Corporate Trick-or-Treating

Each year on October 31, people here in the US take a day to lose their dang minds. They encourage their young children to don crazy outfits and gorge themselves on sugary and chocolaty substances provided by complete strangers. It is all in the name of fun and I too have fond childhood memories of “going trick-or-treating”.

When going trick-or-treating most parents take their children door-to-door around their neighborhoods and the vicinity to show off their costumes and collect sugary consumables from neighbors whom they avoid like the avarian flu the other 364 days of the year.

However, many large corporations encourage employees to also/instead shepherd their children in the safe and familiar confines of the workplace corridors, office-to-office or cubicle-to-cubicle, to receive their candy from colleagues and fellow employees. (Who, in most cases, are also total strangers.)

It is interesting what one can learn from a child’s parents or upbringing by observing them during these corporate trick-or-treating outings. Over the years, I have found many children of non-US citizens &#8212 mainly Eastern European, East Asian or Indian — are uncomfortable around people who do not look like them or are not White.

It is sad to watch a kid stop dead in his tracks as if mystified by the Black guy politely smiling at him as he is about to help himself to the bucket of candy sitting just outside the guy’s office. The other moment of disbelief is the kid you hear practically screaming, “Trick-or-Treat!” as she stops at each office down the hallway; but, once she reaches yours and spots its inhabitant she quickly goes mute. Embarrassed, her parents almost beg her to, “Say trick-or-treat, honey. Say trick-or-treat.” Meanwhile, the little girl is having none of it and continues on her merry way — helping herself to candy beforehand, of course. Next office: “Trick-or-Treat!

Parents, get some Black friends and make sure your kids are comfortable around all people…well, except the sickos. The world is not getting any smaller anytime soon so that barrier you are erecting around your offspring may become a prison.


Chocolate Fiend

My wife believes I have a chocolate addiction.

Admittedly, I do delight in consuming the finest bittersweet and milk chocolates from Holland, Italy and France. I have been known to wreak havoc on Ghirardelli chocolate squares as well. However, I turn my nose up at lesser domestic brands that are more sugar than cocoa (e.g., Hershey’s).

My new favorite store in the mall is Godiva by far. It is so bad I even signed up for their affinity program so I can be an uninhibited, card-carrying chocoholic. The rub: You must spend a minimum of $10 per visit to earn a stamp. Luckily, I have not had a problem meeting that requirement. We have gone to the store at least weekly. :ashamed:

This past weekend my wife and I were lounging in our apartment watching TV. She was sprawled out on the sofa alternating between what was on the TV and doing something on her laptop. I was situated legs akimbo in the easy chair thumbing through an electronics magazine with an occasional glance toward the TV.

Every so often I would remark to my wife how I was really in the mood for some chocolate. She suggested I walk to the nearby convenience store or supermarket to satisfy my craving. It was around 6:30PM when I started my proclamations so it was chilly, dark and damp outside and I had no desire to leave our warm confines. That did not prevent me from reminding her every so often of my chocolate craving. Irritated, she finally offered to go with me to pick up some chocolate. That was not my intent — as I truly had no desire to leave and would not ask her to do something I would not do — though I was touched by the offer.

Unfortunately, that meant I really could not continue nagging her about my chocolate craving unless I wanted a projectile hurled at me.

Several minutes passed then it hit me. I had a great idea for how to avoid similar situations in the future.

See, whenever we stock up on chocolate while at the store, it usually takes me less than a day (OK, 10 minutes) to fully deplete the stock that was supposed to last a week. You can say I lack self-control when the chocolate is conveniently located. My idea was to have my wife be the Keeper-of-the-Chocolate and provide me a little whenever I craved it. (Yes, kinda like how parents keep an endless supply of snacks for their children.) If done properly it would solve both the problem of me uncontrollably eating all the chocolate in our reserves and having to go out at inopportune moments to satisfy my cravings when there is no chocolate in the house.

She said, “OK,” with a sympathetic, pitiful look on her face as I sat beaming with my novel, long-term solution at righting one of the world’s wrongs.

Today we were trading instant messages — our preferred mode of communication during the workday — and she suggested I get acupuncture to address my “chocolate addiction”. I was beside myself with contempt. “Me! Addicted?!?” “I am not addicted,” I say even going so far as forwarding a link to the definition. “I have cravings ’cause I like chocolate, that’s all,” I say. I am getting worried because I am listening to myself and had to take a moment to consider, “Am I addicted to chocolate?” I quickly rattle off all the indicators and reasons why I do not consider myself an addict attempting to convince both of us.

I am convinced. I am pretty sure she is not.


New blog features

The following features have been added to my blog to make it a little more user-friendly and geeky. :nerd:

  1. A Site Statistics link in the Meta sidebar for quickly reviewing recent & top posts, commentators, etc.
  2. Threaded/Nested comments so related comments are grouped into a conversation.
  3. Emoticons can be included in comments by clicking on the provided toolbar.

I appreciate any feedback or suggestions you have for further improving my blog.


“Whidbey” has shipped!

This post is about the product/project I have been dedicated to occupationally for the past 3 years.

“Whidbey” is the codename for the set of technologies that form the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. It includes platform components like the Common Language Runtime, Web Services, ASP.NET and Windows Forms. It also consists of programming languages like Visual Basic, C++, C# and J#. Lastly, there are the tools and designers including Visual Studio, MSDN Help/Documentation, Team Foundation, Enterprise Development/Test and Visual SourceSafe.

I have managed a team of engineers responsible for the set of web development technologies that make up Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition (codename “Venus”) and are also included in all the other Visual Studio 2005 editions.

It is hard to believe the product we have worked so hard and long on is finally done and will be in customers’ hands shortly. Our goal was simple: To create the best development and design tool for ASP.NET 2.0 web applications. I am so proud of my team for the work they have done and hope our customers share our excitement about our product and our work.

If you or someone you know develops web applications for a living or as a hobby, download the free Express Edition and stop by The ASP.NET Forums to tell us what you think.

Dancing Baby


Talking about Hey Crackhead

I came across this open letter to crackheads worldwide, entitled Hey Crackhead, while visiting susiejones. The entire rant is disturbingly hilarious chock full of quotes like: “I would have to buy some crackpipes and tape them to my bike as a peace offering.” and “Now, I get that you love crack. That is totally understandable.”

There is a Tyrone Biggums (Dave Chappelle) skit in there somewhere.