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Happy Emmett Brown Day!
November 5, 2010

Charlotte: Week 1
July 16, 2010

Well, week one is down. The week at work was pretty non-eventful, I'm not really able to do anything because I still don't have all the proper levels of access. All I've been able to do is review an older version of the code base that resides on my PC and test-drive a testing version of the application, but I can't actually get in and change anything. I at least got my ID badge on Wednesday, so I can finally come and go without being signed in. The good thing about work is that they have all the amenities you need right on site. There is a food court, a gym, and a convenience store on the ground floor beneath me. A connected building has a cafeteria, a full Starbuck's, another convenience store, and various medical offices.

Outside of work, I have pretty much stayed inside my apartment. It's growing on me, but it's not yet fully there in terms of being "home." I went to a church nearby last Sunday. I'm not sure it's the setting I want; the pastor is good, but I want a more traditional service and church setting. I don't know if I'm going back this Sunday or if I will try somewhere else.

Hopefully, things will start to feel more normal next week. It would be nice to be able to do something at work. At least getting there and getting home is easy. The office is not much more than a stone's throw away from my apartment complex. I've even carved an alternate (almost backroad) route to get home a bit quicker, as Harris Blvd is extremely busy during afternoon rush hour, but it's not so bad in the morning for the amount of time I need to be on it.

In Charlotte Now
July 10, 2010

Well, today was the day. The movers arrived at my Greensboro apartment around 9:30 this morning, got loaded, and we were in Charlotte by noon.

Big thanks to my mom and dad for helping me move. I could not have done it without them.

Now, it's all about settling in. It's almost 8 PM now, and the reality of it is starting to hit me once again. The reality has always been there, but sometimes it weighs more heavily than others. Tomorrow morning, I won't get up and go to my church, I won't see my church family, and I won't have lunch with my parents after the service. I'll miss that. I plan on going to a church nearby in the morning, but I won't know any of the faces. It won't be the same.

Monday morning, I'll get up and go to a new place of employment. I may not have been satisfied with my old job, but I did like the people I worked with. I miss them already.

This change is almost too much all at once. But I trust it will become more comfortable, perhaps as early as tomorrow. That's my hope, anyway.

Moving to Charlotte
July 1, 2010

It looks like I'm on the road again. Last week, I was offered a position as a developer in Charlottte, and I accepted. I start on July 12.

I had the opportunity on my last round of job searching back in 2007 to go to Charlotte, but through great fortune I determined I was not ready to make that move. In hindsight, it was the best decision both professionally and personally, because I later discovered I was not as knowledegable of a developer as I perhaps thought I was and maybe would not have lasted very long in the cut throat contracting market of the time. I later found a position here in Greensboro that allowed me to grow and learn as a developer in sort of a self-directed manner, as I was working alone (sole internal developer for a small web marketing company) on many different projects of varying scopes where I could constantly try and learn new things without someone looking over my shoulder saying "this guy is a no-talent hack."

Of course, the downside to that is that I had nobody looking over my shoulder saying "this guy is a no-talent hack."

You see, being able to exchange ideas with and receive guidance from perhaps more seasoned developers would have also been very welcome. There is no doubt I learned a great deal going it alone, but there have been many times where I practically stumbled across better ways of doing things, usually after spending a great deal of time doing things no so well. The methods worked, but they could have been better all along. If I was working alongside other developers, I could have learned those lessons much sooner. As it was, I had to rely on "dumb luck" (along with development blogs and Q & A sites like StackOverflow).

Still, the past 2.5+ years have been a very valuable experience for me, and now it's time to move on. Now, I get the opportunity to go work for a large financial institution with several other developers and grow and learn even more, and hopefully at the same time offer some of my own expertise. I'm anxious and nervous, but I'm certainly more confident of my abilities this time around.

On the personal front, I'm also anxious. My mom and dad are here (in Summerfield). My church is here. Since the end of January 2008, I have been a sponsor of my church's youth group, helping my friend as he leads it. Every Wednesday, I've been there with the teens and have of course been on tons of activities with them. They're all my friends now, and it is hard to leave them. I won't be too far away; I will still be able to come up to church every few weeks, but I won't be able to see my parents, my church family, or the youth group every week as before. But hopefully I can connect with a church in Charlotte (I've already spent a considerable amount of time on the web looking) while still travelling home from time to time.

At any rate, while I'm nervous about the new job and sad to leave my home, I just want to get on with it, already! I realize that Charlotte is just a better market for developers, and it has been that way for a long time. It was true before the economic collapse in 2008 and 2009, and it is even more true now, since at least the job market for developers has recovered considerably in Charlotte (unemployment figures overall are still sky high), while it is pretty much dead here in Greensboro/Winston-Salem. The opportunity in Charlotte is good, I will still be close to home, and all this time thinking about the move is grating.

Wish me luck.

Song O The Day: Treasures, Thievery Corporation.

Duke as NCAA Champions - Part III
April 8, 2010

The other day, I revelled in the fact that "Duke had just stolen a title they had no business winning," which seems to say they weren't any good and didn't belong. That's not technically true.

Truthfully, they were ranked in the top 10 all year, and top 6 or 7 for the overwhelming majority of the season. They went 26-5 in the regular season, 29-5 after winning the ACC Tournament, and finished 35-5 overall, winning 18 of their final 19 games. They were a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, as well, so they were not exactly pretenders to the throne.

But at the same time, this Duke team just isn't a dominant team like in years past. They didn't have a 10-15 point advantage merely by stepping onto the court. They had to fight, scrap, and claw for pretty much everything. Of the 4 championship teams Duke has fielded, they're easily the weakest. In fact, of the 11 Final Four teams since Coach K arrived, I wonder how many of them this year's team could actually beat?

Let's go through the teams, starting at the beginning.

1986 - This team went 37-3 and featured Johnny Dawkins (Duke and the ACC's all time leading scrorer until 2006 when JJ Redick broke the mark), Mark Alarie, Tommy Amaker, Dave Henderson, Danny Ferry, etc. They made it all the way to the championship game but got beat by Louisville by 3 points.

1988 - Featured Danny Ferry, Quin Snyder, Phil Henderson, John Smith, Robert Brickey. Lost in the Final Four to eventual champion Kansas.

1989 - Largely the same cast as before, added Christian Laettner. They lost to Seton Hall in the Final Four.

1990 - Losing Danny Ferry and Quin Snyder, this team was led by Laettner, Phil Henderson, Robert Brickey, Alaa Abdelnaby, and freshman Bobby Hurley. Made it to the championship game, got utterly demolished by UNLV.

1991 - Led by Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Thomas Hill, and Grant Hill, this team upset undefeated UNLV in the Final Four and went on to defeat Kansas for their first national championship.

1992 - Second verse, same as the first. Laettner, Hurley, Hill, Hill, Brian Davis, and freshman Cherokee Parks led the team to a 34-2 record, going wire to wire as #1 (the weeks they lost, everyone behind them lost, too) and beat Michigan 71-51 in the championship game. This is also the year of what is often regarded as the greatest game in college basketball history when Duke beat Kentucky in the Elite 8 on a full-court inbounds pass from Grant Hill to Christian Laettner with 2.1 seconds left for the turnaround game winner from 17 feet. Laettner's line that game: 10 for 10 from the field, 10 for 10 from the foul line, 31 points. Perfect.

1994 - Hurley, Laettner, Davis, and  Thomas Hill were gone, but this team was led by Grant Hill, Cherokee Parks, and Jeff Capel into the championship game where they lost to Arkansas.

1999 - This team was scary good. It featured Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Will Avery, Correy Magette, Shane Battier, and Chris Carrawell. They finished 37-2 after being upset by Connecticut in the championship game by 3 points.

2001 - Featuring Shane Battier, Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, and Chris Duhon, this team beat Arizona to take the national championship.

2004 - Chris Duhon, Luol Deng, JJ Redick, and Shelden Williams led this team to the Final Four, where they were defeated once againby Connecticut.

2010 - This year's team. Led by John Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Nolan Smith, this team overcame a lack of depth on the perimeter and a lack of scoring inside to win the national championship over Butler.

You know what? I think this year's team gets beat by everybody else. If I had to rank them, I'd go in this order, championship teams italicized:

1992, 1991, 2001, 1999, 1986, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1994, 2004, 2010.

It just goes to show you don't have to be the best team ever, the best Duke team ever, or even necessarily the best team in a given year. You just have to be playing the best basketball of anybody in March. And who can argue that about this year's team? They beat everyone in front of them, and no one else did. They might not have looked like a championship caliber team in January when Georgetown ran them out of Washington with President Obama and Vice President Biden in the crowd, but they surely developed, only losing once more on senior night up at Maryland.

Congratulations, Duke, you earned it.

Song O The Day: What I've Overcome, Fireflight.

I'm Anthony Pegram. This site is a place where I can talk about things that interest me in music, video games, programming, and other parts of life. It's also a place where I test the latest and greatest in programming technology. Thanks for stopping by.