Monday, January 30, 2006

Job Hunting Feels Good

I like job hunting. I don't like being unemployed of course. I just like to play with my resume and post it on the internet. It's kind of like masturbation. It feels good and as long as nobody knows, it can't hurt. If someone found out, it might get embarassing. But hell, everybody does it! Of course, interviewing is a lot like mutual masturbation. Candidate: I really like your company! Company: You have great skills! Candidate: I would like to work here! Company: We want to give you money! Both: Ooooooooh! I feel so pretty. Tags:


I went to the dentist today. While I was sitting there, I thought to myself, "Ya know. Terrorism is bad but dentists are worse!" You might say, "What? How can you say that?" Well, let me splain. There is an industry that has formed around scraping crud off of people's teeth and occasionally pulling them out by the roots. It probably evolved from the people who pulled out people's teeth and stuck sharp sticks under their fingernails. Ok, maybe not. But didn't we learn about 100 years ago that cavities and plaque are caused by bacteria? If they can come up with an anti-bacterial creams to wash my hands and my dishes, why not my teeth? Because the dentists enjoy it! Now, I will be the first to say I don't think my dentist has ever sat around and old damp cave, eating old damp lamb chops, mumbling about sticking it to those hated americans. Oh no, he doesn't do that. But his breath occasionally does. Wow. The guy can get rank. He was breathing in my face and my eyes starting tearing up and I wanted some kind of tactful way to tell him so I said, "Dude. Ya ever hear of a dung beetle?" It came out like, "Uude. aahh ahah ahah ah ung eeetle?" He understood though. "Sure, I have." So I said, "Any idea why your breath smells like that ball of stuff they push around. Owwwww." And then said, "Sorry." Yeah I bet. "I had coffee this morning." So I'm thinking about this and I gotta ask, "Did you drink coffee or lick a monkey's ass? Owwww." I started bleeding badly at that point and had to quit talking. Dude, have a mint!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Living: BSG on DVR and Florida

Yesterday was a slow day. I slept late and woke up feeling bad. I went back to bed for a 4 hour nap. When I got up, my wife and son both decided to lay down for a while. I've been recording this season's battlestar galactica (BSG) on the DVR so I had a battlestar galactathon! Three hours of adama, starbuck and cylons. This season is starting off really well. I liked all three episodes. What's up with that nuke,huh? Today we got up and drove across town for an early lunch at our favorite vietnamese place. It's about a 45 minute drive but it's worth it. I always get the same thing: fresh spring rolls and pork and shrimp on broken rice. Good food. Afterwards we walked around the huge flea market on park blvd. I've heard it's the largest in florida. We got some books for my son and some big black sunglasses that fit over my prescrption glasses. I can't stand those little clip-on sunglasses. Now I look like a retiree. Oh well. The best part of all this? The temp was about 80 degrees all day. A little cooler in the morning but still warm enough for shorts, sandals and a t-shirt. I'd rather live in New Orleans but if I had to pick one reason to live in Florida, 80 degrees on Jan 22 would be it. Have a good one, LewisC

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Chocolate New Orleans

Earlier this week, New Orleans' mayor Naggin made a comment about New Orleans being a chocolate city. I'm not going to argue about how racist that sounds or how bad that is for tourism or even how mentally damaged he may or may not be, many others have been doing that. Nope, I'm going to take the high road here and talk about the gritty side of a chocolate New Orleans. My first stop is Blue Frog Chocolates. Check out the link to the "New New Orleans". That's a good read. Next up is Candy and Chocolate at CitySearch. If you have a sweet tooth, this is a good place to visit. And my last stop will be Cafe Du Monde. Not normally known as a chocolate shop but since I'm not particularly fond of coffee, I just happen to know they make a fine cuppa hot chocolate. So why did I write this? Because New Orleans is not a city of racists. It is a city of black people and white people and gay people and straight people and crooks and sinners and saints and just plain folk. There are winners and losers. Most people got flooded, a few didn't. Some live uptown, some down, some by the river and some by the lake and whole bunch live in between. They all love food and music and having a good time. Mostly they love food. And chocolate. All kinds of chocolate. And when a New Orleanian hears about a chocolate city, he imagines a kind of edible Oz. New Orleanians are not defined by the idiots they occasionally elect. Even though we do have a loooong history of electing idiots and crooks, don't let people like the mayor define who New Orleanians are. We snorted in disgust at his "chocolate City" and "god is mad" comments too. Of course, if you really want to see Noggin make an ass of himself, hop over to IFilm and watch the video. What an idiot. Later, LewisC

Saturday, January 14, 2006

New Orleans Takeout: The MRE

In December, I took my wife and son to New Orleans for a visit with my family. That trip and the things we saw, the people we spent time with, the gifts my son wracked up are for a different story. What I want to write about today is the nouvelle Orleans cuisine. For once I was able to bring back to Florida a real new Orleans meal.

The NEW New Orleans that is. I brought back 6 packs of what my family has been eating for the last few months. Everybody says they're great. My mom has her favorite. My sister's do too. When my brother-in-law was giving them to me he asked me not to take one of the pastas; his personal favorite.

My mom told me about the red cross coming by each day with water and food. MREs. Meal Ready to Eat. I can't tell you how consistently I heard, "This is really good food!" This from people who live to eat. People who on any particular day could, before katrina, get shrimp po-boys, gumbo, boiled crawfish, etouffee, and other excellent, make me drool, food.

Let me tell you what kind of person my mom is. She lost her house in katrina (along with everyone else in my family and all of their neighbors). She was living cramped up in an tiny apartment with 4 other people: no electricity, no water, no AC. The first floor apartment was a reeking, unhealthy mold factory. No TV, cable, internet, radio or newspapers; no news of any kind. The red cross was delivering food and bottled water daily. They were bathing with bottled water in addition to drinking with it and flushing the toilet with it. She had every right to be depressed and despondent. She could have been angry and resentful.

I asked her how she was doing. She said that red cross was bringing them food and water and that the food was military style (she can't seem to remember MRE). I asked her how it was. She said it was really good and that made her glad because now she knew that our military over in Iraq at least had good food to eat. That was so out of left field that I will never forget it and it makes me proud that she's my mom. Everything she has to worry about and she was worried about the troops.

But I still had a hard time believing that the military, with it's propensity for totally destroying food (at least on M*A*S*H and in the military cafeterias I've eaten in), could create these non-refrigerated bundles of goodness. After a little online research I find that they didn't get it right the first time. These "meals ready to eat" have at times been know as "meals rejected by everyone", "meals rejected by ethiopians", "materials resembling edibles", and due to a low fiber content, "meals refusing to exit". That one had me crying I was laughing so hard.

I didn't take a full case of the goodies. Just a sampling so that when we talked about them I would have some experience with them. I got one pack each of Beef Roast with Vegetables, Sloppy Joe, Chicken with Noodles, Vegetable Manicotti, Cheese Tortellini, and Jambalaya. I HAD to try the Jambalaya.

I packed them in an empty MRE case, i.e. A card board box. The box says that no additional refrigeration is required. That's true although from my research, refrigeration can extend their life. An MRE is planned to be "good" for about 6 months at 80 degrees and for about 3 months at 100 degrees. Katrina hit just in time for the MREs to sit in 100 degree weather. Hopefully the packs I got arrived at a later date.

Just for completeness, here is the entire list of entrees: Grilled Beefsteak with mushroom gravy, BBQ Pork rib, Beef ravioli, Cheese & vegetable omelet, Chicken breast filet, Chicken fajita, Chicken with salsa, Hamburger patty, Beef stew, Chili with macaroni, Penne with vegetables and sausage in spicy tomato sauce, Veggie burger in BBQ sauce, Cheese tortellini, Vegetable Manicotti, Beef enchiladas, Chicken with noodles, Sloppy Joe filling, Cajun rice with sausage, Pot roast with vegetables, Spaghetti with meat sauce, Chicken Tetrazzini, Jambalaya, Chicken with cavatelli, Meatloaf with gravy. I believe my brother in law said his favorite was the penne. I wish I had gotten one of the cajun rice packets. That sounds delicious.

So, what is an MRE? It's a brownish-tan plastic package. Inside that package is an entree, a desert, spices, napkins, matches, etc. It also includes a chemical heater. Real cool stuff! I'll talk about the heater first.

The heater uses water and magnesium (with a few other chemicals) to produce hydrogen. This chemical change produces heat. Basically, you have a little flat heating element in a plastic bag and an entree in a plastic cover inside of a flat cardboard box. You add a few tablespoons of water to the heating element and drop your entree into the plastic bag with the heater. Fold it up, put the entire thing back in it cardboard cover and in 10-15 minutes you have hot food.

Each meal is supposed to be between 1200 and 1400 calories. These are carb heavy. They're meant to suffice as the only meal for a day if they have to and are designed for soldiers, carrying heavy packs, who are on the move.

For dinner last night, my wife and I decided to try a couple of MREs. I grabbed the Jambalaya and she grabbed the cheese tortellini.

Here are the menus:

Cheese Tortellini:

  • Cheese Tortellini
  • Vanilla Poundcake
  • saltine crackers
  • peanut butter
  • spices apples
  • hot apple cider
  • plastic spoon, moist towelette, napkin, matches, salt, spices, gum


  • Cajun Jambalaya
  • Wheat Bread
  • Pineapple pound cake
  • Blackberry Jam
  • tobasco sauce
  • coffee (not CDM)
  • Vanilla Dairy Shake
  • plastic spoon, moist towelette, napkin, matches, sugar, coffee, gum, non-dairy creamer

I have to be honest. I didn't drink the coffee or the vanilla shake. I was stuffed from the meal. My wife skipped the hot apple cider. We ate the rest of it though.

So how was it? Well, my wife is a lot pickier than I am and she liked it. She put it on par with a microwave meal. I have to agree with that. I'd say it's a little better than almost any frozen meal I have ever had but not nearly as good as I would get in a restaurant in New Orleans. I've ordered Jambalaya in other parts of the country that I regretted putting in my mouth. I would eat this jambalaya again. The pound cake was downright delicious. The wheat bread was good, moist. It reminded me of middle eastern flatbread. I spread the jam on it. Mmmmmmm.

Because it was our first MRE, I over filled my heater some and my wife heated her spiced apples instead of the entree. Unlike the people in New Orleans who were living on this, she was able to nuke the tortellini in the microwave.

And that gets to the gist of it. These MREs are a novelty to me and my wife. I wanted to try them because my family spoke so often and so highly about them. But for a few hundred thousand people in New Orleans, a few hundred thousand more (million maybe?) in the gulf coast, these meals are what kept them alive. In the comfort of my living room, in the AC watching television, I can critique these meals. If I was sitting in my mom's house last September, November, etc, I would eat these things up. I think I would tell the world how good they were. They are good. In the right situation, they'd be great.

I am somewhat humbled by what all of my relatives have gone through, and are still going through. It's not over yet. All of them have shown a consistent strength that I hope I would have shown had I been there.

What more can I say except that at least I know they have good food to eat.

Katrina is gone but her impact remains. Everyone in the gulf coast can use your help. Check out Charity Navigator for a list of valid charities. Give what you can.

For more info about MREs, visit Wkipedia, How stuff works, or the Federation of American Scientists.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My Resume

To get things started, I thought I would post my current (as of July 2008) resume. Lewis R Cunningham Email: Blog: PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY: Application Developer, Designer, and Team Leader with over 15 years using Oracle; expertise with EnterpriseDB, Postgres and MySQL; foundational knowledge of Ingres, SimpleDB, BigTable and Firebird. Proven team leader with project management experience; has managed diverse staff and complex projects. Expert at OLTP data modeling, logical and physical entity relationship diagramming (ERD), data warehouse dimensional modeling (Star Schema), data mapping, VLDB design and tuning. Extensive SQL, PL/SQL & XML and ETL programming. Oracle ACE Director, published author and popular technical blogger. WRITING CREDITS: Rampant Tech Press EnterpriseDB: The Definitive Reference An Expert's Guide to Oracle Technology Oracle 10g Security and Audit Oracle Database 10g XE: Not just for Learners Making the most of Oracle SQL Developer Reports PROFESSIONAL SKILLS: Databases Oracle 7,8, 8i, 9i, 10g & 11g Postgres 8.0, 8.1, 8.2 & 8.3 EnterpriseDB Advanced Server 8.1, 8.2 & 8.3 MySQL 3, 4 & 5 DBMS Design Tools - Oracle Designer, Erwin, Silver Run RDM, Visio, Schemester, SQL Developer, Oracle jDeveloper Environments - Replication, Standby Database, Streams, Amazon Web Services Languages - EDB-SPL, PL/pgSQL, SQL, PL/SQL, XML, XSLT, XML, Java OS - Solaris, HP-UX, TRU-64, Windows, AIX, SunOS, MVS, Linux Leadership - Team Lead, Architect, Lead Designer, Project Management Certified Oracle9i PL/SQL Developer Oracle ACE - PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Senior Solutions Architect • Jan 2008 – July 2008 • EnterpriseDB, Tampa, Florida • Environment: Oracle, Postgres, EnterpriseDB Advanced Server, Standby, Replication, EDB-SPL, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Elastra, Rightscale, PL/SQL, SQL Developer, DB Architecture, XML Data Architect – Manager II • Nov 2006 – Jan 2008 • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Tampa, Florida • Environment: Oracle 9i & 10g, PL/SQL, TOAD, SQL Developer, Erwin, Database Design, DB Architecture, XML, XSLT, Data Warehouse, Data Mapping, Oracle Streams, Data Replication Database Architect • May 2006 – Nov 2006 • Shepherd Systems, Bradenton, Florida • Environment: Oracle 10g, PL/SQL, TOAD, SQL Developer, Erwin, DBA, Database Design, DB Architecture, XML, XSLT, Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence, Data Mapping, Dimensional Modeling (Star Schemas) Architect • December 2004 – April 2006 • Certegy Inc, St Petersburg, Florida • Environment: Oracle 9i/10g, PL/SQL, TOAD, MKS, Oracle Designer, CMM Level 2, DBA, Database Design, DB Architecture, XML, XSLT, Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB), Data Warehouse, ETL, Data Mapping, Dimensional Modeling (Star Schemas) Senior Oracle Applications Consultant • August 2004 – December 2004 • US Air Force, Randolph AFB, Texas • Environment: Oracle 8i, Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, Oracle HRMS 10.7, Oracle Applications AOL 10.7, PL/SQL, PL/SQL Developer, PVCS, StarTeam, Kintana Sr Project Director • April 2002 – August 2004 • Certegy Inc, St Petersburg, Florida • Environment: Oracle 8i/9i, PL/SQL, TOAD, JDeveloper, Java Stored Procedures, XML, BRIO, Forms 6i/9i, Oracle Designer, CMM Level 2, DBA, Database Design, DB Architecture, Team Lead, Oracle Advanced Replication, MKS Data Warehouse ETL Consultant • September 2001 – April 2002 • Certegy Inc, St Petersburg, Florida • Environment: Oracle 8i, PL/SQL, TOAD, JDeveloper, Oracle Warehouse Builder, Data Warehouse, ETL, Data Mapping, Dimensional Modeling (Star Schemas) Lead Architect • September 2000 – July 2001 • NDSi, Clearwater, Florida • Environment: Oracle 8i and 9i, Oracle 9iAS, PL/SQL, TOAD, JDeveloper, Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, Oracle Designer, XML, XSLT, Java, DBA, Database Design, J2EE Oracle DBA Consultant • May 2000 – September 2000 • Veterans Benefits Administration, Seminole, FL • Environment: Oracle 8i, PL/SQL, TOAD, Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, Oracle Designer, DBA Lead Developer • February 2000 - May 2000 • NDSi, Clearwater, FL • Environment: Oracle 8i and 9i, PL/SQL, TOAD, Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, Oracle Designer, DBA, Team Lead Senior Oracle Consultant • September 1998 - December 1999 • Loyola Marymount University, Valencia Community College, Cornerstone Propane • Environment: Oracle 7, Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, Oracle HRMS 10.7 & 11, Oracle Applications AOL 10.7, PL/SQL, TOAD, MS-Project, Team Lead, Project Management, Oracle Discoverer 4.1 Senior HRMS Technical Consultant • March 1997 - July 1998 • Yale University, New Haven, CT • Environment: Oracle 7, Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, Oracle HRMS 10.7, Oracle Applications AOL 10.7, PL/SQL, TOAD, BRIO, Silver Run RDM, Oracle Discoverer 3.1 Computer Consultant • September 1995 - March 1997 • Shell Offshore, Inc, New Orleans, LA • Environment: Oracle 7, PL/SQL, Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports, SQL*Plus, Application Design