Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Articles tagged with life

Twelve days later | 19 April 2015

It's been twelve days since my shoulder surgery so I thought I'd post a summary of what I've been up to.

In the first 24 hours there was an issue that cropped up at work. The problem was caused by an update to some software released by another group in …

In the beginning | 5 October 2014

My first programming language was some variant of BASIC on a VTech Precomputer 2000. Then one day I discovered that a copy of QBasic was included with DOS and began using it to program. I wrote software to add and subtract arbitrarily long strings of integers (I don't think I …

Caller ID blocking options | 25 September 2014

I've been considering asking my company to drop my work cell phone plan and pay for my personal cell phone plan. Some people might cringe to be more accessible to their company but work already calls my personal phone all the time. Therefore, the biggest concern I have about doing …

A change of scenery | 29 June 2014

I am absolutely lost on this computer of mine.

When my old PC finally died and I built my new one, I tried several different Linux distributions and was dissatisfied with each for some reason or another. I ended up defaulting to Ubuntu because it had the fewest hardware problems …

And after four days | 9 April 2013

And after four business days we're back in extended hours. At least I got a two-day weekend out of it. I didn't even make it into the building before I found out. I am absolutely exhausted and uninspired.

April didn't come soon enough | 1 April 2013

Man alive, I've been working 12-hour days, seven days a week, for almost the entirety of March. It has been grueling. During this time I gained 10 pounds due to atrocious eating habits (like eating right before bed at 3:00am), my voice has become damaged thanks to stress- and …

In Europe, day 4 | 6 February 2013

Although my days have been largely consumed by meetings and discussions I've been finding time to enjoy Zaltbommel and its many restaurants.

Yesterday for dinner I had duck liver, quail, candied apple, pork and mashed potatoes, crème brûlée, wine, and a delicious Trappist beer named Dubbel at a wonderful restaurant …

In Europe, day 1 | 3 February 2013

I don't expect that I'll liveblog my trip to Europe, but I did have a great first day and I wanted to let everyone know that I made it safely.

My coworker and I arrived in Amsterdam at 7:30am, and we quickly got the rental car and headed to …

I'll be in the Netherlands | 13 January 2013

Hey everybody, I'm going to be in Zaltbommel and Waardenburg, Netherlands starting February 4th for two weeks. If anyone would like to get together with me while I'm there, please let me know! I'd be delighted to meet with you, have a drink, and talk about feedparser or Python in …

A learning experience | 13 January 2013

While at a birthday party for a lesbian friend of mine, I was the only straight guest at the party.

Birthday girl : "We're all doing jello shots!"
Me : "I've never done jello shots."
Birthday girl : "Well you can't use your finger! You have to use your tongue to get all …

And now I look around | 1 October 2012

Work has been very demanding throughout the month of September. The sheer number of hours I worked, especially for the final week, is staggering. On Monday, for instance, I worked from 9:30am to 5:00am the next day (19.5 hours). I continued working 16 hour days throughout the …

Leveling up my tech | 12 August 2012

At the end of June I experienced a catastrophic hard drive failure: I turned on my computer and heard a metallic ping, followed by the gut-wrenching grinding noise of something dragged across the spinning platters. I turned the computer off immediately, but when I booted it back up a few …

Maintaining my humanity | 29 July 2012

Yesterday while driving home just before midnight I passed by a woman who was walking along the side of the highway. I saw that she wasn't carrying anything that would warrant walking (such as a gas can or a bag of groceries) so I circled back around, stopped, and asked …

A case for forgetting | 12 February 2012

My software never forgets what I tell it. I've accumulated over a dozen dozen passwords, door codes, and PINs over the years, but while I don't use most of those 150-some services these days they're still clogging my password manager. My address book has hundreds of entries spanning almost a …

Book burning | 6 February 2012

Recently I received an e-reader as gift, and I've been trying to decide what to read on it. Then I remembered I already own several books that I haven't read. Ooh, and then I can get rid of the physical copies and cut down on space! As a show of …

How old am I? | 4 February 2012

A number of my friends have their birthdays clustered at the beginning of February, and when the first birthday hit I fired off a quick message. However, my friend never responded, and as I pondered his silence it suddenly occurred to me: how old am I? I honestly couldn't remember …

Fixing more things | 30 January 2012

I've accumulated quite a backlog of things I'm wanting to fix. I've got an LCD monitor that probably has a bad capacitor, an LCD projector to diagnose (it looked like a bad capacitor when I opened it, but I couldn't get into it enough at the time to confirm that …

Fixed it! | 15 January 2012

After spending some time researching what I needed and where I could buy things from, I settled on a replacement iPod screen and a classy electronics toolkit from iFixit. They emailed a few hours later to let me know that the products had been shipped, and two days later everything …

Gifts and surprises | 3 January 2012

While one of my brothers was in town he gave me a fourth generation iPod with a severely cracked screen. He found it while going through some old stuff of his but couldn't remember where he got it from. After plugging it in and discovering that it could charge, I …

Academic dishonesty | 16 November 2010

In the past three months I've been surprised to hear of people not just committing, but actively bragging about, academic dishonesty.

Sometime in September I attended a performance at a nearby college. A friend of a friend also attended to get a program signed so she would get credit for …

Preparing to reload my PC | 26 October 2010

Almost a half decade ago I installed Ubuntu for the first and only time. Since then I've simply upgraded to the latest version as they've come out, but some time back I decided it would be good to completely reload my PC. The problem immediately became "I have to back …

A new direction | 5 October 2010

I've recently come into some unemployment, and I'm trying to find ways to improve myself and/or the world as I search for a new job. I've got plenty of options, which is so sweet for me:

  1. Switch to a polyphasic sleep schedule
  2. Learn Javascript
  3. Bicycle the city for exercise …
LCD monitor repair | 14 August 2010

Last weekend a friend gave me a 20" LCD monitor, saying simply that it didn't work, but that I could have it.

That evening I disassembled it and discovered that it had five blown capacitors. No problem! I ordered the replacement capacitors from digikey.com, and tonight I soldered them …

Mad mad mad world | 29 July 2010

...and when I opened the power supply I discovered a large hunk of clay stuck to the side, right next to the fan. Taking a screwdriver, I chiseled at the blob. It split in two, revealing the inside to be hollow, and out tumbled - I counted them all - 15 spider …

Teetotalers | 9 July 2010

I have been lying awake for over an hour, and it finally occurred to me that I could drink something strong to help get my brain to stop thinking. I went to the cabinet and discovered that someone has locked up every bottle of alcohol in the house, and didn't …

Disinterested glad-handing | 28 June 2010

On Friday morning I configured some hardware at one client site, and was pleased when the process took significantly less time than I had expected. Unfortunately, I arrived at a client site that afternoon, feeling invincible, and brisked through brimming with greetings and casual compliments. After a short while I …

A certain lack | 13 May 2010

I've been fairly dissatisfied with my personal life of late (actually, that's been true for months, but I had a brief glimmer of sunshine for the past two or three weeks that has, at its end, highlighted the problem). I rarely turn my computer on, and I never do any …

After further consideration... | 6 May 2010

In the past week or two I've been having trouble interpreting things correctly the first time. I have three examples of the problem (and these are, verbatim, what I thought or said):

Billboard for FAA Credit Union : "We're made of 40,000 people just like you."
Me : Wait, I'm not …

Bicycling | 28 April 2010

On Saturday I bought a bike and all of the accoutrements that could be expected. Although I biked home from the shop, I consider tonight's ride its maiden outing.

My first goal in buying the bike is to stop driving to work. I know that getting some exercise will instantly …

New Balance | 29 March 2010

Toward the end of February I bought new shoes from New Balance, which has been my shoe company for almost a decade. I've always been pleased with the quality of the shoes, but after only four weeks of wear, my new right shoe began making a clicking sound.

I drove …

A productive day | 25 March 2010

Today was definitely a productive day. I feel like I accomplished a lot.

Physicians and Surgeons | 10 February 2010

Last night my mom fell in the icy darkness outside of our house and injured her wrist. To schedule an X-ray this morning she called Physicians and Surgeons, located at 900 Porter Avenue here in Norman, OK. She is currently uninsured.

When she called, she was told that they didn't …

Helpful, miserable I am | 10 December 2009

This evening while driving home from work I happened to see a woman walking along the side of the highway. She turned briefly to oncoming traffic and threw her arm and thumb out wildly, obviously trying to catch the passing traffic's attention. For some reason I felt compelled to stop …

A simple metric | 9 November 2009

If the name of the food product takes up less space on the packaging than the list of things that it doesn't have in it, I don't want it.

Do you want a cookie? | 26 September 2009

While working on September 11th, I had a number of computer boxes to open and tear down for a lady. I whipped out my trusty box cutter, made short work of the boxes, and commented to the lady how useful the tool was. She turned her eyes down and raised …

Waxing miserable | 21 March 2009

If you've seen me in the past few days, you know that I've let my beard grow out. I prefer to be clean-shaven, but I've been wanting to try and wax my face, since shaving always seems like such a waste of time.

So. I spent over an hour applying …

The eviction notice | 6 February 2009

On Wednesday, January 28th, I received a delightful note in the post: "Landlord's Ten Days' Notice" (sic). The note informed me that if I didn't cough up January's rent by Friday the 30th they would file suit to have me forcibly removed. "That doesn't sound right," I reasoned. "My rent …

2008: The Year in Review | 2 January 2009

My academic career
June marked my official graduation from Northwestern University, and so I now have a math degree. (What I'll do with that I still have yet to decide.) I was pleased as punch that so many of my good friends from college were able to make it to …

A good Monday | 16 December 2008

Today a man came into the toy store and announced that he wanted to buy toys for our Toys for Tots bin. He wandered the store and collected many items. His grand total was $220 before a 20% discount, and he walked out of the store as empty-handed as he …

$125 in the morning | 9 October 2008

After opening an account at Chase a few weeks back, I received a mass mailing from same. "$100 if you open a new Chase account!" So I headed to Chase and asked if it would be possible to grandfather my account in as a new account with the $100 offer …

Donating, discovering | 7 October 2008

I recently realized that there is a library and a Salvation Army thrift store within walking distance of my apartment, so I've been busying myself cleaning out boxes that have languished in my closet for a while. I guess I should cut down on the amount of "stuff" I have …

Cottage cheese | 29 July 2008

For years my mom made me eat cottage cheese. I hated cottage cheese. Fast forward to the present: I tried cottage cheese again for the first time in something like a decade, and guess what? Cottage cheese is still COMPLETELY UNPALATABLE. That is all.

Of molds and such | 9 June 2008

Once again it's summer in Evanston, and the humidity is wreaking havoc on my perishables. Today I discovered that a uncut pineapple, a pomelo, and a loaf of bread were consumed by mold. Last summer I suffered greatly due to the humidity, including expedited milk expirations, and the loss of …

Hadouken! | 23 May 2008

Okay, SO, I'm totally throwing myself a party in my honor, and to add pride to pretentiousness, I want everyone to check out the invitation and mark whether you're coming or not so I know how much to pat myself on the back for a party well-thrown.

My birthday party …

Hiatus | 3 January 2006

Effective immediately, I'm on hiatus.

My job and my future | 6 December 2005

I've become more and more dissatisfied with my job at the Health Service, for three immediate reasons: ideological differences, political pressure, and future career options. I'm concerned about my future.

Static Shock | 2 December 2005

I've been really struggling with static electricity.

Perfect Dark Zero | 23 November 2005

Perfect Dark Zero is an OK game, but I don't recommend buying it.

Conversions ain't easy | 20 November 2005

My attempts to turn a Greasemonkey script into a full-fledged Firefox extension have proven difficult.

Medic! | 18 June 2005

The site will be down for a while.

Fans and naps | 8 June 2005

Ah, blown transformers. I don't think there's anything as inconvenient.

WTF | 3 June 2005

My test went terribly. I might not even pass the class. Thanks...for NOTHING, professor!

Jarringly abrupt | 3 June 2005

I bought a wireless keyboard, and I'm moving furniture in my room. ~ Fin

God is awesome | 2 May 2005

How God orchestrated getting me to a retreat, to hear exactly the right thing at the right time.

Upbeat yet beat-up | 28 April 2005

People are coming to visit me in the coming months, but I've also got things to be unhappy about

On the prowl | 25 April 2005

The ladies working at CAPS have decided to conspire to find me a girlfriend.

45 equals 900 | 21 April 2005

How I turned my housing priority number from 45 into 900, and how God changed it back.

This Present Darkness | 11 April 2005

I purchased "This Present Darkness" by Frank E. Peretti. It rocks.