Posts filed under ‘Derek P’

Easiest Lent Ever

Well, it turns out Lent 2008 was my easiest Lent ever.  The leap to giving up red meat wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated and I adjusted well to the text messaging restriction. 

Courtesy of text messaging, 2008 was also one of more amusing Lents.  I allowed myself to read text messages, but I wouldn’t write back.  This opened the door for a series of taunting messages.  When they knew I was on the road Derek, Sean and Larry all found it fit to send messages like this one:

From: Derek
Mar 17, 12:35 pm

Haha you can’t reply 🙂

Meanwhile, one of my old co-workers took a very different approach.  He simply sent text messages to tell me when HE was driving.

From: Mark
Feb 21, 6:44 PM

I’m driving.  🙂

Giving up red meat, on the other hand, has been educational.  It taught me just how effective ad campaigns are.  You have no idea how many people approached me, insisting that pork is white meat.  It’s not!  The National Pork Board can use its slogan all it wants, but nutrition-wise PORK IS RED MEAT.  From the USDA Fact Sheet on Pork:

Why is Pork a “Red” Meat?
Oxygen is delivered to muscles by the red cells in the blood. One of the proteins in meat, myoglobin, holds the oxygen in the muscle. The amount of myoglobin in animal muscles determines the color of meat. Pork is classified a “red” meat because it contains more myoglobin than chicken or fish. When fresh pork is cooked, it becomes lighter in color, but it is still a red meat. Pork is classed as “livestock” along with veal, lamb and beef. All livestock are considered “red meat.”

As far as post-Lent, I’ve sort of had quite a reunion with red meat (including that deceptive pork).  A Pot Roast Burger from Red Robin, Meatball Sub from Substation II, Pork BBQ from Due South and a Victoria Filet with Horseradish Crust from Outback have all been ingested in just this week.  Hopefully, this reunion is brief and I’ll settle down to substantially less red meat.

But on a positive note, chriggy and ClintJCL may be happy to learn that I’m still not typing away while driving.  I’m aiming for that change to stick!  🙂

March 28, 2008 at 10:51 am 4 comments

Painting Frenzy

Yesterday, Juliann Poff, her son Benjamin, and I made a trip up to Moneta, Virginia to help the Pinkertons paint their hallways and stairwell.  It looked like a daunting task.  There was a great deal of decorative trim to paint around and we had to take down some wall paper as well.  But teamwork proved to be effective and we knocked the whole task out in three or four hours! 

Some quick journal excerpts on the adventure:

 At first I fretted about our sloppy handiwork.  Then I realized it was only sloppy compared to Barbara Herrala (an impeccable painter!)  In many places, we could see misplaced paint or missed spots from the past TWO paint jobs!  Frequently I was trying to dab up a spill to discover it had been there for years!

Well there were some accidents we couldn’t blame on the previous owners of the house:

At one point I went to fetch a chair and I noticed I tracked paint into the kitchen.  My sandals had paint on the soles!  I removed them– but quickly got paint on my feet!  Even though the end result was the same (I had paint on me) when it was on my feet, I could feel the dampness and I knew it was there.  I knew to be more cautious.

My feet weren’t the only body part to get paint on it:

We also painted the ceiling.  That was the toughest work.  Especially upstairs where the temperature was noticeably warmer.  But as hard as it was, when I painted the ceiling there was a refreshing cool mist that descended my way.  I knew what it was — PAINT!  But it was so refreshing, I kept with it.  At the end of the day, my face and hair were littered with delicate little white specs.

Anyway, it probably doesn’t sound like fun, but it really was!  Even the drive was filled with good conversation and went by quickly. 

Plus we got free pizza and sweet tea!  

August 20, 2006 at 8:07 pm 4 comments

System.IO.File.Exists Default Directory with ASP.NET App

Derek Pinkerton and I recently ran into this working on the latest QualTrax code!

We have a class library that reads from a custom .config file— aptly named qualtrax.config.  One of the first things we do in that class library when we are retrieving a setting is verifying the file exists.   It’s a simple call something like:

if (!System.IO.File.Exists(“qualtrax.config”))
{
   //Our Error Handling
}

Because we are not specifying a directory, it is checking for the file in the current directory.  With debugging in our test Windows application, this “current directory” is pretty intuitive.  It’s looking for the qualtrax.config file in the \bin\Debug folder.

When we started using the library in an ASP.NET application, however, the expected location of the qualtrax.config file was not as intuitive.

Right off the bat, it was not able to find the file.   So I copied it into the website root so it sat side by side with web.config.  Still the file could not be found.  I put it in the bin directory.  No luck.  App_Data directory.  No cigar.  We knew it wasn’t permission errors because when Derek hardcoded the path, it was able to read the file just fine.  We just didn’t what directory it was trying to look into by default.

I was about to embark on a pretty inefficient journey when Derek said, “I’ve been meaning to try using filemon to see where it is looking.”

So it was FileMon to the rescue.  We installed it and turned on capture right before our System.File.IO.File.Exists call and then checked the log.

353 4:12:26 PM aspnet_wp.exe:5412 QUERY INFORMATION C:\WINDOWS\system32\qualtrax.config NOT FOUND Attributes: Error

This won’t be the end of our efforts on the matter, but there are two morals of the story thus far:

1) If you are doing a File.Exists call in an ASP.NET application without specifying an explicit directory and things seem to be missing– it very well may be looking in the Windows\System32 directory! 🙂

2) FileMon proves time and time again to be a very valuable troubleshooting tool.  In the past, we’ve found it especially helpful with permission problems.  Shame on me for not thinking of it sooner.

June 16, 2006 at 11:02 am 4 comments


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