Archive for May, 2004

Working from Home

Eric Bazerghi Working from HomeA couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to work from home for the day. I hadn’t worked from home in almost 6 months and it was just the perfect time to do so. Things were a little bit slow at work and everything I needed to do could be done remotely and via telephone. No meetings, no reviews, etc. And then, all hell broke loose. About 5 minutes after this picture was taken, a production server that I manage started acting up. CPU load went from a normal of 0.8 to an unheard of high of 188. That’s 235 times higher than it should be. Of course, this caused the main website to be nearly inaccessible, as well as some email services. All in all, it took me over 9 hours of straight work bringing the server back to its normal state. Oddly, I doubt I would have been able to accomplish this if I had been at work, with all the distractions, network policies and lack of reference material. Being at home on the deck, I was isolated with everything I needed to resolve any issues as they creeped up. By the time I shutdown my laptop, it was dark outside and I had a sunburn on my face and arms. It was all worth it though; it was nice to be able to take a quick break and play with my little daughter or just chat with my wife. Needless to say, if it wasn’t for my wife’s understanding that when I’m working from home, I’m REALLY working, I couldn’t have done this. You need that kind of support and understanding in order to do this.

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Washington, DC Traffic – My personal 26.2 miles of pure hell

Washington DC TrafficEveryday, I drive from my home in the suburbs of Northern Virginia to my office just inside the Beltway. How ironic that my commute is exactly 26.2 miles from my driveway to my parking spot at work; 26.2 miles being the exact distance of a ‘Marathon’. So each day, I get in my car with my cup of coffee and begin my trek with the hundreds of thousands of other commuters on the roads here in the Washington, DC area. As you can see from the first picture, I’m usually stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I swear I get some sort of a tan from exposure to all those red brake lights in front of me. Then, I get to look at the wide-open HOV (High-Occupancy Vehicle) lane on the left side of the road. Why don’t I commute with other people you ask? Well, I have a weird schedule so some days I need to be in early, other days a little later. So, the law-abiding driver that I am, I stay out of the HOV lane. Of course, that doesn’t stop hundreds of other drivers who are alone in their car. From my informal statistics that I gather everyday while stuck in traffic, I can safely say that approximately 60% of the cars in that lane are breaking the law. I love it when politicians keep saying “HOV lanes work! Let’s add more!”. Sure, they work, if you ENFORCE them!
And when traffic starts to get better, I get to deal with the incessant construction being conducted on most roads here. As you can see in the picture on the bottom-left, Virginia DOT just loves to block half the lanes of the Beltway during rush-hour. What was so important as to block traffic during such a busy time of day? When I passed the last truck, I found a small pickup stopped in the middle of the lane. A man with a small bucket of tar was taking his time ‘sealing’ small cracks in the asphalt. They couldn’t have done this during the night? Or maybe mid-day when traffic is a little less heavy?
Every once in a while, I’ll get lucky though. Maybe all the planets get aligned and there’s a perfect wind or something, but I’ll reach a point in my commute when the road is entirely clear, as you can see in the last picture. THAT is what I want to see each morning and evening during my commute. Think there’s a lot of traffic where you live? Come to the Washington, DC area for a couple days and drive around during rush-hour. I’m sure you’ll change your mind rather quickly.

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Who thought up this product name?

Creme Filled Long John CloseupCreme Filled Long JohnI’m imagining a room filled with marketing folks. They’re all sitting around, trying to come up with a clever name for a brand new snack cake product they would like to launch. One of the ‘brainstormers’ jumps up and yells “I got it!” We’ll call this giant Twinkie-like snack cake a “Creme Filled Long John”. And the rest is history. And someone paid good money for a ridiculous product name such as this…

I found this tasty treat while buying a soda at a gas station while driving down to North Carolina.