Table Of Contents
1: Looking back.. Colorado is a beautiful state. And it's filled with really nice people (or so I thought at first)... When I was a little kid my family visited Colorado, and when I got off the plane I knowingly declared "I'm going to live here someday." And I did. I lived in Colorado for four years. And I'm so incredibly glad that I don't live there anymore. It's a shame, because I'm a mountain person, not an ocean person. And I'm talking about those big rocky mountains like they have in the middle of this country, not the pansy green mountains we have in California. And the skiing was so wonderful - the best I've had. If it just wasn't for the freakin' people, Colorado would be a wonderful place. But each person has places that feel like home to them, and Colorado is not a home for me. 2: 1994/10/05 - Disco bowling For the first time (and as of 2005, still the only time), I managed to do the impossible and managed to break 100 while bowling! In fact, this astounding moment was captured on camera, at the very moment I was almost falling down as I bowl my last ball (I have been quoted as looking like John Travolta, disco stud). Sadly my digital copy of this photo has temporarily disappeared. Someday.. 3: 1995/02/25 - Hit by a car! A moron driver was stopped at a red light, and decided to make a right turn whilst I was walking in front of her car. The driver did not know this, of course, because the entire time she was accelerating into this right turn, she was looking to the left. Good job. She didn't notice me until I fell on the hood of the car, and then, of course, she slammed on the brakes and threw me to the pavement. Heh. I was carrying my motorcycle helmet and it hit the hood of her car, both of which are now damaged, so at least I got a new helmet out of the whole thing. :) It was the first time my body had been hit by a car (but not the last) and it was fairly unexciting. I figure, if I'm getting hit by a car, it should at least be an exciting story to tell people. I relayed this to my friends at HP and told them I wish the car had been going faster. RLC quickly replied "so do we, Dave" Heh. I deserved that. 4: Kodi the Man-Eater I live with the greatest dog in the world This is true, really. And generally it's a good thing, but it can cause problems. Back when the web was young, Kodi Bear was the first dog ever to have her own web page and email address (or at least that's what I'm claiming until someone can prove otherwise :) She was also the first dog ever (once again, I'm making a totally unsubstantiated claim here :) to have a phone number. Yes, "Kodi T. Bear" was listed in the Fort Collins White Pages back in 1995/1996ish. (Actually, I wouldn't mind getting a copy of that page of the phone book if anyone has it sitting around..) Anyways, sometimes Kodi would get calls from telemarketers. It was difficult to explain to them that Kodi wasn't interesting in purchasing their products. I didn't want to reveal to people that she was a dog, I can just imagine them telling all their friends and getting "hounded" by calls to see if this truly was a dog's phone. But then something weird started happening. This grumbly voice guy called one day and asked for Kodi Bear. I told him she wasn't able to talk on the phone right now (which was true!) and he promptly hung up the phone. Okay, no big deal. But then it happened again. And again. And my imagination started to draw a picture of what was happening. If you heard this guy's (often drunk) voice, you'd probably agree with me that he was likely sitting around in a stained wifebeater in a trailer home somewhere. And he had a crush on Kodi Bear. Well, actually on someone who he thought was Kodi Bear, presumably an actual human being. And he thought I was the husband/boyfriend that his sweetheart Kodi lived with - and probably a controlling, possessive one at that, since I never let Kodi come to the phone. Heck, far as he knew, I had her locked up in the closet most of the time. My guess is that he met some woman in a bar and they started talking, but she wasn't interested, and she gave him a false name. I don't know, maybe she was Native American and he bought the Kodi Bear thing. I'm guessing she actually had seen the number in the phone book and gave him that. So here he was, pining away for this woman, and waiting for the day that he could catch her, instead of me, on the phone. A few months went by before I pieced this little story together. It's the only explanation I can come up with, though I'd be willing to hear others. So finally, when I heard the familiar voice ask for Kodi, instead of saying she wasn't available, I quickly explained to him that he was calling the wrong number, and this wasn't the Kodi he thought it was. Then I asked him who he was and where he'd received the number. He, of course, hung up, and I never heard from him again. Oooo.. A mystery. Sometimes I ponder that one of my friends who knew about Kodi's phone status had told their friends of this oddity, and one of them was using it as a fake number to avoid guys at bars. If you know about this, please let me know! I'm not angry, the whole thing was pretty funny, but I am curious as to where this guy got this number. 5: 1995/05 - First Trip to San Francisco One of our managers walked up to me right before lunch and asked: "Do you want to go to San Francisco?" We had some chips here that needed to be sent through a processing step immediately, so our lab needed someone to hand deliver the silicon wafers to HP in Palo Alto. I jumped on the next plane and got to hang out in San Francisco with a rental car for half a day. It was mucho exciting, and driving in San Francisco is just about one of the most fun/dangerous things in the world :) Carrying the wafers was quite interesting - I had them in my hands during the entire trip - much too frightening to screw up my labs future, you know? Also, I couldn't run them through the X-Ray machine or the metal detector, so I had to have the guards pass them around, which meant convincing them that they were safe. I'd tell them what they were and that I worked for HP - then I'd show them my HP ID, as if this made me important or something. They seemed to buy it. They'd keep asking questions, trying to understand what it was, but finally they'd give up and let me go. Weird - now I know how to smuggle a gun on a plane.. :) 6: 1995? - The Lucky Gumball Bluff Sometimes it's fun to pretend to others that you have unlikely capabilities or knowledge. Because, sometimes those moments come true, and if you play it cool, people will be astonished by your super-human powers. I like being super-human. There was a video rental store that I used to frequent, and for a while they had one of those large Magic Gumball machines. The machine had a few special gumballs in it that would get you a free rental, but not a lot, you could only count a handful in the massive oversized glass globe. For some reason, I seemed to get far more than my deserved share of these winner gumballs, somewhere on the order of 1/4th of the time that I got gum there, so they paid for a great deal of my rentals. So one day I picked up a video and got in line. When they asked for the money, I expressed my dismay upon discovering that my wallet was empty. Fortunately I found a few quarters in my pocket, so I realized I didn't need to pay for the video anyways, I just needed a winning gumball. I announced my intention to do exactly this, went over to the machine and got myself a winning gumball. The woman standing behind me was shocked and confused. She asked me, "how did you do that?" While the cashier finished checking me out, I told her that it was easy, took another quarter, went over to the machine, and got another winning gumball, which I gave to the cashier to get another free rental. Now the woman in line was stunned. And she saw a good thing, so she took out a quarter and was sad to get a plain old gumball. I probably should've given up here. I could've walked away from it and it would have been amazing. But it wouldn't have been epic. So I explained to the woman in line, "No no,.. you're doing it wrong." And I got myself another quarter and put it in the gumball machine. After the third winning gumball, I knew to call it quits. The woman was as confused and stunned as she was going to get. I had lived my lucky moment. Sadly, though, I wasn't playing the lottery. 7: 1996? - Dave Versus the Tornado I was driving my Karmann Ghia with my favorite dog back from the East side of Colorado. It's all flat plains out there. I believe I was on Highway 14 - and storm probability maps I've looked at since then imply it was probably around June. There was a massive black wall of weather just to the South of me that went almost as far East and West as I could see. It was pitch black, I couldn't see the ground or sky inside the storm. The rest of the sky was that dark blue that movie makers achieve with polarizing filters to let you know that a storm or a reckoning is coming. In my case it was a storm and it was coming my way. I was racing back West to try to beat it, and I won. But when I got out of the path of the storm, I saw a beautiful thing. On the outskirts of the storm winding around in the calm was a tornado. It didn't look like one of those funnel tornadoes as most people know them, it was a straight column from the ground up to the sky. More importantly, it was a lot closer and smaller than you would expect, it was about 300 feet away from my car, hanging out in a farmers field. I had to see it. I parked the car and watched the tornado, it wasn't really moving, so I decided to get a closer look. I started jogging towards it, and as I got closer I got more detail. It was about 20 feet around, and it looked like a big column of rotating dust - like a tornado in slow motion. The wind around me was calm, and I could watch the dust and small clumps of dirt slowly rotating around a center which seemed to be empty. (Mom, I hope you're not reading anymore) This is where I decided to do something that most people will think was crazy (although some would even think I already crossed that line the moment I stopped my car). I decided to touch it. I mean, really, how many people in their lives can claim that they touched a tornado and lived? That they just walked right up to one, felt it, and walked (or maybe got hurled) away? And here I was with a little baby tornado and the opportunity of a lifetime. Sure I could get hurt. Maybe even thrown a bit. I doubted it was going to lift me in the air if I just touched the outside, since it was barely keeping the dust rotating around. And I must admit, I thought to myself, what if it wasn't that strong, and I could stand in it? And maybe it would lift me up a few feet and carry me around a bit. Or, maybe it wasn't even that strong, and I could push past the dust and wind and stand in the middle. Of a tornado. Think of that. And yes, it's a little crazy. And yes, it's a risk. It may even kill me. But think of being able to do something like that. It was worth it to me. So I advanced. I jogged up to about 30 feet away from it, and the winds were still calm. I could see the ground in the center, I could see the individual pebbles rotating around like a weird kind of rotisserie. And then the damndest thing happened. The tornado, which hadn't moved at all, started to back away from me. So I kept jogging towards it. And it moved away some more. So I started running, and it ran. And it started to speed up, and damn it all, it ran away from me. It got away. And while I have this incredible memory of an event that few will ever get to experience, I can't help but think about the tornado that got away. 8: 1997/07/28 - El Nino On July 28, 1997, Fort Collins, Colorado was hit with what they call a 500-year flood. The flood did over $100 million dollars of damage to CSU. The water that came out of CSU spent over 12 hours going through the block I live on. This was exactly one year after I bought my house. It looked something like this: Or, watch a short video clip from KUSA that showed some of the aftermath. Written: September 17th, 1997 Well - it's mostly over. Three weeks and one day later and I'm finally back at work. It's been a hectic 'summer vacation.' Here's the scoop (most of you news watchers will know this already): -------------------------------------------------- On the 28th we received a ridiculous amount of rain. The reservoir overflowed and the rainwater and reservoir water rushed into town. Here's a map: Train Tracks || ------------------------------------ || | | || | Colorado State | || | University/Lake | || | | || | | || _ | | -- |_| Dave's House | | -- Tunnel | | || | | || | | || | | || | | || | | || ------------------------------------ || _ || Strip | | || Mall | | || Spring _____ |_| || 'Creek' ____ \__ -> x| Trailer \__ \__ -> xx Park \__ \__ || \__ \__ || \__ \__ || \__ || It hit the train tracks (on a berm) to the East of CSU and filled up CSU (a square mile) with water. Spring Creek had a flash flood and it took out part of the train tracks and destroyed a trailer park on the other side, right about the time a train came in - the train derailed into the trailer park. At least I didn't live there - cars are on top of cars and trailers are in pieces. A few blocks north a gas line broke and a strip mall exploded - the whole back wall of a good part of the mall is ex-concrete. Spring Creek became a gorge, it used to be a few feet wide and now there's a canyon through town that's about 20 to 30 feet wide. When the water finally calmed down, it spent the next 12 hours draining from CSU through a walkway tunnel under the train tracks, just two blocks directly West ('upriver,' so to speak), from my house. My neighbors and I barracaded our houses as best as we could - I fared alot better than my neighbors because my house is a few inches higher which gave me considerable advance warning with the rising waters. I helped my neighbors dig until my basement started to get some water, then my friends and I dug a trench through my backyard to lead the water around my house. It was whitewater down the street -- it was dangerous to walk in. We disassembled my stone grill (*sigh*) and used the rocks and dirt and a couch and some wood to make a wall that held the water back for a while. Eventually the storm sewers clogged up and the rain started to rush into people's houses through their sewer lines, some people had geysers coming out of their toilets. I managed to somewhat block off the shower and the toilet to slow the water flow (block it off completely and my sewer lines would have exploded, though). During the fill we got most of my tenants stuff upstairs, although one of my tenants disappeared (the flood was too much for her to handle, I guess) and I had to carry up what I could of hers. I guess I fared well relative to my neighbors. The guy living in the carriage house right behind me managed to get a sump pump to his house just as the water in his basement was touching his floorboards. All the people across the street had completely full basements, most of them had finished basements like I did. Two houses south of me part of the first floor caved in, and pretty much all of the houses East of me had foundation damage. So I survived, and my house made it too. I spent the next week cleaning cleaning cleaning. Lots of people helped, but special thanks to Corie who was a real life-saver, she was helping save my basement the entire time. The week after that I was replacing floors, patching concrete, fighting mildew, repainting, installing carpet, washing walls, yada yada yada. It hasn't been fun. I managed to save myself a few thousand in the damages by having Corie and I do the work, but I used up all of the vacation time that I've saved up since I got here. *sigh* The big question at this point is whether I'll be able to find tenants, which I'm trying to be optimistic about. (the eventual answer was no, btw) Here's some news links: (from an earlier mailing) CNN Search site (search for 'Fort Collins flood') (The pages you'll find: 1, 2, 3) Fort Collins declared Federal Disaster Area City of Fort Collins flood page Map from the Rocky Mountain News Dave -------------------------- DaveSig version 2.1 ------------------------------ daveola-at-who.net Computer Architect -- I survived the '97 Fort Collins Flood and all I got was this mouldy sig -- 9: 1998/06/08 - Colorado Spits Me Out In a recent posting to an HP newsgroup, someone used the words "foo" and "bar" to refer to a couple of hypothetical examples in relating his question. Someone from HR saw this and called his manager, saying this was improper! The manager did a search of HP web pages & suggested that HR had better follow up on all 9000 or so occurrences of these words, or quit singling out his employee. What Happened at Hewlett-Packard? To avoid rehashing the story, here's the mail I sent out to people right after leaving Colorado:
HP became a pretty busy place for me. There was a schedule crunch and I ended up working days, evenings and weekends nonstop for three months straight. I managed to save their project and was told that I saved them tens of millions of dollars. I finally finished up and was able to take a vacation. A few days into my vacation HP was kind enough to call me up to fire me. Woohoo! Thanks HP! :) Ah well. No fear, their is a happy ending. Turns out I was fired over 'content' on my workstation. I had a database of text files covering quasi-legal topics. I called it The Fringe. It covered information on such dubious topics as the government, the Microsoft and Intel monopoly, bomb making, hacking and sex. You could learn anything from how to file a freedom of information act with the FBI (which I've done, actually); how to pick locks; how to give a good blowjob; and all the positions in the Kama Sutra. Those last two nabbed me. It seems that you don't want to know anything about sex, certainly not if you are on engineer. To be fair to HP, this was all accessible through a file-manager like database browser to any machines inside of the HP network (and only inside HP!), but it was not catalogued by search engines. To access it you needed to know it was there and specifically reach out and get it. And also to be fair to HP I evidently did sign some agreement when I was hired that said that receiving, viewing, distribution, displaying, etc.. of sexually offensive materials was punishable by immediate termination. And that's what I got, immediate termination (though I'd certainly question their definition of 'offensive' - I never realized that sex was that frightening to people, it's not like I was distributing pornography or anything). I don't have a good list of what was on there, HP was kind enough to erase it all after firing me. Oh well. I think I have an old archived copy on disk somewhere, if I can find it. Maybe I'll mail it to all my old managers and they'll get fired for receiving it ;-) [Update - I recovered most of The Fringe] I was escorted off-site and told that I could never set foot on HP property again. In fact, I'm not supposed to ever contact people while they are on HP property, but I'm not exactly sure how they can enforce something like that. As time passed, I came to realize that they had been planning this. They knew they were going to fire me, but they waited until after I was finished working nonstop seven days a week to save their project, and then they fired me, right after starting what was supposed to be my comp-time. I never got my comp-time nor a severance pay - I was handed a check for 2 grand as a final payoff of my pension plan, and they ripped me off of my vacation time (not even counting the vacation/comp time I had saved up working non stop for three months.) Now that's cold. Quite a homecoming from your vacation. That's why I never got to say goodbye to alot of you good people at HP. Suffice it to say I was in dire straits (here's where I milk up the sympathy even more ;). After getting my house hit by a federal disaster, (the infamous Fort Collins flood of '97), my finances weren't in the best of conditions - I was suddenly stuck with lots of debt, no job, and a house I couldn't even afford when I was working. Yikes. Then Eric Stubblefield, good man at HP, saves the day. He contacted Dave Kibler, an ex-HPite now working at SandCraft, and I understand the conversation went something like this: Eric: "I don't know what happened, but Dave's cube is empty - you should give him a call" Kibler: "Done." So whilst I was recovering from shock, my future was already being taken care of. :) I cruised out to San Francisco to check out the company, and much happiness abounded. The company is excellent. It's a small Silicon Valley startup that does embedded MIPs processor design, so it's a very similar job, I just get to do be a part of a much bigger picture. There really aren't any managers here (woohoo!), just a bunch of engineers who want the company to be successful. In fact, they know why I got fired, and it doesn't matter to them. As one of the good folks here laughed and told me: "that won't happen here." Now What? --------- I learned a bunch of valuable lessons in Fort Collins. 1) Dave does *not* belong in a big corporation 2) Dave does not even belong in Fort Collins... *yawn* 3) Dave should probably stop testing limits and rules imposed on him :) (That's the bit where I admit that I screwed up) 4) Dave should *not* own houses. Houses can have bad things happen to them. Corrolary: Dave should not be a landlord (nobody should be a landlord), tenants are evil people. 5) Dave should no longer live in the boring places he works at and commute to the fun place. I learned the last one from commuting to Denver and Boulder 4 times a week to go swing dancing. That's a good 10 hours out of each week. Yeesh. Then I'd trodge back to boring Fort Collins to sleep. I'm not making that mistake again, this time I'm commuting to work (specifically to Santa Clara), at the South end of the Bay. Then I happily live in the fun place, specifically San Francisco, which is a phenomenal town. I can't rave enough about it - I feel really good out here. The commute's not bad, because I can cycle pretty quick (lane splitting is legal in California! :) and I can skip rush hour because I don't have set hours. If that gets tiring I can always take the train - it gets within two miles from work, and then I can whip out the skates and cruise in. Actually, I probably won't have to. I'm going to be keeping my van in Santa Clara if I can - after managing to find an apartment with a garage space long enough to store my van and a motorcycle or two, it turns out that my van is too tall to get in the garage! Ack. So I'm going to leave it at work and at the train station in Santa Clara if I can, and use it as a commute vehicle between the two. I may just end up selling it - I can get anywhere I need to via cycle, and there is *nowhere* to park in San Francisco. Not a single spot anywhere, I checked. Those of you who know me will also be aware that Big Band swing dancing is a huge part of my life now. That's one of the reasons I moved out here - SF is the swing capital of America - joy joy! And happily, it hasn't let me down, it has in fact exceeded my expectations. The swing scene in Colorado was great, but nothing can compare to SF. There are thousands of wonderful Lindy Hoppers and an incredible band scene and great clubs and big happy floors and ... *ahhhh* And at the end of the night my apartment is only a few minutes away. Speaking of apartments, it's amazing I actually found one. It's a good price for San Francisco, which means I found a one bedroom apartment that is actually the same as the mortgage on my 5 bedroom house in Colorado. But I'm more than okay with that, since my pay almost doubled when I moved out here. Wheela! The apartment is in a great area - very Madison-like. It's about four blocks North of Haight - I'm only about 7 blocks away from the famed Haight-Ashbury, where people are still allowed to be deviant. I'm about three blocks from the Panhandle, which is the tip of the enormous Golden Gate Park (now being renamed Kodi T. Bear park, in honor of my super dog :). I'm right near the center of San Fran, so everything is only a few minutes away by motorcycle (or an hour by car ;). Driving out here is big fun, the hills are steeper than some black diamond ski runs I've seen. It's boggling to drive up or down them. You really have to see them to believe them - I'm not exaggerating here. It almost makes me wish they'd get snow once in a while, it'd be a fun board ride. :) So - I got here on Tuesday, and I had to wait before I could start dancing. There are so many places to dance in San Francisco, but most of the dancers are rockabilly or jive (boring 6 and 2-step.. blah). The Lindy Hoppers have there own clubs and bands they like to listen to - I just didn't know where. So I had to wait until the weekend until I could go to Lindy In The Park - there's one in Berkeley and one at Golden Gate Park. Once I met all the Lindy Hoppers I knew where to go - there's a Lindy scene every night of the week. *big smile*. And lots of wonderful followers to dance with. Lindy In The Park in Berkeley is very similar to Denver. About 10 or 15 of the same people show up and have a great time improving their dancing. But I was not prepared for what I saw in SF. There were 40 or 50 people all dancing in this huge bandshell whilst a number of tourists watched. I'm told that it's lots of different people every time, and I believe it, I've met countless dozens of Lindy Hoppers and its only the tip of the iceberg. Yea happy joy happy happy! So I'm meeting people and dancing and having a great time, when one of the really good dancers comes up to me and asks me if my name is Dave. Turns out to be Lara Venard - one of my High School buddies - she moved out to SF a few years back and started Lindy Hopping about the same time I did, almost two years ago. Crazy. So - the dancing is amazing. My animals are all doing *wonderfully* now that they aren't in the cab of a Ryder truck anymore. Getting to California took two days of driving, and in the middle of the stiffling heat of Nevada my air conditioning broke down. That was fun. The cab was amazing too, they gave me a larger truck than I wanted - they gave me a diesel, and that plus the car carrier that I had my full-size van sitting on made me a monster. I was the size of a normal length semi. Let me tell you - driving that 40 foot monster through downtown San Francisco during rush hour was quite an experience :) Well.. that's about it for now. Suffice it to say my life is going great. I can actually be happy that HP fired me - life in SF is a massive improvement over corporate life in a boring town (no offense to those of you still living in Fort Collins :). I just didn't fit in there and I fit in much better here. For those of you who knew Kodi Bear back in Madison, you'll remember how I would make it about a block at a time when I walked her before I'd get stopped with people fawning over her. She's a great dog. Anyways, I lived in Fort Collins for four years and that happened about three times. Now I'm in San Francisco and people love her again. I can't believe I spent four years in a city that didn't like my dog. She's happier too. Lots of dogs to play with at Golden Gate, and she loves the renewed attention she's getting from people on the streets. It's not so bad for me either :) What the heck is wrong with you? Nothing, in my opinion. Well, nothing according to what happened above. I just believe that people shouldn't be afraid to talk about sex. Evidently corporations don't want their engineers to be good in bed - else they may get a life and not spend so much time at work. Update: 2004/12/15 Hewlett-Packard and Intel ended their partnership to make CPUs together, and, get this, the HP Itanium team (this is the CPU lab I used to work for) has been acquired by Intel. If I had stayed at HP I would be working for Intel now. Ugh! Again I have to thank my luck that I was fired from that pit of despair. And to the managers who screwed me over, have fun working for Intel!
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