Archive for May, 2019

Fred Jablonski

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

Fred Jablonski’s water bottle, a blue one liter Nalgene bottle, sat on his desk long after Fred Jablonski was gone. He only lasted a day. Showed up and decided that the job wasn’t for him or something, we never knew. In fact, no one ever introduced him to anyone in the the department and no one told us he was gone. But his desk was still his desk months later, the water bottle gathering dust along with the standard office supplies, pen, pencil, stapler and notebook. Fred Jablonski was The Dead Man in Yossarian’s tent. No one could be assigned to that desk the water bottle gathered dust until we moved offices seven months later. But the myth of Fred Jablonski long after the desk and dusty water bottle were left behind.

Fred Jablonski lived on because he became a kind of Spartacus for the software development department. Everyone was Fred Jablonski. See, when we changed offices we also got we one of those phone conferencing systems which asked you to record your names and then announced you when you joined the call. This annoyed everyone. So when you attended a conference call you would be met with a roll call of “Fred Jablonski”, “Freeeed Jablonski”, “Fred Jaaablonski”, “Jablonski, Fred Jablonski” every time a developer joined.  The rest of the company had no idea who Fred Jablonski was which only encouraged us for a time. Eventually the company grew and many people even in the software engineering department had no idea who Fred Jablonski was. And so, eventually Fred Jablonski faded… 

Personal Best

Saturday, May 4th, 2019

This is Vinicunca []. Commonly called Rainbow Mountain or The Mountain of Seven Colors. This photo was taken some 5,000 meters above sea level after a grueling climb (According to Wikipedia Vinicunca is 5,200 m.a.s.l., but that is the peak and we did not go to the highest point we stopped just above 5,000, so I’ll stick with 5,000 as my personal best). The climb itself would not be too hard, less than 500 meters vertical over a 5 kilometer trail, if it were not for the altitude. The altitude makes every step up, even a gentle grade, work is and the last 40 meters or so is a real lung burning experience. Every 10 steps I needed to rest for 2 minutes to catch my breath. But I made it up, without a horse (you can rent a horse).

For perspective: The highest point in the continental US is Mount Whitney [] at 4,421 m.a.s.l. The highest point in Europe is Mount Blanc [] at 4,808 m.a.s.l. (if you count the Caucus mountains on the Russia-Georga border as part of Europe then there are several taller mountains: Mount Elbrus [] trumps me at 5,642 m.a.s.l. as does Dykh-Tau [] at 5,205 m.a.s.l. and Shkhara [] at 5,193 m.a.s.l. — but that’s lower than the peak of Vinicunca so I’m going to stop there.) And finally, Everest South Base Camp in Nepal is 5,364 m.a.s.l. (North Base Camp is in Tibet at 5,150 m.a.s.l.).