A quote on arrogance

I subscribe to the GodThoughts Wired! mail list written by Brad Reiches and it’s been a good daily devotional. In one of the most recent ones, he had a really good quote on arrogance:




I may come off as too conservative, but, in my opinion, in this day where parents want to be their kids’ friends and most everyone not wanting to offend people, there are far too many people who have not experienced enough consequences for their actions.

Getting caught up

Things have been quite busy for me for the last few months at work. While the larger IT group which I work in numbers around 60, my sub-group is Studio Applications and Storage (SAS) which represents 21 and more specifically, SAS-DEV which currently counts 4. At the first of the year, one of our SAS-DEV group decided to move on to greener pastures (after 11 years here). Unfortunately, he was solely responsible for all of our storage . That meant that the remaining four of us have had to add that workload to our plates and improve our storage management skills in the process. The problem is, we were busy enough as it was and didn’t need to add to our tasks by 20%.

Since that time, we have had good days and bad days (at least speaking for myself). And while we are working to add two positions to our team, suitable candidates have not been plentiful and we can’t afford to hire someone that doesn’t match our needs as closely as possible. BTW, if you know a senior-level Systems Administrator with storage experience, let me know.

For me personally, I’m starting to see daylight (helped considerably with GTD‘ing and OmniFocus). Larger projects are moving past the hump and the little “ankle biting” items that cause interruptions have been fewer as of late. If you have been praying for me, please continue to do so. It helps. Keeping myself focused on what is important (and what is not) also helps.

13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 (NASB)

One eye, two eyes, red eye, redder eye

I’m sitting on the couch at the moment wearing my sunglasses in a room with the blinds closed and writing this blog post while I normally would be wrapping up at work to head home. Why? Is it because I am just too cool for the room and couldn’t be bothered with work or the many paparazzi that often linger by my house? Not a chance. No, no. The simple truth is that I am recovering from one of those many unexpected events that occur in life. Let me explain.

PS3 Development systemOne of (many) projects I’m dealing with at work is racking up some PS3 development systems (one pictured at right) and while they are often used in our offices, these are the first that my group have ever had to set up in our datacenters. Unfortunately, the rails for the units were unlike any that I had seen before and came with zero instructions. When examining how I was going to get them to work last Friday, I concluded that the slots in the provided rail brackets were too thin for the M5 cage nuts and screws provided. I figured that since there are several ways for server racks to work, the hardware included presumed one type and we used a different one. "No problem," I thought. My manager suggested using a drill or dremel to compensate. I was frustrated that I would have to do such a thing, but fortunately I had the necessary equipment at home so I took the brackets home with me.

On Sunday between church and our last home fellowship meeting for the season, I pulled out my dremel (knock-off, actually) and started working through the bits to find what would work. I discovered that the grinding wheel worked pretty well and so I took care of the lot of them (there were eight).

The next morning when I went to use my modified hardware, I figured out that it wasn’t actually necessary. Eh, oh well. It did take an hour for the two servers (by comparison, I can rack one of our Dells in about 5 minutes) but I finally got them working. Satisfied, I went on with my day which by my luck was filled with vendor meetings.

Around lunchtime, my eyes started bothering me. Not burning, just like there was sand or similar irritation and I couldn’t stop blinking. I was able to get through the day and during the somewhat uncomfortable drive home (blinking, tearing, and aching) I discussed the situation and possibilities with B. She pulled out her trusty nursing books and we went over the options. Pink eye? Ugh, I shook hands with a lot of people (including my manager as a joke). I felt horrible with the possibility of starting a mini outbreak of conjunctivitis. I remembered the metalwork I was doing just a day before, but wasn’t sure as I had no complaints for almost 24 hours. She scheduled a examination by an ophthalmologist to determine what was going on.

That was this morning at 8:30. I had taken my lunch, this laptop, and my other work items with the presumption I was going to be heading in afterwards. The nice gentleman checked my eyesight (still good), and examined my eyes. He discovered two metal fragments (one in each eye). He got the one in my left and half of the one in my right which was more deeply embedded. He called a nearby vision center and was able to get an immediate examination with a corneal surgeon to get the remaining piece and to excise the tissue around the injury as rust was already present. About an hour later of significant examination and (ironically, a smaller dremel like device), he had removed the remaining fragment and the surrounding tissue. He gave me some anti-bacterial drops to use for the next few days and sent me home. As it was already about 11:15 and work is an hour away, there was no chance I could head in. The drive home was a treat with the nice, bright sunshine.

Red eyeI worked briefly via VPN but was quickly sanctioned by both my wives (my real one and my office-mate) so went low(er) tech and listened to podcasts with my eyes closed. As the afternoon wore on, my eyes got more sore to the point now (at 7:30) I’m thankful the sun as set and am trying to avoid anything bright which would cause my iris to constrict which is still quite unpleasant. The picture at left is the best that could be taken with little ambient light. It’s enough to get an idea how much I discourage the experience for others. I’m hopeful a full night sleep will help considerably and I can get back to work tomorrow which is K‘s birthday.

Now, my lovely wife(wives) criticize me for not using proper eye protection, and while that is true, I have realized, or at least justified, that it could have been from my hair or clothes which would have happened either way. If I really want to point fingers, I should have spent more time examining the rail system to determine that modification wouldn’t be necessary. As anyone who knows me well knows, I tend to take things as they come. I don’t blame anyone (certainly not my employer as I wasn’t doing this under their direction) and the Lord was kind enough to (so far) get me through this. I’m pretty sure it will just improve as the days/weeks go on.

A typical day

For the lack of something better to write about, here’s my normal workday:

  • 5:00 Alarm goes off
  • 5:15 Out the door
  • 6:15-6:30 Arrive at work
  • 6:30-7:00 Devotions/pray
  • 4:00-4:15 Leave work
  • 5:30-5:45 Arrive home
  • 6:15 Dinner
  • 9:00 Get kids in bed/prayers
  • 9:45 Prep for the next day
  • 10:00-10:15 Go to bed

Nothing exciting, but I figured I might as well make it part of the “official” record.

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Sometimes, God does make things easy

Back in September, I replaced my 1998 Toyota Corolla with a Honda Civic. I’m quite happy with it, but we never got around to doing anything about the Corolla. We were planning on donating it like we did our 1990 Nissan 240sx, but there have been other things keeping us from getting around to it. As a result, it’s just been sitting on the street.

Around Wednesday, we noticed a note on the windshield saying that if we were interested in selling the car, call. How did he know it was for sale? I mean it was only sitting in the street for the last 9 weeks and had a 1/4? of dirt all over it.

Well, I called “Mike” and spoke with him about it and he said it was for his wife after then had a baby and wanted to have a second car for her to get around town in. He came by about 30 minutes later, asked quite a few questions while he figuratively “kicked-the-tires”. I originally asked for about 60% Kelley Blue Book and he offered $500 less. I debated about countering, but he really was saving me a lot of trouble and it all ends up as “found money.”

He’ll be coming back tomorrow to complete the transaction (he needed to get the cash and I needed to get the papers).

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O.K. is it just me or does Steve Jobs not look good?

Yeah, yeah another WWDC post, but the truth is, I’m stuck in a hotel room alone all week so I get to catch up with my posting backlog. While watching this morning’s keynote I couldn’t help thinking that Steve Jobs was looking really thin. Sure, I was at the back of the rather large auditorium and he was just a speck from my naked eye, but there were two large projections over the middle of the crowd and he looked and acted off-the-mark. Having seen dozens of keynotes over the years, I also noticed that he
deferred to other presenters far more often (and for longer) then
anytime I can remember.

Two years ago, Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which was was caught early and removed with surgery and fortunately, he did not require either chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Technically, he should be in good shape. Maybe, he’s not? Perhapse there is nothing new here and it just looked funny on screen but I hope and pray that his health is good.

Did you see the keynote? Watch the first few minutes and tell me what you think?

How much can a single click cost?

My pride is hurt. Quite brused, in fact. You see, my family and I were headed over to a pool party/potluck for our church’s youth pastor who was leaving to work with The Navigators in Arizona. And I pressed the wrong button.

You’re probably confused. Perhaps I can explain. One of the features we really like about our house is the fact it has a rear detached garage and a driveway that goes down the side all the way to the street (like a good driveway should). Since we have dogs, we installed a gate shortly after we moved in at the end of 2001. Being practical and forward thinking, we realized that a manual gate while cheaper would get old really quick (e.g., pull up, get out, open the gate, pull through, get out, close the gate…) so decided to have it motorized. The installers did a really good job and even hooked up the mechanism to the middle button of our three buton garage door opener so that we didn’t have to worry about using two different remotes. Considering that two of the three buttons weren’t doing anything, it certainly made sense.

Flash forward to yesterday. I was pulling out of the garage having previously opened the gate and was backing down the driveway. Since I was clear of the garage I pressed the button to close the garage door. Moments later: **crunch** For a moment, I didn’t realize what happened and even when I got out and looked at the damage, I still wasn’t clear as how it happened. After I calmed down a moment, I realized that I must have hit the wrong button and the gate started closing right as I was approaching it.

It made contact exactly with the rear corner of the car at the edge of the gate. As a result, the turn signal/brake light was cracked, the rear bumber damaged, some small damage to the rear body, and 1 1/2″ steel frame along with two 5/8″ bars of the gate pushed in about a foot. To be honest, I probably couldn’t have done better if I tried.

The long and short is that only bad drivers that don’t pay attention have accidents like that. Me? I’m a good drive who considers himself quite careful and safe and would never have thought I would ever have an accident like that (by my hand at least).

We’re working on getting estimates for the car and gate. I’ll be lucky if I get off for less than $2000 for the both. We’ll see.

As a result, I’ve changed my driveway protocol. Open the door and gate, back out, stop, close the door and gate while stationary, and when completely closed, continue.

A few thoughts on The DaVinci Code

Becky and I went to see The DaVinci Code this afternoon with some friends of ours. I had "read" the book a few years ago (in quotes as I don’t have time to read and instead listen to books from Audible.com during my commute) and thought it was decent enough work of fiction. Unfortunately, many have come to believe that the assertions of its author, Dan Brown, are true and based in fact. Continue reading

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again

Last night, I was trying to finish up 24: The Game which I had borrowed from work and while I was almost done with only one "hour" (of 24) left (maybe 30-45 minutes of gameplay) it was late and I had a little headache so I went to bed.

About 90 minutes later, I woke up with a very uncomfortable headache. You know, the kind where it feels like your entire head is in a rather large vice. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep, so I took two Tylenol and got back in bed. Unfortunately, it was too uncomfortable and my tossing and turning woke Becky up so I decided to go downstairs and wait for them to kick in.

It really was miserable. Even after 30 minutes, I could barely sit still. I passed the time by installing Ubuntu Linux in Parallels and paced the floor sipping water while it was doing it’s thing. Becky checked on me once to make sure I wasn’t dead from an aneurysm and went back up after I told her it was unecessary for both of us to loose sleep.

Long story short, I started feeling good enough to get back in bed around 4 AM. I slept until 8 and then took a nap during the day since I was still feeling a bit wiped out.

If that is what a migraine is, my heart and prayers to anyone who suffers. I’ll presume it was just some one-time thing (maybe a reaction to the sulfites from the wine I had that evening).