gifts: I Have Longed For Thy Saving Health (Byrd)

Spirit Seeking Light And Beauty (Pius X Hymnal #139)

Holy, Holy: Sanctus (Chant Mass)

Memorial Acclamation: (Chant Mass)

Great Amen: Amen (Chant Mass)

Our Father: Traditional Chant (English)

Lamb of God: Agnus Dei (Chant Mass)

Communion: O Salutaris Hostia (St. Gregory Hymnal #226a)

Tantum Ergo (St. Gregory Hymnal #242f)

Recessional: From All That Dwell Below The Skies (OCP #622)

We had a brand new accompanist today. She did really well! Today we had 3 sopranos, 2 altos, 2 tenors and a bass. We used to have more men than women but now it's gone the other way (one of our basses has gone off to join the Carmelites, God bless 'im). We really could use another bass or two, and a strong alto and another tenor...

C/net is reporting a nasty Apache web server worm on Linux. If you run a Linux-based Apache web server (or, realistically, any Apache) be sure you have all the latest security fixes for Apache and SSL.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Wow, the Wildcats beat Utah in a real nailbiter of a finish, 23-17. Utah may not be in the PAC-10 but they are a heck of a team. It was a pretty darn good game.

Friday, September 13, 2002

Former Mayor of New York (and a personal hero) Rudolph Giuliani writes about Getting It Right at Ground Zero.
I've spent some time struggling with what to say about my birthday. That is, what to say about September 11th. Narcissistic as it sounds, I suppose, the two things are now inextricably wedded and I can't escape it.

When I woke up on that fateful day, I heard the radio talking about a calamity in New York. I turned on the television and saw what we all saw. Beyond shock, and horror, and incredible sadness and grief, I remember thinking that I'd read once that some historians had labeled the 20th century as "The American Century." I thought that the terrorist act was a definitive end to the American Century.

I started 9/11/02 with the Requiem promptly at 8:46 a.m. It was very moving. While Centennial Hall wasn't full (I'd hoped it would be) it was 3/4 full, and the audience was appreciative. For me it was a sense of being part of something much greater than our (large, 380+) choir, and even our city. And there was a sort of grimness about it, grimness and sadness and mourning and tenderness and determination and supplication all combined. It was something I'll always remember.

A couple of friends had given me birthday wishes the night before; my Dad called me that morning before I left for the Requiem to wish me a happy birthday. Amber Lee and her Dad wished me a happy birthday before we began singing. Later, I had lunch with my sister for my birthday, just as I had a year before. And my brother Gary called me in the afternoon to wish me a good day. My niece Cori called that evening while I was out (we sang some excerpts of the Requiem at a city-sponsored event at the Music Hall that night) to wish me a happy birthday and to say she loves me. I didn't celebrate, other than that. I didn't feel I could. Honestly I don't know how many years will have to pass before I can celebrate my birthday with a party or something.

As I was coming home that night I was thinking about the day and how things had changed, and how many things we won't take for granted for a while, at least. A couple of months ago, I was driving to work down Speedway and for some reason, a jet was flying over us REALLY LOW. I looked up at it and stared at it, beginning to wonder if something was going on -- another terrorist attack. I looked at the car next to me and saw the driver was also staring at the plane, perhaps wondering -- if it came at me right now, could I escape? Eventually it banked south toward the airport. Moments like that reminded me more than most other things that we aren't the same.

I was thinking about all the stuff I'd seen and read that day -- there are so many people who are much more eloquent than I. Then I was reminded of some words of Thomas Jefferson:

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.

I think that's exactly right. Our lives and our liberty are both gifts of God. The terrorists in destroying the first also tried to destroy the second, but they cannot be disjoined.

I am a fairly emotional person, and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. I suspect it will be a long time before I can see pictures of the World Trade Center as it was without choking up; but that's okay. When I ponder why this event had to happen, and why it had to happen on my birthday, I come to the conclusion that it's something that I in particular will carry with me always, and in that way the memory will continue. That may sound self-centered, but really it's not. I'm not unique in this regard, there must be hundreds of thousands of people in the US who share my birthday. We are a living memorial.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
My friend Marilyn sent me a couple more links on the Rolling Requiem -- this one and also this one.

More news!

I just got an email from TCI Solutions here in Tucson, asking me when would be a good time for a phone interview... we are set for a phone interview Monday morning at 10 a.m. Also, there are a couple of openings at Netpro that I applied for. Netpro is based in Scottsdale, and the VP Engineering is a guy I worked with at Artisoft. Also, I'd forgotten that they have an office in Tucson as well.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

For those that missed it, a really cool article on blogging, and St. Blog's specifically.
Okay, this is spooky -- New York lottery winning numbers: 9-1-1.
Here's the transcript of President Bush's address to the United Nations - September 12, 2002. It's a very strong speech. Also here's CNN's list of UN Resolutions on Iraq. So far our only support in this matter is Britain (God bless 'em, they are our staunchest and truest ally), and, surprisingly, Spain.
Here's a really cool article that should help you tweak your BIOS for utmost performance -- BIOS Arcana: description and translation.
Just a quick update... I drove up to Mesa today for the interview with Galon Miller of Benchmark QA. We spoke for about an hour about my qualifications and experience, and their needs and opportunities. Their office is in an office park right behind the In-N-Out Burger on Stapley so I thought that a good omen :-).

I think it went pretty well. He explained the sorts of consulting they do and where they are trying to go. We talked at length about my background and experiences in software development, quality assurance, release management, and related sorts of topics. He said there are 3 or 4 opportunities that he would be pitching me for currently. Their current model is that they will bring me on as either a 1099 (i.e. I have do to do my own benefits, withholding, etc.) or a straight W-2 (I'd much prefer that) if they get someone who wants my services. I get the impression my initial experience would likely be a short (3-month) contract that could be extended if they really like me, possibly into a temp-to-hire arrangement if that's mutually agreeable. Benchmark gets a chunk of my offered hourly rate to cover their expenses etc., more if they W-2 me than otherwise, of course.

I asked him for a candid assessment of my prospects and my strength as a candidate for these jobs. He said that he felt I would be a strong candidate but cautioned that with the job market as it is now, a lot of companies are able to get people with lots and lots of experience (i.e., more than me) for what they were spending on getting people with my experience. So a lot depends on factors that are hard to predict. These opportunities are pretty much all in the Phoenix area.

My overall impression is that he thinks I'm a good candidate and will submit me for things that come their way; however, with the market as it is this is just a possibility at this point -- I still need to press on in my job search.

I really intended to write something profound about 9/11 tonight, but I wound up talking to Amber Lee 'til really late so I'll have to postpone 'til tomorrow -- sorry!
More stuff worth reading from National Review -- Victor Davis Hanson on September 11.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Before we left rehearsal, we were reminded that the Rolling Requiem has already begun.
I just got home from Requiem rehearsal. All in all I think it's going to be terrific when we sing, in about 11.5 hours. They handed out heart pins for us to wear, each one bears the name of a person lost in the 9/11 tragedy. I had asked for John's name (see below) so I'll be wearing his name twice tomorrow. We've been told that parts of this (or maybe the whole thing) may be played on NPR tomorrow.

I don't think it's really hit most of the people in the choir just what we are singing. I mean, we all know why we are doing this, but the emotional impact hasn't really hit. I suspect it will hit tomorrow though, when those great and terrible chords roll out and we basses sing "Requiem aeternam...". I feel a little sorry for those whose theology doesn't allow them to pray for the dead -- what must they think of such a thing, anyway? I know what it means for me, it means just what Mozart understood it to mean. That's part of the beauty of the faith.

The Onion has written a piece that hits home -- Second Birthday In A Row Ruined By Terrorism.
I could not sleep, so I was surfing the web and found Yahoo's Living Tribute - We Remember. I created a memory tile for John James Badagliacca. As you may know I wear a Mercy Band in his memory.

If you have not taken part in these memorials, I'd encourage you to do so. For myself I have found it comforting. The depth of the loss and grief of that terrible day can be overwhelming. By wearing my Mercy Band I can do something to remember one person lost, at least. It makes it more personal, which is both more sad and yet more human.

Monday, September 09, 2002

I meant to blog about this yesterday, but I got sidetracked... anyway, I wound up going to the 6 p.m. "teen" Mass at my parish yesterday, and I've decided I am officially a fuddy-duddy now. I'm referring specifically to the music. To be fair, I have always (even when I was a teenager) objected to people wanting me to do other things than sing. I am a singer. Being a singer doesn't mean I have signed up to clap my hands, stomp my feet, snap my fingers, or sway in any kind of rhythmic manner. If I wanted to do that I would have taken mambo lessons. When I was their age, it's true, I thought the Glory and Praise stuff was just terrific, and I sang a lot of it in 4 years (more or less) at the UA Newman Center. But I've learned better. Some of that stuff is okay, but most of it just doesn't pass the test of time (and repetition). Or, as I like to put it, I, too, liked "On Eagle's Wings" the first 500 times I sang it, but now... enough.

Interestingly, or perhaps ironically, one of the people I sang with at the Newman Center was Tom Booth, who started the whole LifeTeen thing. He had more hair then.

The celebrant for Sunday's Mass was our Nigerian priest, Fr. Sylvester. Fr. Sylvester is a gem. He is as orthodox as they come, and his homilies are first-rate. Admittedly one has to listen closely to get past his accent -- but it is well worth it, there is some deep thought there. If he has one fault, it's probably that he tries to put too many things in his homilies. It might be better for him to stick to fewer points and repeat them more often. That said, like I said, he's terrific.

Big news!

I finally spoke with Galon Miller at Benchmark QA. We had a good chat, about 40 minutes or so. The upshot is that he wants to meet with me Thursday in Phoenix to discuss possibilities etc. So that's very positive. The downside is that he's really (as far as I understand it) interviewing me to be included in Benchmark QA's stable of consultants. Once that happens then I can be considered for whatever turns up. The bad part is that that's no guarantee of immediate employment. So it's a very positive step forward but there's still a ways to go.
So today I've applied for three more jobs, two in Phoenix and one in Silicon Valley. This makes about 42 jobs that I've applied for total, not to mention distributing my resume far and wide.
Victor Lams has an update on the continuing saga of Michigan's "pro-choice" Catholic gubernatorial candidate.
Fightin' words from the UK -- Iraq for Dummies. Thanks to The Lady of Shalott for the link.
Check out the Star Wars Gangsta Rap.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

New blog -- Hepcat's Scat! Czech it out!
Check this out! Planned Parenthood will have to work overtime to ignore this one -- Baby brainwaves measured in womb.
At last! I've finally tracked down the lyrics to Cheech and Chong's Basketball Jones. I love that song!
John Scalzi has some interesting comments on blogging. He doesn't think blogging is something most people would pay to read. I think he's right. Certainly no one would pay to read this blog. That's okay.

In other news, it's a rainy and grey day here in Tucson -- something we experience quite rarely. So I'm going to lounge around and enjoy it.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

From The Lady of Shalott's blog comes this article by Charles Krauthammer on how 9/11 was an act of war. It's a good reminder. We all want to pretend that the terrorist attacks were a one-time thing, even though we know deep down that they were not. We are at war, and we have been. It would behoove us to act a bit more like a people at war and have the kind of focus and depth of purpose that normally accompany that state. After all, 9/11 was (as Krauthammer points out) not an accident, and not an act of God. It was a deliberate, brutal act by people who set out to kill innocent people. There's every reason to believe that more attacks are possible, even likely, yet we all walk around acting like it's not going to happen.
My e-buddy Brenda ElfGirl got her memories of 9/11 published on the SF Chronicle's Web page: SF Gate: 9/11 Stories (scroll down about 2/3 of the page). You go girl! :-)
I came across a Zenit article on images found in the Virgin of Guadalupe's eyes: Saint News - Virgin of Guadalupe's Eyes Tell of Mystery - 17 July 2002 - Madrid, Spain ( I know that some people either are unaware of the miraculous nature of the image of the Virgin, or are skeptical. I don't see how anyone can read this sort of thing and still be a skeptic, though.
I'm trying to finalize my decisions on who to vote for in next Tuesday's primary races. In particular, I'm in a new congressional district (District 7) that was formed after the 2000 census. I found a cool page that links all the candidate's home pages -- Arizona Chamber of Commerce - 2002 Campaign Links.
Phew! I just drove to Albuquerque and back. For reference, 1) I can fit a MicroVAX II in my trunk, and 2) it takes about 6.5 hours to drive from Tucson to Albuquerque. I unloaded the aforementioned MicroVAX II, an IBM PC/RT, and a boatload o' VMS docs on a collector who lives in ABQ today. YAY! I can see some bare floor here and there....

Actually the drive was very nice in some respects. New Mexico is really quite pretty -- like Arizona only more empty. Also I stopped in Hatch and bought some chiles for a friend. And, I had the opportunity to listen to almost all (except the last 10 minutes or so) of my 6-tape audiobook of Weigel's biography of John Paul II, A Witness To Hope. I have a hardback copy of it too that I haven't read yet, but I really want to now.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Okay, one last blog for the night. I should never, ever read National Catholic Reporter -- it always gets my blood pressure up. Anyway, I came across this article when I was looking at the one I recently blogged about (re: ICEL). It's by an ex-nun who basically seems to think that because she's known some priests who are unchaste, and because so many laymen can't be faithful in marriage, that therefore the Church should not require priests to be celibate. She says in part:

I realize my opinion -- that the majority of priests do not lead exemplary celibate and chaste lives -- is just my opinion, but there are three main reasons why I believe as I do: personal experience, public proof of infractions and knowledge of human nature.

Basically, she's using her own anecdotal evidence, some published instances and the fact that some people will always be unfaithful to their promises and vows to say that we should give up on the whole shootin' match. Somebody said "modern heresy begins in the groin" and there's definitely something to that (although this is not, strictly speaking, heresy).

She seems unable or unwilling to go the extra distance and draw the obvious conclusion. She says that priests can't be faithful to Christ, they will "cheat", so we shouldn't require them to be celibate. The obvious next step would be to observe that since so many laymen cheat on their spouses we should not require them to be exclusive, either, but should allow people to sleep with whomever they choose.

Of course, she can't say that (pesky Ten Commandments gettin' in the way). But it follows. The answer to human frailty and sinfulness is not, has never been, and can't be to just throw up our hands and say "we give up, then." The answer is to continue to hold out the ideal to be reached for, knowing that some will always fail. Christ said "Be perfect, as my heavenly father is perfect." He didn't say "it's too hard so never mind about perfection."

I've been listening to this Rene Clausen CD that I blogged about a few weeks ago. I've noticed that I seem to get really stuck on a particular CD or artist or piece, and I listen to it over and over and over again. I have very eclectic tastes so the things I get stuck on vary wildly from one to the next. Still, I'm wondering if other people do this too, or what. I'm thinking of that scene in one of the early Beverly Hills 90210 episodes (wow, I just outed myself on that one!) where Brenda has broken up with Dylan and keeps listening to REM over and over and over and over again. Hmm....
Tonight was the first meeting of my parish's RCIA program for 2002-2003. I'm really happy with the group we have this year, it seems to be a good mix of ages and experiences. I believe this will be my 9th year teaching. I just hope that I will find a job in Tucson and be able to see it to completion.
Shamelessly lifted from Mark Shea's blog, an article that's, well, too stupid for words, or "why 'niggardly' has no relationship to the infamous N-word"...
And.... just applied for another job, this one at Scale Eight in San Francisco. A program manager job. Could be fun. Apparently they make distributed storage systems.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

I know I promised I wouldn't blog anymore but here's yet another job I just applied for... US-CA-Silicon Valley/Peninsula-Director / Manager QA. Looks like a good fit, if I'm willing to live in Silly Valley.
Okay, one last post and I'm done for the night, I promise... this one is too good to pass up, though -- the left-wing National Catholic Reporter whining about ICEL getting its comeuppance from the Vatican: Fearful ideologues ambush liturgical reform. That editorial is referring to this story. Really, the liturgical reform happened after Vatican II, it's not supposed to be an ongoing thing where the liturgists tweak the Mass every year until they get it the way they like it. The quote below is typical:

What has happened is shameful, because a small cadre has decided -- not by dint of persuasion or by choice of most of the English-speaking Catholics, but by ecclesiastical force -- to roll back the work of a host of bishops and scholars who labored for more than three decades.

What these folks seem to have forgotten are a number of important points, to wit:

  • The "small cadre" are bishops, successors of the apostles, to whom the role of governing the Church has been given.
  • The liturgy is not decided upon by a majority vote of Catholics.
  • It's hardly "ecclesiastical force" for the bishops to decide on something. That's their job.
  • ICEL is supposed to be a body that does translations. Somehow that little detail seems to be forgotten with ICEL running around composing new prayers out of whole cloth. I guess translating is just not interesting enough for the "host" of bishops and scholars.
Hey! Noted Catholic Answers apologist James Akin has started a blog! It's Defensor Fidei: James Akin's Apologetics Blog, check it out!
Another link shamelessly stolen from the Lady of Shalott is Osama bin Ladin's Fatwah. It's worth reading for some real insight into the minds we are up against.
Thanks to The Lady of Shalott for this saddening link: - Delay meant death on 9/11
For those who doubt that America's university faculties no longer represent anything like a cross-section of American political belief, check out this David Horowitz article.
I had lunch with my friend K. If you can, please pray for her, she's going through some majorly bad stuff in her life right now.

When I got home there was a voicemail from the guy at Benchmark QA apologizing profusely for not calling me this morning, there was a scheduling mixup and he had written me down for Thursday (probably because of the Labor Day holiday). Hopefully we will be able to sync up tomorrow.

At last! MSNBC asks the important question, Why do cell phones make us stupid?. Believe me, I've seen plenty of stupid cell phone users.
YAY! I got my replacement Cisco 678 last night and this morning I finally got it configured and got my replacement firewall up and running at last. My previous firewall/gateway was an old 486-50 running OpenBSD 2.7. My new one is an old K5-PR166 running ClosedBSD. It is SUCH a good feeling to be back on the Web again.

In other news, my friend Travis sent me a link to this job. Wow, I am so qualified for this it is scary, and it's even in Sierra Vista. I applied faster than you can knife a goat.

That's the good news. The bad news (or not-as-good news) is that I was supposed to have a phone interview this morning with the guy from Benchmark QA at 8 a.m. but he didn't call me and still hasn't as of now. I called and left him a message on his office phone.

I went to the movies last night with Jenn and we saw Blood Work. It's a Clint Eastwoof flick. I enjoyed it a lot, lots of suspense and action.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Today was a pretty good day. I went to a reunion gathering for the Amphi Class of 1982. They just had their 20th reunion this weekend and I was invited to join in a small gathering at Chris Yetman's house. Besides Chris and his lovely wife I got to see a bunch of folks, including Keith Saints, Mary Minette, Jack Slavin, Karen Greaber, Marit Nelson and her husband, and Tim Yu. Perhaps the most interesting part was after we'd looked at a bunch of old yearbooks etc., Chris called the mother of one of his students (he teaches at CDO), who turns out to be Elsa Diaz that I'd gone to 7th and 8th grades with at Amphi Junior High. So Elsa came over for a little bit and we all had a really terrific visit.

After that I went to a gathering for Collegium Musicum at Dr. Brobeck's house. It was nice, good food, good conversation. Most importantly I got to talk to Carolyn McCarthy's husband Don, who works at Steward Observatory -- one of the places I've applied for a job. I got some helpful info from him, and some good advice.

The final stop of the evening was Requiem rehearsal from 7:15 to 9:15. It's coming together pretty well, I am very encouraged.

Tomorrow I need to go mail out some stuff I've sold (see below) and then I have a CTAC meeting at 5:30. After that I'm going to the movies with Jenn. YAY! It will be fun to get out and see a movie.

Spending time with my old classmates put me in a very good mood. It was also kind of amusing to look at pictures from the past, especially from junior high. It made me very thoughtful and reflective about how I view myself and where I am going. It's hard to put into words, but basically what I am getting at, I guess, is that it reminded me that we tend to put ourselves in boxes as we get older. A box that says "this is the way I am" and "this is what is possible for me"... I guess I'm aware, especially at this time in my life with the job change and everything, that I can be anything I want, and I shouldn't limit myself. When I look at myself at age 14 or 15 the future was an open book -- and the truth is, it still is an open book. It's as open as I want, as open as I'm willing to be. Really, the sky is the limit!

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Major YAY because I was able to sell this old VMEBus chassis on EBay ($8, woo). It's not the money, it's the principle -- i.e. not trashing things that work. Whee! I was also able to give away a bunch of manuals. Of course there's much more along these lines to do, my house is really full of this stuff...
I went to the first UA football game of the season last night, vs. the NAU Lumberjacks. They are Lumberjacks, and they're okay :-). Seriously it was an okay game. Quite clearly the Wildcats have a lot of work to do before their first PAC-10 game. The passing game is in good shape, but the offensive line was not able to open any holes for the running backs, which doesn't bode well. The defense did pretty well, including two (!) blocked punts. I went with my friend Tom, so it was a nice "male-bonding" thing.