Answers to Brock’s Interview Questions

1. What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

Without a doubt, it is Gerry. A close second is Vendredi soir.

2. What is your second most favorite beverage?

A great root beer.

3. If you could invent something to help mankind, what would it be?

Clean renewable energy, without a doubt.

4. What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?

Not taking the first few months after I was laid off more seriously.. I figured I needed a bit of a vacation, and it was right before the holidays, but it was a year between when I started really searching for work in January and when I actually started getting anywhere in my job hunt.

It was also stupid to stay in Boston for as long as I did, as I ended up blowing through all of my savings and running up substantial debt. Of course, if I wasn’t in Boston, I wouldn’t have met

 , so I guess it was worth it after all…

5. Marry, boff, kill: Osama, Sadamm, Ted Kaczynski.

A) I refuse to answer a question which besmirches this glorious game by replacing the word ‘fuck’ with ‘boff’. Who the fuck says ‘boff’? It isn’t even retro-cool.

B) Who the fuck is Sadamm?

Where our hero wakes up refreshed each day and doesn’t dread going to work

It’s amazing how much easier it is to drag yourself to work in the morning when you are dreading a 30 mile commute and 8 hours of work you are totally disinterested in. The first week and change of work have been great, and while all “honeymoon period” disclaimers apply, the new environment seems much more conducive to happiness and productivity than my previous situation. Things weren’t horrible at Goodrich, but they weren’t great either, and that commute started each day on a pretty down note.

I walked to and from work the last three days of this week… I drove on Monday and Tuesday, partly because I had packages to pick up from UPS and partly because it’s tough to break out of the car commute mindset. Now that I’ve walked a few times, I’ve found a pretty good route, turning a 3 mile commute according to Google Maps to a 2.25 mile commute. It takes about 40 minutes at my current pace, but that will improve a bit once I get a bit more in shape.

The actual work is great, some of my code is already in customer hands (or at least, will be real soon now). So far they have me cleaning up the sample apps built upon our RasterMaster SDK, all of which were created some time ago and hadn’t been maintained in awhile. So I’ve been giving them some TLC, updating several of them to the Java 1.1 event model as well as letting Eclipse loose on them reformatting them and making them conform to the style of the rest of Snowbound’s Java code. I have a few new sample to write before I really start digging into my “primary” work, the FlexSnap code. I’m starting to finally remember why I got into programming initially, which is a very, very good thing.

I had to exchange my RAZR for the second time this week. The first phone I got shut itself off randomly, and I swapped that one out about a month after receiving it in April. The replacement for that one had this annoying static noise, similar to when you have a cell too close to a computer speaker, but it was ignorable at first, and I figured it was a tower problem. But when I went to Jersey recently, it still kept at it, and seemed to be getting worse, so I called Cingular this week. They overnighted me a replacement for free, and the new phone seems to be good so far. The customer service rep asked me if I wanted to swap it for a different phone, and I considered it, but I am giving the RAZR one more shot. If this one acts up, it is gonna get the boot.

First Day at Snowbound

I was scheduled to start the new job this morning at 9am, so I hung around the house, listened to Howard Stern, and got my things together. I was planning on driving in this first day so I could unload all of the books/manuals in my trunk as well as the box of desk effluvia. But when I got out to my car, it wouldn’t start. The battery was drained, and probably needs to be replaced. I don’t think any drains were left on overnight, but I didn’t have time to diagnose. I ended up taking a cab to work since I didn’t have enough time to take the bus.

But aside from that nuisance this morning, everything here has been great. I decided that I have no interest in working for anything other than a software company again. One of my biggest problems at the last job is that I felt that the company considered software (consiously or otherwise) as an afterthought; They made cameras, not software. Even though I’ve only been here for a day, it is already clear to me that not only is this company a software company (That’s pretty easy to say, since they have no other products), but the team here is serious about writing software. I’m going to be focusing most of my time on their Java Applet, FlexSnap, but I have spent most of today getting my workstation set up and filling out HR forms.

One clear and present danger: Free snacks and soda are available. I am going to try and eat healthier while I’m here, but they sure aren’t making it easy. One thing is certain though, it is awesome working in the city again (well, technically not in in the city, but close and within the confines of the MBTA).


Well, I am technically unemployed until Tuesday… :) My last few days at Goodrich were uneventful, everything went smoothly with the design review, and my last day came and went with little fanfare. I wasn’t very emotional leaving on Friday, I said goodbye to everyone and carried the last box of crap out to my car after turning in my badge. I felt good leaving, so I guess I made the right decision after all… :) I’m really looking forward to starting anew on Tuesday, so we’ll see how that goes.

Friday Night, Aaron was in town, so I hung out with him and Tim. They started at Goodrich as co-ops the same day I started working there, and Tim came back to work there full time after graduation. It was a strange bookending that Aaron just so happened to be in town on my last day at the company. Tim’s brother and another friend from RIT was in town, so we all grabbed dinner and drinks, meeting up with some other friends.. Saturday morning I headed down the NJ to spend the weekend with my Fam. I’m driving back to Boston Monday morning after lunch with an friend from Hopatcong High.

Hawkeye’s Angry

On the way home from work yesterday I had another flat tire… Fortunately, this time around I was able to get it off the car myself and replace it with the donut spare. By the time I got home all the tire places were closed, so I was forced to take care of it this morning. Unfortunately, I had plans to meet up with some of my family at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.. It’s a 3 hour trip over there, and the air show starts at 2pm, so I just don’t think I can make it now.. We’ll see when I get out of here, though… But that is likely impossible now, as I am still sitting at the tire place and they are doing the alignment now (it was needed for awhile now). I had them replace the other two tires, since one went a few months ago and one went yesterday, I didn’t want to have to worry about the other two. Thank god for free WiFi at this place…

I can’t help but think that Hawkeye is jealous that my new job will cause me to require less of his services… One week left at Goodrich, this week was tough. The Critical Design Review for the project I’ve been working on for the past year is this week, and so everyone is scrambling to polish off documents, make slides, and make sure we are well-researched for any questions that come up from the customer. Even though it will suck to have my last few days at Goodrich spent in meetings, I feel good that supporting the team through CDR and then leaving is a clean break. All of the documents for my software are in order, including requirements, design, and interface control specs, so whoever is assigned to pick up where I left off. I would feel better if they let me know who was taking it over so I could transfer some knowledge personally, but I’m not going to worry too much about it. My design is pretty comprehensive, not only specifying the software architecture but the individual algorithms required for each calculation, I did my best to hold the programmers hand (mostly because I’ve been thinking about leaving for quite some time and was hoping that I wasn’t going to be that programmer :P).

What surprised me the most about the past week was that while “short time” status always stinks, the worst part has been the commute. Traffic wise, it has been the same as the past 2.5 years. But since I almost drive past my new job 3 miles into my commute, it really punctuates how much I hate the remaining 24 miles until I arrive at Goodrich. But I got my September bus pass in the mail yesterday, and after 5 more days the commute will be much more bearable.

Update: Damn, there is some abuse of the language in this entry… I guess it was a combination of anger, sleep deprivation, and writing in a mechanic’s waiting room… I leave it as-is for posterity…

New Job

Well, it’s official now: On September 5th I will begin working for Snowbound Software as a Software Engineer. I’ll be working on their Java imaging tools and SDK. It’s a small company, but one that is profitable and has been around for 10+ years. It is also in the next town over from Brighton, so my commute just dropped from 55+ miles a day to 3. I guarantee that this reduction will help both my lifespan and my bank account… Between gas and maintenance, my car was killing me… I also think this new position will be much more challenging and give me some more responsibility. Anyway, I’ll be blabbing more about this over the next few weeks, but I wanted to give y’all a heads up!