Philadelphia, PA

It's Philly this week.  I've got an interesting group who work for the same company last week's students work for.  Maybe I can come up with some kind of inter-city competition — a game, a puzzle, or something.  I'll have to think about that.  This week is all about making the OO transition, but this group appears to be a bit ahead of the group in Westborough so far.  We'll see.

Last week at about 12:30 AM on Thursday the fire alarm went off in the hotel (a Marriott Courtyard in Westborough, MA).  That's the first time I can remember that happening.  Fortunately I didn't have to leave my room, but it was very loud for a while.  From what I hear at the desk the next day the problem had to do with a lint trap in a dryer.

That's odd, but not necessarily remarkable.  What's interesting is that Friday it happened again. 🙂

Xander went on a retreat over the weekend with the church youth group.  I managed to make it home just in time to go with Ginger to drop him off.  Afterwards, Ginger had tickets to a big gala at the Hartford Civic Center hosted by CATIC (Connecticut Attorney's Title Insurance Corporation, her biggest client).  We decided to make an evening of it and spend the night at the Hilton attached to the Civic Center.  The Boston Pops were playing and did a great job.  Anyway, late at night — right about 12:30 AM, actually — the fire alarm went off there, too.

I had no intention of walking down 19 (!) flights of stairs.  Fortunately, I didn't have to before the fire department called it off.  This time it was a bunch of kids smoking in a bathroom that did it.

Can I be petty for a moment?  The Pops were great, but they also hosted a tenor who sang for about 40 minutes during the concert.  He apparently had played Jean Valjean in Les Miz for nearly 3000 performances on Broadway and on London's West End.  He sang "Bring Him Home" (of course), and "This Is The Moment" from Jekyll and Hyde, and "Music of the Night" from Phantom, and several others, including a bizarre rendition of a Barbara Streisand song.  I can't remember which one, which is probably good.

Look, the guy could flat out sing.  He really was good.  But honestly, I can do that.  He's better than I am, but he wasn't 3000 Broadway performances better than I am.  There really was very little he did that I couldn't do almost as well on a good day, for a lot less money.

I'm not really upset about it, but frankly I would have liked it better if the Pops had just played more music instead.

(Okay, okay — How many tenors does it take to change a light bulb?  Three.  One to do it and two to say how they could have done it better.  Sigh.) 

My new Rensselaer class starts next Saturday.  This semester I'm doing the Developing Enterprise Applications class again.  You'd think that eventually I'd actually try to teach the same material more than once, but no such luck.  As I learn more and the field evolves, I wind up moving more and more advanced materials into the Web Applications class so I can focus on higher level stuff in the DEA class.  This semester I think we'll really dig into Object-Relational Mapping tools like Hibernate, or the ActiveRecord framework in Rails.  I need to spend more time on web services and SOA, too.

Of course, it would help if I actually wrote the syllabus.  Can you tell I'm having a bit of trouble getting motivated to start a new semester?

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