It Says Random Thoughts, So…

The end of a very good day.

The tag line. Of this blog. Up there, it includes “random thoughts.” Originally, it contained “randome” thoughts. The Word Press theme editor didn’t have spell checking nine years ago. I know how to spell “random” but sometimes, keys get in the way of my fingers and I end up with extra letters at the end of words. Fortunately, none of you were here for my first blog post.

I’m turning to random things, because, although Mondays are normally a day for my more serious thoughts, it’s hard to go down that road and ignore the elephant in the room stomping around the globe, and I don’t want to add to the serious reading we’ve all been doing on that subject. I was thinking of sharing some funny stories based on blog posts I read this weekend. I got that idea after reading John Howell’s “Views of the Neighborhood” post (it was hard not to type “Bourbon” after John Howell’s). John’s post included a dress form and a baby doll dress form, which reminded me of a scary story.

Years ago, I was in our neighbor’s house (which is now our house) to feed their dog while they were away. I had asked if I could look at some construction in their basement. I went into the basement, and I stepped into a room that was under the front door. I was planning to see how a small addition had been framed, but instead, I nearly had a heart attack. The woman had a dress form in that room. It had a dress tossed over it and one of those Styrofoam heads people use for wigs stuck on top. She had placed a cheap wig on it and drawn on a creepy face with a marker. I left with my heart racing after deciding I could figure out the framing on my own.

Of course, I’ve been reading a lot of coronavirus news. Early on, there was mention of the fact that it didn’t seem to be affecting children. This led alleged intelligent media analysts to speculate as to why. It led me straight to “The Deadly Years” an episode of the original Star Trek series in which the landing party – always made up of the key members of the bridge crew and one or more expendable crew member (sorry Lt. Galway) – was experiencing rapid aging after beaming down to Gamma Hydra IV. But Ensign Chekov wasn’t affected, even though he was a member of the landing party. Dr. McCoy ran a battery of tests on Chekov and discovered that his immunity was related to being scared by the sight of a dead body. The good doctor concocted an adrenaline-based compound and cured the crew just in time for Captain Kirk to bluff their way past a Romulan warship. Ripping good stuff.

On a more, and then decidedly less serious note, I have been reading a lot about the thought-process and the actual process involved in framing a response to this virus. That led me to think of process flow and project management. In general terms, a project is supposed to go like this.

So they say.

Then again, I spent my career involved with the development of computer systems. At my very first job, at Burroughs Corporation in 1978, I was introduced to this version of the normal project flow.

Welcome to my world.

That diagram could have been applied to the majority of systems development projects I was involved with in the following 42 year.

Let’s hope this project proceeds along the more ideal process flow and that it winds its way to an early, successful conclusion. I wish everyone involved with all aspects of this worldwide effort all the best, and I offer them my gratitude. And I wish each and every one of you a healthy future.


68 thoughts on “It Says Random Thoughts, So…

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  1. You did fine on this rather serious Monday, and Maddie keeps things in perspective – walk for exercise and sleep for rest. :-) We decided to shelter in place at home, so I thought of you yesterday as we came through Hartford. Traffic was light, and we breezed right through. Lots of truck traffic moving product though. I’m thinking if the weather cooperates you may get started on some of your projects early.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. Welcome home. I hope to finish one section of the fence today. I’ll get the back fence later this week. I might get started soon, but I worry about evicting the cars from the garage too soon. You know what will happen the first day they have to sleep outside.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your ideal project management model reminds me of basic communication theory models that were supposed to explain it all. Studied them extensively, but found that in the real world it doesn’t work that way. Your realistic model rings true, just hoping to not find myself in the punishment for the innocent category. I’m very clear about who is guilty, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If your ice cream store is open, it means spring has arrived, Dan, irrespective of the fact that technically spring starts later this week. I worked in the government for most of my career, in both the military and civilian side of things, and confirm that your second model is not limited to the private sector. Of course, one of the real challenges is that, as Prussian military commander von Moltke so aptly said, “No plan of operations reaches with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main force.” I am heartened that the two parties are finally managing to work together on this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mike. For most of my career, I advocated breaking large projects into small chunks and working to be agile and resilient more that steadfast and locked into a plan, just because we agreed on a plan. It’s like a Monopoly, sometimes you go back three spaces and sometimes you advance to Boardwalk. But ice cream is available, so that’s part of normal life remains normal. We’ll just stand a little farther apart in line. Have a great week.

      Like

      1. “Agile and resilient”–I like the sound of that. I made a quick trip to the grocery store early this morning and was pleased to see they had ice cream. Fortunately I did not need toilet paper, bread, or eggs for there was none. Take care and you too have a wonderful week.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My other half has gotten so paranoid, i am now in isolation too – I’ll be stir-crazy in 3 days, I’m sure of it.
    I can’t tell you what those white flowers are, but I don’t believe they are hyacinths.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks GP. It’s a good time to be in introvert. Someone will set me straight on the flowers. I think we’re actually a little sad the bunnies haven’t eaten them. I worry about the effects of isolation, job loss and the overall stress. I hope we don’t see a rise in domestic violence and other side-effects of the conditions we’re going to be facing.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s impossible to not think, hear or read about Covid-19. Anxiously waiting for reports to be more positive!

    I join you in thanking all those involved for their efforts to stomp out this virus, and wishing the worldwide population good health and a good outcome should they get it.

    Ice cream stand open! Yaaayyyyy!! 👏👏👏👏 Now that’s positive news!

    Yes indeed, Maddie looks like a very happy pup. So happy in fact that she must be giddy. She’s usually photobombing the shot, not stepping out of it!

    MuMu looks like she’s getting serious about permanently removing your glasses from her space. I’d be very mindful of that Dan!

    And MiMi ain’t fooling around either. In the last photo she’s saying, “Do you have a death wish?” Lol.

    Happy Monday. Happy projects. And stay out of basements!! Or at least bring the Editor with you for protection from those terrifying dress forms!! 😂😂😂
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – thanks Ginger! MiMi gives you two paws up on your caption.

      I have learned to move my glasses as soon as I hear MuMu coming in.

      Maddie is enjoying her walks. It was cold yesterday, so we walked at a brisk pace.

      No dress forms in our basement. Our friend was laughing herself silly when I told her. She said the same thing happened to a repairman who had to go in that room to clean up. I didn’t think it was funny.

      I think things will get worse before getting better, but I hope the draconian measures were forced to live with bring this virus to a quicker end, with fewer people suffering. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this. It’s a broad blanket prayer

      Like

  6. I am just trying not to get caught up in what I feel might be unnecessary panic like everyone else while going about my daily business and routine. Sounds like you may be thinking the same, yet we seem to be headed in the direction of a full-blown lock-down. Meanwhile, I still have to take my dad to the doctor’s appointment, and run other errands. Around my city, most business looks normal, my husband still went to work, we still went to the grocery store, although we did have to live-stream our church service yesterday. It’s hard to decipher what is overkill and what is necessary precautions. I stay home quite a bit anyway, but I still want to go do my normal activities. Are you going to interact less with the public or go about your normal routine?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am trying to go about my normal routine. It doesn’t include a lot of social interaction, minor amounts of shopping and other necessary activities. I did go to a restaurant on Saturday, as I usually do. I ordered take out, sat at the nearly empty bar and enjoyed a beer and some pleasant conversation with the bartender. I like to go out once a week for breakfast. I hope they don’t stop that, it’s hard to get eggs over easy to go. I worry about the employees of the places being forced to close, more than my missing the services. Thanks for reading. I hope you have a good week.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Caption: “It’s your funeral . . .” I love your charts! I think today’s model is almost . . . Identify – Panic – Panic – Blame. Typical. Calmer heads are making sense of things but there is still an undercurant of panic. We will survive this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MiMi like your caption, too, Pam. She and MuMu are urging me to listen to my friends online or suffer the consequences. I think we will settle into a weird new normal routine, I just hope we settle into it soon. Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. MiMi isn’t all that fond of being scratched. She likes to be brushed, but not so much by me. I give her a little scritch behind her ears or under her chin, if she’s in the mood.

      MuMu, on the other hand, loves to be scratched and brushed and demands both frequently throughout the day.

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  8. “Well! Of all the nerve!” That’s my Mimi caption, Dan. She looks a little put out.

    The mannequin in the basement was just creepy. It’s like coming across the Chuckie doll in the middle of the living room.

    You get 500 bonus points for weaving Star Trek in with the corona virus and its talking heads. I used a little Star Trek levity in our ladies’ bathroom at work. One of my co-workers was getting tired of singing Happy Birthday as she washed her hands, so I posted the intro words from the original series…”Space, the final frontier…” It takes about 20 second to say it all, but one could sing the theme song too.

    Wishing you a healthy week, Dan. Live long and prosper!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. “Space the final frontier…” is better than the ABC song.

      MiMi approves your caption, as long as it includes a paw-swipe (that came shortly after the photo). The dress form disaster made The Editor laugh. As she was reading, she said “I know where this is going.”

      Our governor just closed all bars and restaurants – I’m waiting to see if I will be able to order take-out on Saturday.

      Peace and long life

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A paw-swipe is totally appropriate. I approve as long as she doesn’t draw blood.

        I’m waiting for the bar and restaurant closures here, which I think they should do, especially because tomorrow is St. Patty’s day and there are those that will be unable to resist.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree. Maintaining a distance on St Pat’s would be problematic. I tend to go during the slowest point on Saturday, but if I go, it will be to pick up a take-out order.

          For the record, MiMi swipes bt generally doesn’t draw blood. Except when she catches the back of a fingernail.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Those little puddy tats are so cute. Your world….I was texting with my old work buddies last night. For so many reasons, aren’t you so happy you retired when you did? I know I am. Ah, the Hometown Crows and the out of towners….looks to be a good game. Take care, Dan. No one is even outside walking in my neighborhood. One more chemo session for me next month, and I am dreading the thought of having to go to the hospital. She had cancer, but that’s not what killed her There’s gotta be a joke in there….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was supposed to travel to Boston today for a small meeting (5 people). One of the other guys is in his late 70s and is getting chemo treatment every 2-4 weeks. We cancelled the meeting.

      We did notice fewer people out walking around this weekend.

      I am glad that I retired when I did. I enjoyed working from home occasionally, but I couldn’t do it every day for very long. Now that restaurants and bars are closed, it means most of my coworkers would be bringing lunch…I don’t even want to think about the kitchen.

      Like

  10. My uncle Serious Black was serious all week long. He never worried about being himself on Mondays. All the Cheryls in Ohio are on light duty. No more dine in. Carry out only. I am trying not to panic as I hear it will soon be warm enough to self quarantine and self hydrate in the garden. And I do think you are good on the hyacinth hunch. whoo hoo it is almost time to switch from coffee to other hydration units. Time to wake up uncle serious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the confirmation, John. Our Gov just put Cheryl on light-duty as well. Actually, since you can’t serve beer for take-out, he probably put her on the unemployment line. Fortunately, I can still open a beer bottle. I don’t always have lime slices, but I have lime juice, so I’ll make do. I usually do take-out anyway, so I’ll be good, unless the place decides to close instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your work flow chart made me smile. Sadly, it’s true though.

    The critters are looking good, and so did that soft serve chocolate cone!

    We’ve had snow, rain, and wind since Friday afternoon so, I’ve been in, but I’m hoping to get out and hit a trail and do some birding later this week. I need to stretch my legs, and get some air. I doubt I’ll see too many people out with me.

    Stay healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah, the stay healthy mantra goes for you, too.

      I will get to finish up the work on my fence this week. Nothing else going on here and nowhere else is open to do it. About the only think I can do is go food shopping, and that’s getting close to caveman style hunting and gathering.

      The animals are doing well. They seem to know we have a good supply of cat and dog food. I’m not as sure about human food, but how important is that?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, that’s two for Hyacinth. MiMi doesn’t seem to be too worried about the virus spreading. She’s an expert at staying in and self-isolation. I guess I need to think about sleeping 18-20 hours a day ;)

      Like

  12. I lived with the six-step workflow and in my twisted way usually gave a person some credit when he/she contributed zero and were just in the right place at the right time. It always amazed me when these folks actually came to believe they were a successful part of the project after the fact. Of course, they could never look me in the eye. I always thought I would keep these hangers-on in case the project went south. I could then point to them as the reason. None of the projects went south so I had to be content with shared credit and unearned bonuses. Super post, Dan. My caption, “Go bathe. You smell like dog.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooh, that’s a good caption, John and I could see MiMi going that route. Especially since she typically licks herself whenever I pet her.

      I, too, often gave the uninvolved their undeserved bit of praise. I might share the story of the one significant failure, in which I took full responsibility.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. There are never too many sunset photos. I think I need a Dairy Cream. I love your diagrams, and I actually understood everything. Well done, and a well said message. Stay well, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m sorry I had to laugh at your experience in the basement. I pictured it so vividly in my mind.

    Your version of the normal project flow is one of the best I have seen lately. Especially where the disillusionment and the subsequent panic set in. I felt those in my early days as a designer. I felt them a lot, and deeply. Things just never go as envisioned. In electrical designs sometimes we have to compromise so much. There is never an accurate answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this, Peter. I hope most of your projects go smoother and with less finger-pointing than the worst ones.

      The dress form thing is one I look back at and laugh.

      Like

    1. Sharp new avatar photo, Teagan. Looking good. The girls are all taking things in stride. As long as Maddie gets out for a walk now and then, she’s happy. The cats are either happy or they are their demands known.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Why thank you kindly. During the long lasting flu at Christmas I started having the feeling “I don’t know who I am any more!” So, I changed my hair from my beloved copper to rose gold. At first I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep it, but it is growing on me. Be well, be happy. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  15. The Star Trek ep I think of in connection with the coronavirus’ sparing children is MIRI.

    Hyacinths
    “If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft,
    And from thy slender store two loaves
    alone to thee are left,
    Sell one & from the dole,
    Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul”
    – Muslihuddin Sadi,
    13th Century Persian Poet

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Everything is closed here, Dan, to what purpose is totally beyond me. Schools, churches, gyms, BARS, restaurants, libraries, and the list goes on. This virus is not going anywhere and IMO it has not been put into proper perspective. Overblown out of proportion while the herd mentality, (thank you NEWS) is pounding down the doors to the markets leaving people fighting over toilet paper. If Hubby had his way, I’d be in this house 24/7. I don’t go about too much ‘cept for the gym so I’m doing workouts at home with resistant bands with excellent results. I refuse to get involved in all this fear.
    Anyways ….. MuMu clearly is saying something very nasty that I politely will not type here. Don’t you
    f ….. dare! The glare says it all. You’d better watch out for your glasses if you need them. I’ve had a cat already grab mine and run with them in his mouth. LOL
    Jump into your project and have fun! I’m really looking forward in getting into my gardens. And I’m trying so hard to rearrange my schedule so I have more time with my camera. Forget the insanity and just live the way you want!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. All will eventually settle down, Dan. Thanks to Hubby, we have enough to survive for at least one month. My big concern was not for us but rather our cats. I make their food which requires a lot of meat. I don’t have to be concerned about that for a good month. And at that time, as I said, hopefully we’ll be back to norm so that I can easily buy more meat and eggs.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Hah! I love the chart, I think I’ve seen it before, maybe even here.
    I’m not much of a chocolate lover, but that soft serve looks decadent good to me at this moment!
    I think the cat says, “Go. Just go.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good choice for the caption. MiMi approves. The chocolate flurry is amazing. Peanut butter, surrounded by chocolate, surrounded by more chocolate. The chart has been around for a long time, and I’m sure everyone can relate to it. thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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