2006 Christmas Letter

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It was a gala day when Incredipete invested in redundant web servers in January. And as Groucho Marx said so aptly, “a gal a day should be enough for anyone!” Yes, after a year of trying to run a hosting business using cobbled together shared hosting on massively overworked servers, IHS invested in quad Xeon dedicated servers, and put one in Maryland, one in Chicago, and one in California. That pretty much covers all the bases in case of natural disaster, too. I tell of this not to advertise, but because it’s the only thing that happened in January. I know, scary.

Of course, February, in an attempt to keep my Christmas letter from totally sucking, brought challenges I could not have imagined. It all started on Valentine’s day… ok, technically it started the day before Valentines, but MY involvment started on Valentines. A local manufacturing business had a total walkout. 100% of employees from the plant manager to the floor helper… all walked out. I work for a consulting company, and we were asked to come and bail the business out. It was personal because the owners are, well… not strangers. Should we fail, they would be in trouble, and that just wasn’t an option.

The company was manufacturing high-tech electro-mechanical devices and had certifications from… well, some very strict regulatory agencies. Needless to say, the people who walked out “tipped off” the regulatory agencies that we were all new, and so we were audited… 4 days after the walkout. To say that those few days were “stressful” would be liking saying that Ebola is “slightly contagious.” I think I wrote during that week and said I was looking forward to the week being over. HA. I’m still working out there at least one day a week. 10 months later.

HOWEVER, the story, although not yet complete, has a pretty happy ending. In late March, we were shipping product again (a lapse of just a month in a highly regulated high-tech industry in which there was ZERO documentation on ANYTHING). In September, we had officially shipped more product in our short tenure than the previous team had shipped the entire year before. Everything we’ve shipped since then has been gravy. We’ve upgraded every person, process, work cell, and planning capability in the entire company… we even doubled the size of our facilities… and it’s running like a well oiled machine.

As the last person walked out in February, he walked up to me, handed me his key, looked me square in the eye, and said “You’ll be begging us to come back within two weeks, you have no idea what you’re doing.” I looked him back in the eye, and said “When you drive by 6 months from now and there are cars in the parking lot, I hope you’ll remember that you walked out without notice and won’t be eligible for rehire.” He laughed.

Who’s laughing now, cretin?

Ok, so February was a long one. Sorry. March was another snoozer. I was spending so much time at that company that I invested in a TREO 700w from Verizon. I was quite enamored with it at first, but then it began crashing regularly. I should have known a Windows powered phone would crash. When it crashes, it doesn’t really look different… it just doesn’t ring when you have a phone call. You finally realize it’s crashed when you try to make an outbound call. Hopefully an upgrade to the Motorola Q will be in my near future.

In April, I payed my taxes. I also got to take an exciting trip to beautiful Dayton, Ohio, motto “We’re just like Kansas City only we’re smaller, colder, and we don’t have professional sports.”

In May, I wrapped up the two classes I was taking, Supply Chain & Logistics Management, and Service Operations Management. Service Ops was stupid, boring, and worthless… I skipped so many times, I ended up with a B, while I got an A in the hard class. Go figure.

In June, absolutely nothing happened whatsoever.

July, on the other hand, was pretty exciting. July third (Jennyanydot’s Birthday) Jenna and I drove to Iowa for my cousin’s wedding. He was marrying a girl, I kid you not, named Jenna. But that was not the interesting part of the evening. When Jenna was passed out, a drunk girl came to the hotel room and frenched me for no reason. I would have invited her in, but I didn’t know how I would slip that by on Jenna. A once in a lifetime opportunity, thrown away. Later in July, my family and I went to beautiful San Diego. We stayed in a timeshare 50 feet from the beach, and pretty much did nothing but swim. It rocked.

August started out with a bang, when I accidentally wounded myself with my gun. It didn’t feel great, but it did give me a cool story and a nice scar. In spite of my open wound, the state of Kansas still decided to let me pass concealed carry class that same month. Later in the month, I did consulting work in Sherman, Texas.

In September, I didn’t do much, but I did end up in the police station getting fingerprinted. Apparently they want to know all SORTS of stuff before they allow you to carry a gun. Who knew!? Still, I don’t plan to kill anyone, so I should be alright. Thanks to their careful instruction, I understand the limits of using deadly force.

In October, I drove back to Sherman Texas, and on the way home was profiled by the police in Oklahoma City, and then nearly died in a flash flood driving across the flint hills in the middle of th night. About a week later, when I finally pried my fingers from the steering wheel, I spoke to the rest of my family about how much I hate going to Chiefs games, and we found out we all hated going, so we ditched our season tickets.

November was mostly spent writing a massive paper for my forecasting theory class. I did finally get it done, and I got an A. In addition, it looks like it has paved the way for taking an independent study class in 2007 on artificial neural networks, so it was worth the effort. I spent a little bit of time goofing off and created a scientific way to match people with my dating classification matrix, which frighteningly enough, several people took seriously. And, on a more personal note, my grandfather passed away after a long fight with ALS.

We can’t forget the midterm election, when the country “demanded” a change by electing a 51-49 democratic majority in the Senate. Since it appears that the republicans plan to operate as democrats anyhow, it doesn’t really matter. I also had the scary electrical gremlins in my house eradicated.

December meant the end of classes once again. We’ll be spending Christmas in town with my family, and then flying out the 30th to visit her friends and family for New Year’s.