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Complaining in Cleveland -- October 12, 2000

I am weary of Cleveland -- not that I've seen much of it, just the area around the airport and between my hotel and the customer site I've been working at, an areaof factories and warehouses and highways and railroads and strip malls and office parks and budget this and dollar that, flat, very flat, the highest things aroundare elevated highway overpasses and the skeletal towers of high voltage electric transmissionlines just waiting for a visit from Godzilla. Oh, I suppose I should count theblock of offices where I've been working, a pair of massive glass boxes five or sixstories tall, set far back from the highway amidst acres of asphalt parking lots andflat green lawn. Now I suppose I should not characterize the entire area around hereby this limited sample that I've seen, a rectangle perhaps six or seven miles long and two or three miles deep -- is it so very different from parts of Warwick, RI,the area surrounding T.F.Green Airport? Perhaps not, but it is just so very blandand blah and it goes on and on! It reminds me of what Virginia Wolfe said about San Diego:"There's no there there."

Mostly I just want to go home. I miss my family!

It seems as if I had not had time to relax after coming back from Norway when I hadto take off again. Yeah, okay so I had a week, eight days even, to recover... butI was extremely busy during those days and I have such a mountain of work to do bothat my job and around the house... and next week I have a class to teach, which willkeep me busy all week and mean four days of working from eight a.m. until six orsix-thirty and on Friday from eight until maybe three or four (or five?) and thenthe following week I have to face setting up fourteen computers, installing lots ofsoftware, configuring them, testing them, etc., all assuming that the new furniturefor our new classroom has finally arrived... and the week afterwards I have to teachall week. Hell, I'm exhausted just thinking about it, especially because of all theprep work and study I need to do before I teach that class and I will have no timeat work to prepare so I'll be trying to do that at night at home.

Okay, is everyone as tired of hearing me complain as I am?

We had some technical problems with the way our systems had been set up for thisclass and so while my colleague was delivering the presentations I was talking withHamid on my cellphone to get his advice and help as I attempted to debug and fix the problem until my phone went dead because I had used up the battery (and I hadn'tbrought my charger with me because on standby it should have had more than enoughcharge to last until after I returned home)... I must have rung up quite a nice sumin roaming and long distance charges (I think Hamid was at home in Massachusetts andyesterday I was also speaking with people in Pittsburgh). (Yeah, don't worry, oncethe bill comes I'll submit an expense account for reimbursement.)

I am feeling a bit better about my ability to present this material. Please note thatI feel no insecurity about my ability to deliver the material for any of the coursesI've been teaching over the past five years (yeah my fifth anniversary in this jobis only three or four days away) -- I know I can teach that stuff, I am secure infeeling that I have considerable subject matter expertise and have often been calledinto client meetings by marketing people who counted on me to anchor technicaldiscussions with potential clients. But this whole java world I'm getting into hasquite different technical underpinnings, and I've been forced to attempt to learna number of new technical areas simultaneously and I have been quite concerned overthe diffence in my expertise level in my usual fields and in these new fields. However, I've been feeling lately that things are falling into place. This afternoon,for example, I delivered an off-the-cuff discussion/explanation about the value ofEJBs with Container-Managed Persistance, where the containers handle the actualdatabase calls, so deploying a given EJB into one container may allow it to accessa DB2 database while deploying that same EJB into a different container may allowit to access an Oracle database or a Sybase database. I realized when I finished thatnot only had I answered the student's question to his satisfaction, others had beenlistening and they also indicated that they now had a better understanding. (But Istill need to add much more knowledge... now that I have the big picture, I need toadd more and more details... and I still suck at hands-on use of VisualAge for Java.

Despite my concern at this past Sunday's weather forecast for the Cleveland area(snow advisory) the weather after Monday became much more pleasant... it wasnot too chilly when I arrived Tuesday, even though it was late at night, yesterdaywas mild and today... ah, today was beautiful (except, of course, I was stuck insidean office building from a few minutes before eight a.m. until five minutes beforesix o'clock), sunny, blue skies, warm... and it stays light much later thanin Rhode Island... we're on the eastern edge of the time zone there and Cleveland ison the western edge, that's quite a difference in the time of the sunset... on theother hand, to make up for that, dawn comes correspondingly later.

I'm used to big city high rise hotels... they typically have windows almost the full width of the room and I like to pull the curtains wide open, bringing early morning light... and when on the sixteenth or twentieth or whatever floor, who cares if the curtains are open, there's nobody there to worry about how I'm dressed or not dressed... but I'm on the second floor of what's really a motel type layout, so the entry door is on the exterior wall along with the only window, facing out onto the second floor walkway... so my drapes are tightly closed and I feel a bit claustrophobic... and the drapes do nothing much to block the noise and vibrations of the nearby freight trains.

The negatives from my Norwegian journey did get scanned againand I got the magic access code numbers just before I left onthis trip and did not have time to check the photo site to seeif they were indeed loaded this time... and my connection to theweb from this hotel room is not that great, keeps locking upon me and speed varies a lot so I've not attempted it from here.After I get back I'll check 'em out and post some (the hardcopypictures I have look as if there are some that would be worthwhile posting).

p.s. Dear Cleveland:

I am sorry that I find you to be bland and boring. However, I can say this about you, you have good drivers. As I mentioned here Tuesday night, the airport rental car shuttle bus driver joked that we should be careful when we get behind the wheel that the locals were just as bad drivers as we were. No, he was wrong... I've been driving in both morning and afternoon rush hour traffic here and I have to say that Cleveland drivers are more cautious and less agressive than Rhode Island and Massachusetts drivers. Try driving I-95 through Providence at rush hour! Whew! And Boston? Fuhgedaboudit!

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