Saturday, June 26, 2004

A month or two ago there was huge neiborhood-wide garage sale. We decided to unload some junk and make a few bucks. I could see early on in the sale that nobody would be wanting to buy my gigantic old tower PC's. SO I pushed one out onto the curb with a sign on it, "FREE!".

After a few hours a kid came up into my garage picking over my computer shit. He lives across the street from me in this tiny house which is occupied by countless children. As far as I know, all of the kids are adopted. This particular kid has some sort of deformity, and he rides the short bus to school. He wanted an old server that I was selling, and he started counting out his change to buy it. I let him know he could have this particular piece of shit free of charge. Thats the kind of guy I am.

I was so nice, I even went downstairs and got him a keyboard, mouse, and a power cord for his new toy. A short while later he returned and asked if I had anything else, because my broken piece of shit seemed to be missing parts. So I directed him to the other tower at the curb ... the one marked "Free". He took it home, and later brought it back to my curb. I guess he didn't like that one either.

So today, I had finished mowing the lawn, and I was lurking in my basement listening to some old Dead Milkmen tunes. My wife yells down that "the boy from across the street would like to speak with me". The fact that she didn't say "the rude retarded kid" told me that he must be standing nearby. So I headed outside and there was deformo-lad standing in my garage.

He says, "you know that computer you gave me? ... Well, it wasn't that good". At this point I chuckled. Here is this kid telling me that the piece of shit that I gave him, was a piece of shit. And he expected me to give him something better. He honestly did. He asks, "would you have anything better you would want to sell? ... and how much would it be?". So I tell this kid, "I really don't have anything to part with right now ... but if I come across anything I will send it your way".

He rambled on a while and asked me some questions about the tape drive that was in one of the old servers. And I attempted to break free from the conversation. So he asks, "when can I come by for a computer?". What in the hell? I tell him again, "I don't have anything right now. But if someone is getting rid of something at work, I will give it to you". He asks, "do they get rid of anything good?". "Not really", I say, "because if it was worth anything, they wouldn't get rid of it".

I eventually broke away from this retard, and headed back inside. I thought I should maybe share this experience with you. I even drew you a picture of the amazing deformo-lad. Enjoy.

Current Mood: Annoyed
Musical Inspiration: Everything Dead Milkmen

Friday, June 25, 2004

The Professors Curse
Listen children, for I will share with you a dreadful tale! Long, long, ago an IT manager built a server. The server was strong, and plentiful. And the IT manager fashioned it in his presence, naming it Prof. That IT manager was later shit-canned in a lay-off of mass proportions. Years later this server named Prof came to a crashing halt, as several of the 2GB SCSI drives of 5 years passed came to a bitter end. In the week that followed that server was replaced with a great, powerful server called MAIL.

MAIL was a server of great magnitude. It's processor was a mighty Xeon 550 Mhz, and it's RAM was a generous 512MB. But in due time, it too began to die. The people of the land (the IT staff) had great pity on the server. Why had it not held up as well as the mighty Prof? In an effort to save the server a new RAID card and larger drives were purchased. And it was good.

And now my children, comes the sad part of our story. MAIL is no longer. Just this passed evening, it has demised. Feast your eyes upon it's lack of a response to an OWA request!

Ring! Ring! It was 4:00PM and Ray was still teaching. "Silence!", he shouted as he sent the call to voicemail. As Ray finished class and began to drive home, he heard a familiar tone rining out of his pocket. It was voice mail. Ray would learn that the MAIL server had met a brutal end. It's motherboard burnt, it's RAID failed on two levels. It was requested that Ray return to work. Ray's anger ran deep.

"WHY?", shouted Ray. "Why should I be the one to have to deal with this nightmare? Did I not tell management that the server was dying almost two years ago? Did I not remind management that it needed replaced? Did I not express my disgust that the server was not being backed up?". Ray hurried into his house, still gripping his cell phone in anger. The devil washed over Ray as his face grew a dark red. Ray fought the demon, with two beers. But the demon was strong!

An hour went by. The phone rang again. It was not fixed yet. And Ray was still not at work. Ray declined to come to the office. One more hour passed. The phone rang again. It was 8:00PM, and the IT staff had not been able to save the server. Ray knew, he had better put on his Chuck-T's and promptly make his way into the office.

8:30PM. Ray arrives through the side door, finding an emptied server closet, and no technicians. Heading upstairs, Ray finds four gentlemen gathered around a dead server on the floor. Like a sacrificial lamb, the server laid open with it's guts strewn about. The men looked pale, hungry, and disgusted. Ray would learn that the four men had attempted to rebuild the RAID array to save it's mail database but had been unsuccessful. One of the men had gone home, and returned with a drive to fit the server, but after an hour or more of formatting and fidgeting, the server would have none of it.

10:30PM. Seeing that the server would not be repairable, it was covered and pushed into a corner. Now the work began on pulling together it's replacement. MAIL would be replaced with a classroom student machine. It's hard disk storage system; a single IDE drive in a drive carrier. It wasn't much ... but it would suffice.

12:00AM. The men growing tired huddled over the server while it slowly installed Windows 2003 Small Business Server. Looking at his watch, one of the men shouted, "I ought to call my boss. He said he could install this in an hour. It's been almost two".

12:30AM. The installation comes to an end, and the four men create accounts on the box. As their brains grow tired, and starved from lack of dinner, they have a hard time remembering who to re-add to the server. And how do you spell that one guy's name exactly? With two P's and an E.

1:00AM. With the server installation complete, all that was left to do was to set the server into the network, and change the firewall to accept the changes. Ray's glorious FreeBSD firewall was quietly shut down and pushed into a corner. As Ray's eyes drooped, he muttered "there goes a few months of uptime". The server to forward the packets ... a Microsoft ISA server.

1:10AM. One of the IT men ponders how to change a setting in ISA server. Ray, and the remaining three IT workers stare back at him. It seems not anyone is familiar with this awful product. After several long moments of silence, Ray declares "I could perform this funtion in a single line of my ipnat configuration file". Silence again falls upon the tiring men.

1:30AM. Having fumbled in and out of the hundreds of buried wizards, settings, and keys the men depart the building with the job left unfinished.

2:00AM. Ray arrives home and prepares a delicious dinner of shredded wheat. He had been hungry so long, that the meal began to make him sick falling down into empty stomach. "The devil smiles upon me!" said Ray as he dumped his long awaited meal down the disposal.

Epilogue - Friday morning Ray returned to work a bit confused and exhausted. He finished out his work day blogging, and waiting for SBC to finish their work. As Ray walked out of the office, and made his best attempt to dodge a Danny Glover cliche' as he muttered, "I'm getting too old for this shit".

Current Mood: Tired
Musical Inspiration: I Hear A Radio In My Head (but I am delusional)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

A Blog To Remember
Man has it been a while. Weeks, right? Since I am not going to get any studying done on this lunch break, I might as well update my Blog. It's been so long though, that it's hard to remember where I left off. I created a timeline to help me recount these events accurately. It's been a hell of a few weeks.

You might detect a pattern here. It's a period in my life in which I will recall "things broke down". First our Sump Pump quit working. It's that little device that takes water from your basement and pumps it into the sewage line outside of your home. It prevents floods. Well, our pump started blowing the breaker. And after I took it apart I could see that it was SHOT to hell. It was very wet and rusty inside (should be completely dry and sealed).

Following that failure came the death of my dryer. It was run for a few minutes before making a horrible rattling, and would eventually come to a dead stop. At this point, you had to wait an hour or so to restart it. Pretty soon, you couldn't make it run for even five minutes. Our laundry began to pile up, and my attempts to repair the dryer were futile.

Sometime shortly thereafter, I started a Network+ course ... with one student. Normally I don't mind teaching that class. But I had just taught the very same class the week before. There's nothing like a little redundancy to keep your work interesting.

About halfway through the week, I was driving to work (I was almost there) when I put my gas pedal to the floor (and I mean the floor). Something went snap, and suddenly my pedal was laying flat, and showed no signs of springing back. Pulling off the road I could see that the cable running from my pedal to the engine compartment had snapped. I made a few calls to work, and my boss came to pick me up and drive me to work. Upon telling my student what happened he volunteered to take me to try and fix it. Not having the right tools, or parts for the job, I tried to create a make-shift cable out of electrical wire. It was a no go.

I called my wife, telling her what had happened, and we began to forumalate a plan. This was all happening on the same day that she was to see a specialist about her knee injury. My student was excited at the thought of cutting class short. So I taught for an hour, and released him. I was glad that it had happened because it gave me a chance to accompany my wife to the doctor's office. My mother came along too, because she had planned to drive my wife to the doctors in case they put a cast or a brace on her leg.

The doctors visit was ... interesting. Their waiting room seated about 8 people, in about 10 feet of space. The room was at it's capacity. Over the course of about two hours, the waiting room turned into a platform for political debate between us, a well-to-do black family, and a couple of old redneck women.

Once into the doctors office, we had a nurse come and explain that my wifes family doctor is a complete retard. He had written up a paper on the wrong knee, and sent it to their office. After another hour or so of waiting, the doctor finally came in. He was an evil little man. He reminded me a lot of an angry IT consultant. Perhaps you know the type. They come in, beat up your equipment, tell you that your current installment is hopeless, make fun of your situation, use a lot of bg words in an insulting manner, and then leave you with a bill.

So I watched as this doctor made my wife perform all sorts of painful stretching and twisting excercises before he even looked at the MRI. I'm not sure what the hell he was doing, but it obviously hurt a lot, and he made her do it anyway. He went on to tell her that "females just have bad knees", and that she should learn to live with it. He also spitefully rattled off that his wife had bad knees, as does most of his patients. Which makes sense ... seeing how he is an orthopedic doctor. His reccomendation was to skip surgery, and try physical therapy.

Walking out of the office my mother commented "You missed a golden oppertunity. You had your foot right between that little fuckers knees! You should have kicked him in his little package!". So my wife felt pretty beat up and discouraged, and we all felt pretty pissed off at the way this doctor had spoken to her. What a dick! Perhaps he had a bad day, and decided to take it out on her. Regaurdless, his advice was worthless. She has real injuries (tears and broken cartlidge), and he didn't want to do anything to help her.

On top of all this ... my car was still broken down in a parking lot of a bar near my office. So we parted ways with my mother, and since we still had the kids at my sister in laws house, we headed off to repair the bug. Through an act of God, a local foriegn parts shop actually HAD the part I needed, and once we arrived with it a few hours later I had installed the part in about 2 minutes flat.

Just before installing the part I turned to my wife and said, "I'm going to stick this in ... push it through ... bolt it down like nothin' ... and then you and I are going inside the pub for a beer". Two minutes later, we both smiled as I stood up and got the car going. As she turned to walk back to the Honda I yelled, "You thought I was joking! We're going to have a beer!". The pub, Barleys, makes it's own beer in house ... and it's GOOOOD stuff. I highly reccomend the Oatmeal Stout. Drinking a beer and enjoying each others company let us forget for a moment that my wife had been treated like shit and told to abandon hope just a few hours earlier.

So the rest of the week ended just fine. No major glitches. I was able to end my class early on Friday, and that gave me time to run to the other building and setup a class for the next week. The class I spent hours on would be a room rental for some backwoods Canadian software provider. My class would have to be prepared at home as I ran out of time. It was a quite a lot of setting up ... for another one student class.

Over the weekend I took the dryer apart only to learn that the motor was completely ruined. A new motor would cost about $100.00. A new dryer would cost about $200. A used motor ... was unavailable. We recently found a used one on eBay for $20 + Shipping. Sold! While working on the dryer, my wife ran to the hardware store and picked up a new Sump Pump for $80. I dropped it into place, and plugged it in. Naturally, it runs like a champ.

Since I still had some weekend left, I rebuilt my carbuerator on the Bug and installed new wiper blades. I also put in a new fuel filter. Otherwise, cleaning out the carb and rebuilding it seems rather fruitless. My Bug runs really great! Almost too good. I had to crank the idle WAY down.

So class this week has been all right. My student is very young, and very willing to learn which is nice. She comes from a company whose students I have had before. They are generally bored with the material, and treat the class as a vacation. It probably helps that she is attending University classes. So compared to campus instructors, I'm probably pretty entertaining. I'm not a huge fan of the material, but we are cranking though it and making good time. Being that it's A+ (which I have taught for several years now), I don't need to take any more of my time for 'prepping'. I have been able to do some studying in the evenings this week in preperation for the Windows XP exam (70-270).

And so my wife has revisited her family doctor, and yesterday she saw a specialist that he personally reccomended. This new doctor took the problem very seriously, and upon looking at her MRI scans, he saw some serious problems. He requested immediate surgery! My wife requested some more time so that I could have time to request the day off of work, and so that she would be well for the 4th of July holiday that's right around the corner. Her surgery will be July 9th. They will be doing some laproscopic (?) work on her knee. They plan on sewing down her ligaments to make the work better, remove the nasty cartlidge under her knee, and also scrape the broken stuff from behind her kneecap. It all sounds very painful, and I hope it goes off without a hitch. The doctor can't promise much of anything in the way of a plan, since they may change the plan once they get into the surgery and inspect the damage first hand.

And that brings me to ... today. Right now. Today I updated my Blog. And right now, my student is getting ready to tear apart a PC which marks the end of the Hardware portion of my A+ class. This afternoon we will start the Software side of this class and learn a bit more about Operating Systems.

Whew! I ought to update my Blog more often.

Current Mood:
Musical Inspiration:

Monday, June 07, 2004

I Dream Of Rodents
I often have a dream where the pet hamster has escaped. I don't know why. It's a reoccuring one. Maybe because the hamster has escaped several times. And it's on my mind, because every night we can hear the hamster smashing around things in her cage. She begins her day around midnight, and finishes scurrying and banging around at about 6:00AM. So last night I rolled over and opened my eyes, and I saw one of my dogs pacing about the room. As he ran around back around the corner of my bed, I saw a small rodent scurry across the floor.

Was I dreaming? I was coming out of a deep sleep and I was a little confused. After a moment, I had "come to" and I realized the damned hamster had escaped! Now don't ask me how, but this hamster has climbed up to the top of it's cage, and lifted the lid off. It then had to leap onto the floor from a bookshelf (about nearly 5 feet). Then she climbed a full flight of stairs, and passed under our bedroom door to come see us.

My dog has caught site (or smell of her) and was pacing around nervously. The dogs know the hamster luckily. And they made no attempt to eat her. Which was good. I would hate to explain to the kids that their pet had been eaten.

So I got that damned rat back into her cage and went back to bed. I had waken up my wife in the chaos, and I explained what had happened. As I tried to get back to sleep she asked "did you put something on top of her cage?". Back downstairs I went, and I piled about 5 heavy books on top of her. I also gave her some fresh water and a few Cheezits'. It was quite a day for her I am sure.

And so this is how my day begun. It was about 4:30AM, and I was having a hard time getting back to sleep. I must have dosed off around 5:30 or 6:00AM. When the alarm went off at 7:00AM, it was like waking from the dead. So I rolled out of bed, and hurried off to work.

About halfway to work, I remembered that I had left my lunch in the fridge, and my security access card on top of the fridge. Woops. I headed inside through the main entrance, and slipped into my classroom. I am teaching Network+ this week, and for some unknown reason, I had no book to teach from. One of the training admins had sent me two PDF's containing "evaluation" copies of the instructor manual in PDF. That's great. I get to teach class from a PDF? From what I understood, that was all I was going to get. Next week, I teach Network+ again. Probably from a PDF. So I headed out to the receptionist who orders kits, and I filed a complaint. "Please order me a book? So I can have it next week? A book would be nice", I told her.

After about ten minutes, an instructor manual was dropped into my lap. Aparently, we had a book the whole time. Someone was just too lazy to go look for it. When they were asked to order another, it magically appeared. Strange.

The rest of my day went surprisingly well. My students for the week are pretty upbeat, and some of them are actually interested in networking! As tired as I was, I drank a cup of coffee. It's been the first time I have had real coffee in a few weeks. It took my blood pressure RIGHT on up! But it kept me going all damn day. And believe me, I will have no trouble getting to sleep tonight.

Oh, and I took my dryer apart, lubed up a few things, sucked all the dirt and shit out, and I think it's working fine again. God bless!! It certainly has been a strange day.

Current Mood:
Musical Inspiration:

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Alcohol's Effects On Artistic Creativity
I just woke up about 15 minutes ago, and realised that it was almost 11:00AM. I expected to see that it was 7:00AM so I could go back to sleep. How the hell did I sleep so late? It must have been all the beer I drank last night ... which I think was a lot. I don't remember.

Last night Discount Man was over, and he rode in on his new Harley. It's a damn fine ride, I must say. He wanted to work on a web site that he has voluntarily become the webmaster for. I looked over it, and decided it was way too plain. So I started developing a theme. But having drank a little too much, I created some simply awful little designs. I would like to share them with you.

Picture #1

I don't know what the theme her was. A crappy font, and a morbid picture. No relation. I had a few more beers, and it got worse.

Picture #2

Now I was just getting silly. But I really liked this one. I made it my wallpaper.

Picture #3

At this point, I had to stop myself from creating anything else, and I went off to watch TV. DM at this point, began working on a real design for the web site. He had a nice black on red design with little squiglys in the background. I was digging it.

Thats all for now gang. If I create any more awful art in the future, I will be sure to share it with you. Now, I need to go shake this hangover.

Current Mood: Bewildered
Musical Inspiration: 'Dizzy'

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Novell's iKnee Solution (TM)
My wife called me a while ago. As suspected she has some serious knee damage. Several sprains in areas of her knee that I couldn't spell. The term used here to desribe the damage is "sprain". She has about five of them ranging from medium to severe. Sprain aparently means "wrecked and broken stuff" in the context of an Orthopedist. To boot, her knee has filled with gooshy fluid which probably adds to the inflamation and overall pain. Funny how when she went into the ER, the doctor bent her knee around, shrugged, and sent her home on crutches. It took a family doctor, and three appointments to get an MRI and see what was really wrong. I hate the medical field. It's almost as backward and inefficient as the IT field.

Today I am sitting in a Novell and IBM sponsored Linux seminar. The seminar is hosted by my employer, but enrollments came through Novell. Those fools at Novell wrote a bad web-based enrollment process which allowed too many students to sign up. Instead of stopping at 25, 60+ students enrolled. This caused the class to be moved to a larger facility called Platform Labs. This place is so nice. I would love to work here. The building is very high (about 30 feet). And inside, is a bunch of smaller little "cottage" style houses. It's all built with cinder block and tin roofing. Very industrial looking. Inside these little cottages are all sorts of "technically oriented" companies who are developing new products, or just leasing out cheap space. The proprieter of this place tells me that this whole joint is non-profit. The rental and lease charges just pay to keep the facility open, and buy more hardware. So they rented this room for a flat fee of $200. Not bad at all.

I was pretty interested in this material until I learned that Novells new NLS (Novell Linux Services) was not being given away at this seminar. You have to go fill out a shitload of surverys and they will send you an e-mail address, with a link to the ISO. And even then, it's an evaluation. For that matter, they don't even give you a Student CD. You have to download and burn it yourself. I think this seminar was supposed to be hands on, where students install their own servers. But, with 60 people, it became a "sit down and watch me install it" seminar. People seem bored with it.

Stephanie (my co-worker who is teaching this material) wanted me to check out a URL for her, and so I went hunting for an access point. I didn't expect to find one in this building. The companies under this roof are technically 'with it', and probably wouldn't take a risk. Shows what I know. I start up MacStumbler, and strike a handful.

Picture #1

So I have been attached to one of these open access points ever since. Initially to get the URL, and also to message my wife. I was worried about calling her, and causing her to miss a call from her doctor. We haven't had call waiting in about 5 years now (and don't miss it either).

Now we are nearing 3 o'clock. Hopefully this seminar will wrap up in about an hour. I need to drive back to the office, and pick up my materials to teach tomorrow. I should probably go through them before I try and teach this photoshop class. It's a good idea to look at the books before you teach from them. Thats why they pay me the big bucks.

Current Mood: I'm trying to smile.
Musical Inspiration: With all these sleepy students, a lullaby would be nice.