A Mirror into Ken's Past -- 1998

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Carolyn and I went to visit Alaska for the Winter Coronet Tournament in the SCA that year which was being held outside of Anchorage. We stayed at Kylson and Robin's. This trip is one that Carolyn will never forget. We saw moose, she fell in love with how beautiful Anchorage is in the Winter (she hasn't seen it when the snow's all dirty <g>), Kylson drove us around to places so we could see sites. She had a GRAND time. On one trip Kylson took us around part of the inlet to Hope. On the way, we hoped to shoot some ptarmigan, but they were scarce that day. So, we pulled over at one point and shot a can really good. Actually, Carolyn and Kylson shot the can. I watched and took pictures.

I don't want to embarass Kylson here, but he was not having fun in one aspect -- on the trip to Hope, when coming back we ran out of gas. Not a big problem as it wasn't real cold, and the Good Samaritan Laws in Alaska came through as someone gave us enough gas to get to a station about 3 miles or so down the road. The next day, however, he took us down to where he worked to show us a good view of Denali (Mt. McKinley for those who don't know that Denali is the correct name for the mountain), and in avoiding a big rig we slipped into a ditch and had to get help to get out. He was embarassed, but frankly we had fun anyway, so we didn't mind. Carolyn really tried to convince him that it was okay.

The SCA event was great, too -- I don't want to gloss over it. Everyone was wonderful.

Borland had gotten Visual dBASE out during the Fall and Winter of 1997. I put in to do a couple of papers for the next conference, and got accepted to do them. I worked hard on those papers, working with the developers in some cases. That was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.

The world can go sideways on you in the weirdest ways.

Borland had not been doing well financially for some time. There had been a few rounds of layoffs in the past that I had managed to avoid. Well, I didn't this time. I got a bit of warning from the department manager (not the QA manager, but the head of our division) that I might get the ax, but he was going to "fight for me". He lost the fight. Because of his warning, however, I got my resume out, and one head-hunter contacted me the week before I got laid off. I made arrangements to have an interview on a Tuesday. That Monday, I got laid off.

I had the interview for a job in Palo Alto -- it still meant a horrendous commute, but they liked me, which was good. That Thursday I had another interview which was for a company that was VERY local to where I lived (maybe 10 miles or so). Unfortunately the chemistry was wrong there. Friday I got an offer from OmniCell, Industries, in Palo Alto, and on that next Monday I started working.

The severence package from Borland had been pretty sizeable, so Carolyn and I did a few "extravagent" things. We replaced the sofa and old press-board furniture in our living room with a really nice hide-a-bed sofa and a good wall-unit entertainment center. We bought a pavilion for use in the SCA (we'd been using a pup tent, which is no fun at all with some of our outfits). I bought a pilot (PDA). A month or so later, I got one for Carolyn when she realized how useful it could be.

Unfortunately, the job at OmniCell really didn't gel for me. Now, don't get me wrong -- the people I worked with were nice, the company was (and still is) a good company. I just wasn't comfortable doing the testing I was supposed to be doing, and the lack of direction from the manager who hired me didn't help much. Oh well ... add to all of that the commute to Palo Alto, which meant crossing the Dumbarton Bridge (crossing any bridge for a work-commute in the SF Bay Area is horrible). If an accident or stall happens on this bridge, traffic is stopped forever (well, it seems like forever).

Not much to say. The SCA happened, we did things. I don't think we did Disneyland this year. It was not an exciting year, it just sort of ... was.

I did go to the Borland Conference and present the papers I had written. This was the last year that Borland had a dBASE Track at the conference. I was also admitted back onto TeamB, which was great, except again, Borland was in the process of dumping dBASE (well, just not doing anything with it).

I went to the TeamB conference as well as the Borland Conference. It was a frustrating time, as the R&D team wasn't really doing much with dBASE, and the BDE folk were being nasty about it. But, oh well. The dBASE crew stuck together for the most part.

While I was at the TeamB conference, I talked to Carolyn on and off. Her sister had taken her cat in to the vet for something, and saw a pair of kittens that were living there and needed a home. They'd been abandoned. The ladies who worked at that vet really took good care of them, and they had great personalities. So, with my blessing, Carolyn had Gail bring them to our place, paid the fees necessary for neutering, all of that. When I came home and met them, I couldn't help but love them. They're beautiful cats. One is short haired, the other long. The short haired one hardly ever says anything, the long haired one yeows sometimes, but isn't really talkative. Carolyn bonded with the long haired one, and the short haired one bonded with me pretty fast. When given a list of possible names, I chose "Rebo and Zootie" (a couple of commedians in Babylon 5), the names sort of fit.

Not much here, except that I think it was this fall that someone really damaged the car in an accident. This was my third time getting rear-ended, and I was getting very tired of it. Coming home from work, in the Hayward area on Highway 80, some bozo wasn't paying attention to the fact that the traffic slowed down, and slammed into the guy behind me. He slammed into me, and hit his head on the steering wheel, which meant he lost control of his car. He slammed into me again, and again, and again. The car took $6000 or more in damage, and frankly I was surprised the insurance company didn't total it. Instead, it all got fixed, but it took nearly a month. I was using a rental car for that time. I also had some soft tissue damage done to my lower back, which unfortunately still gives me trouble. That kind of damage isn't something that modern medical science can do much about, darn it. I know people with worse damage, but there are days I sometimes wonder.

Added later: My father passed away of a massive heart attack in December of this year. He was in his mid 60's ...

A Few Photos
(These are thumbnails, click on them to see larger versions with text explaining them)

Trip to Hope, January of 1998

From the Hope
side of the inlet

Snow-laden trees

A Moose

Can Hunting

Can Hunting

Can Hunting

Other photos ...



Even more photos (from a family thing I wasn't at)

Bill Mayer

David and
his family

Uncle Hollis
and Cousin

Uncle Jim and
Aunt Judy

Grace Mayer

Mom and Scott

Mom, Nancy,
and David


Rose and Hollis

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