Monday, May 24, 2004

Lemon Squares

How to be InvisibleI think the first person that I grabbed for the Alpha Software development team was Gerry Polucci, who is now the president of Mindstorm Technologies (see link at right). Gerry was right out of school (Comp. Sci. at U. Lowell) and I knew his Dad really well. Hanging out with his Dad, I knew Gerry pretty much throughout college and knew how talented he was.

One of the funny stories he likes to tell is his experience -- at age 16 -- with a U.K. game company that wanted to license a game he created. They flew him over to England and basically asked, "How much do you want for your game?". He said something to the effect, "Enough to make me comfortable for the rest of my life." After the laughter subsided, Gerry ended up back in the States without a deal.

I don't know if he still keeps his hand in these areas, but in his heyday, I would put him up against anyone in the world with respect to his knowledge of MFC and ATL. Aside from being a great developer, he is a very funny person.

At lunch time, we specialized in constructive exploits like playing frisbee golf. My hole-in-one on #2 still stands as one of my greatest athletic achievements, slicing a beautiful 141 gram shot through a maze of trees and clanging it off the Alpha Software sign. You may have seen it on ESPN Classic. They showed it right after a replay of Nicklaus winning the Masters.

Once in a while Gerry, Pete and a few others would walk in the woods past Mitre Corp. My terrifying experience at "the Cliff" still haunts me. It was an immense overhang over the Mitre parking lot. When Pete saw it (after my dramatic description of its daunting scale), he proceeded to walk down it, then back up. In Sperry Top-Siders. Okay, so maybe my perspective isn't so good.

Sometimes we would head over to the inimitable Burlington Mall. Home to Electronics Boutique, the endless Sears credit-card solicitations and... the bakery. Ah, the bakery. One day I received the following email from Gerry. Note the time that the email was sent.

To: Dave D, David M, Dave M, Pete L, Peter M, Doug R, Gerry P
From: Gerry Polucci
Subject: Warning!
Date: 5/16/95 Time: 2:49p

Lemon-squares are an extremely powerful bowel accelerant, and should not be consumed at work or any place greater than 50 feet away from an unoccupied toilet.

Further cautions:
Do not mix lemon-squares with coffee, this will result in the both famed and dreaded bowel-burst (also known as "The Clash of the Colons").

Mixing lemon-squares with ANY Burger-King food has proven deadly in all cases.

There are however several circumstances where the eating of lemon-squares is acceptable:

1. Any situation in which you're sure you are about to die and are not concerned with making a mess
2. When crossing the Amazon naked and being closely pursued by a school of piranha
3. Whenever solely in the presence of your Mother-in-Law
4. In Lemon-Square eating approved areas (i.e., the developers' lounge)
5. When taken hostage and attempting to convince your captors that you are dying from a rare and deadly African stomach virus that is easily communicable
6. When wearing a Depends undergarment while standing in a Hefty trash bag near a small pond or lake with a change of clothes. (CAUTION do not tie trash bag around waste. See Rectal Implosion).

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by the President's Council on Colon Health.

I'm not sure I ever knew what event precipitated this message. But I am certain I don't want to know. He could have simply said he needed to download some log files.

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