Thursday, January 10, 2008

What you never knew (and probably never want to know)

Okay...first of all, I'm not an active blogger (obviously). How I became embroiled in this BlogTag business is still beyond me. It's ultimately due to Flavio. Carl Backstrom didn't even know I had a blog until our buddy Flavio called me out. I'm sure Tom Kyte would find this "game" completely annoying and would refuse it in a second. I'm sure Carsten Czarski would sure enjoy this, as well as my good friend Sergio Leunissen.


So here are the most inconsequential 8 things I could conjure.
  1. I'm the seventh child of the seventh child. Don't worry, there's nothing magical or spiritual about this. My mother was the seventh child, so you only need to worry about the seventh son of the seventh son, so says Iron Maiden.
  2. I'm second-generation American. My grandparents were immigrants from Poland and Germany and came to America with literally nothing. My brothers and sisters and I bought a plaque at Ellis Island in their remembrance.
  3. I hardly ever read novels of fiction, maybe one book a year at best. My wife, in-laws and father are all avid novel readers. It's bizarre, but I just don't find it compelling. Don't think I don't read, because I do all the time. But my reading list is usually www.opinionjournal.com (every day), Barron's, Money Magazine, Kiplinger's, and occasionally the computer trade magazines.
  4. I wouldn't be at Oracle if it weren't for Tom Kyte. I worked with Tom and a bunch of other excellent individuals (Chris Beck, Tim Taylor, David Bliss, Don Bostrom, George DeGraaf, among others) back in 1990-1991. They worked for a subcontractor. I worked for a subcontractor to the subcontractor. Those were the days when we were changing the world, and when very few people ever heard of SGML.
  5. My most memorable job was my one at McDonald's in high school and during my summer breaks from college. You might laugh at this being a favorite job, but I learned a great deal. It is from the general manager there (Lou Stallman, wherever he may be) who taught me respect and courtesy for customers and co-workers alike, as well as the quality to take pride in all you do and to always do it well. And there was never any standing around or goofing off there, as they often said "if you have time to lean, you have time to clean."
  6. I spent the summer of 1985 in Quantico, Virginia at the U.S. Marine Corps Officer's Candidate School. My goal was to become a Marine Corps aviator. I got in better shape during that summer than anyone normally could in an entire year. And there was no fantastic array of exercise equipment, it was always go-go-go. This was another one of those value-forming experiences, where I truly learned what discipline was all about. As luck would have it, that's the summer that my uncorrected vision went South, my fantasy of making it into Aviation School vanished, and I did not return to OCS the next summer (well, this was really one of a number of reasons).
  7. I started off at Ohio State in Electrical Engineering. I went through class after class of mathematics, did fairly well at it, and when I was done and ready to start the electrical engineering coursework, I thought "whew, finally done with all that math". Guess what? Electrical engineering is nothing but math. I remember calling my father and explaining to him that I wished to switch to computer engineering and get out of electrical engineering. My Dad (who always wanted an engineer in the family) calmly explained to me that I was making a mistake, and that there wouldn't be any money in that. Funny, huh?
  8. I am very competitive, probably too much so. I love to win, I hate to lose. I love to gamble at many things. I enjoy betting, from football games, basketball games, Super Bowl pools, March Madness pools to craps and blackjack.
This is exactly why I don't blog. I started this two days ago and off and on I finally finish it. Maybe one of these days I'll actually write something about Application Express.

3 comments:

Patrick Wolf said...

I kept quiet, but they finally found you :-)

Patrick

Arie said...

Hi Joel,

Interesting. I read both yours and Carl’s blogs, and find myself relate to many things you two wrote. It also gave me a new perspective on you two, and it’s all for the best.

It seems like you have a lot to be proud of, both in your personal and professional life. You really should blog more. I know you are a very busy person, but if Tom Kyte finds the time, so should you (BTW, I’m not so sure he’ll refuse this “game”) . Hope to read more in the future.

Best regards,
Arie (ageller1).

Byte64 said...

Joel,
i am glad to see that you took the time to respond to the "call" and you disclosed very nice details of your life.

And now keep bloggin'!

Cheers,
Flavio