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Friday, February 03, 2006

SmokingPipes.com, the Geek-clusion


No pipe pic today, but instead some pics of pipemaker past (Say that fast!). This is relevant to my closing question for Sykes Wilford, in this conclusion to our three-part chat about pipe stuff. The photo above is from 1990, and shows (from left to right) my friend 'Mazing Mike, pipemaker Paul Tatum, myself (in the red and minus 100 pounds...), and on the right is Eric Bloom, lead singer of the rock band Blue Oyster Cult. This was snapped at the 1990 Atlanta DragonCon, where I had my first public art exhibition. And now, for the final question for Sykes:

What is the single geekiest thing you have ever done? I went to DragonCon in costume - can you top that?

I'm not sure. I'm pretty geeky. I once spent a whole night, about ten hours, rewriting our tobacco purchasing equations (those that take the raw sales data for individual items and tell us how much to stock and purchase and how frequently) so that they factored in all sorts of different data, with multiple logarithmic curves. Compared to the old ones, which were very simple, I think I saved the company all of about fifteen dollars over a year. Of course, if I had calculated ROI on that, I would have spent another six hours and I would still have done it just to amuse myself. Still, if I can call it work, I feel better about blowing ten hours writing absurd equations in Excel (to test and model) and translating them into SQL and CF
(so they actually use our data).

And, in my defense, sometimes I do things that seem silly when I do them and they end up shaving hours of labor out of a process (meaning that that person can do more and we can lower prices).


This reminds me of the definition of an engineer - a person who will spend three hours figuring out how to do a two hour job in one hour. However, regarding relative geekiness, I think I win over Sykes. I can counter his coding with the fact that I wrote entire adventure games in BASIC for my old TRS-80, AND have installed dual-boot Linux partitions on no less than four different systems... just for the fun of playing with them. Not to mention that I've donned elf ears on a couple of occasions (Though, to salvage at least a little personal respect, I have never, ever dressed as anything from Star Trek). To close up, here is another photo of Emily and myself dressed for a Halloween party. She's flashing a bit of leg while I'm wondering how long my makeup will stay on. It's worth noting that my wizard's staff was a fun hodgepodge creation of mine - I wired a few toys together to create a staff with buttons on it that would make bomb noises, explosions, lasers, and when I really wanted to be dramatic, another button would cause thunder rumbles as the globe on top lit and flashed. Oh for the days of mis-spent youth...