Older blog entries for northrup (starting at number 12)

It's always wierd getting calls from companies trying to woo you at your current company. There's that sense of at ease with taking up time that you're being paid for to talk to another person who is trying to get you to leave where you are. It seems dishonest in a way. I guess I could put down on my time tracking chart "Talking with recruiter - 30 mins", "Lunch interview at Company X - 1.5 hrs". Don't know if that would do more harm than good in my attempt to make my current working environment more amicable. It's so hard to make change in an environment with a passive agressive boss and a PHB. *sigh*

This job wasn't supposed to be this way. I was supposed to have fun, improve my unix-fu, master some new schools and be with friends all the while. It turns out that a) working for friends has inherent downsides and b) my immediate boss isn't who I thought they were going to be. . . at least I've learned that more information is always better and that it's worth waiting for the new info before making the rash decision to move across the country.

I've been back in California for a while. Got back on the 15th of Sept. Living in Gilroy sucks and doesn't. The commute blows dead donkey dicks. However, the town itself is reasonable, has stores close to the apartment for Jeannie (an important thing until we get her a car) and has a good pediatrician for Valen.

One saving grace for me is being able to find a good comics shop in Campbell to make up for the complete lack of a shop in Gilroy (serious oversight. . . dozens of antique shops, no comic shops. . . *sigh*)

I've been starting to do a lot of sysadmin stuff here (as opposed to visiting customer sites). It's annoying when customers aren't prepared and don't have their (gear|expertise|software|shit) ready and prepared for us to come in, install our software and test. Having to go back multiple times is a little annoying. Having a call scheduled for a day and having it pushed is more annoying. When I have to start driving in my car (as opposed to taking Caltrain) so I can go to customer sites and this sort of thing starts to happen, I can forsee me becoming filled with hate.

Caltrain is nice. I enjoy being able to work on my laptop while I'm riding in. Gives me an extra two hours or so to work on personal stuff without taking away from company time. I wish the office were closer to Tamien, though. As it is, it's about 5 miles away which is a pretty stiff bike ride (especially for someone so out of shape as myself . . . and yes, I know that riding 10 miles a day would get me back into shape, but it would also make me have to take multiple showers a day and I would have to find a place at work to be able to take a shower which doesn't seem bloody likely given our current building situation). I'm thinking about getting some sort of two-wheeled motorized conveyance and haven't settled on whether it will be a motorcycle, scooter or somewhere in between. I guess I'll make the decision when I've got more funds at my disposal with which to adequately purchase such a vehicle (or at least to bargain down by saying "I've got cash right now for $XXXX").

I'm going to go to a gaming convention this weekend. I'm hoping to hook up with some folks to play 7th Sea with as well as exercise some of my B5CCG decks.

So I went by MindLink today. It's a good thing I got all my mp3 files off of test2 last night. Otherwise, I'd be trying to figure out a way to get them from my Windows box through the Integratus firewall. It turns out that one of the brightest guys in the web hosting group left yesterday. It was amusing to find out that the acquisition of OneMain.com was being ammended so that the acquisition won't go through if Earthlink's stock goes below $8/share (something which looks pretty damned likely at the moment). My decision to leave is looking better and better each day.

Now, they've lost one more of their really good admins, but at least they have an administrative assistant. That's right, they can't hire sysadmins, but at least the ones still left have an assistant. *sigh* Anyway, I was able to get the last of my files off test2 before Chris moved into my old cube and turned it off. Someone finally noticed the box lying under the desk of a recently departed employee. Not that I should complain, it was handy to have a backup copy of my files until I could move them all over to Integratus.

I finally got an HA web server pair setup in my guest bedroom (because you never know when they'll come in handy :-). Now that I've got a handle on the UHA software, it's time to start learning Veritas File System and Volume Manager. The fun never stops!

Valen's been a little sick recently. His temperature has been between 101 and 102.5 for most of the day. I read some of the baby books we have and they say it's normal for a child who's teething to have a temperature. However, it's unsettling to have him running a temperatur so high that it would have fried my brains had it gone on for this long for me. We're trying water soaked wash rags and turning down the thermostat to see if that helps. The bad thing is he really wants to cuddle right now and I hate to see him cry, but I know that if I hold on to him for very long it will raise his temperature.

I've built my home network to the point where I can start doing practical HA testing. I was shocked when I found out how much CAT-5 TP cables actually were. 14 feet for $25!!! That's highway robbery! I should have taken this as an opportunity to spend some money down at Graybar, but didn't feel like spending more time away from home than I had to considering how Valen was feeling and how nervous Jeannie was.

I haven't had much time to think about the package management stuff I'd been mulling over just after Usenix. I'd start working on it, but don't want to erase Linux from the laptop I have to install FreeBSD on it to have a machine I can do package work on anywhere I go. I guess I'll just have to keep working on fixing the bugs in my search engine. At least I'll have something to keep me occupied and to help me stop thinking about how bad Valen feels.

Back in Atlanta. I stepped off the plane from CA and realised a) how cool the weather had been in San Jose and b) how hot and humid the weather is in Atlanta. It's amazing how your tolerance for warm weather melts away so quickly when you're somewhere nice.

I finally got a nice set of speakers for my home system. It's amazing the difference having a subwoofer makes. Also replaced my DSL Router and picked up a few things for what is becoming my home office. I'll be in ATL for the next 6 weeks doing telecommuting back to SJC and learning the software I'll soon be installing at customer sites (Veritas stuff and our HA product). Mike, the only company employee with less tenure than me, is setting up a couple of Sun boxes back at the office for me to play around on and learn the Veritas stuff. I'm in the process of setting up a couple of Linux boxes to play around with our UHA stuff.

Working from home is better and worse than I thought it would be. It's nice to have a quick commute (30 seconds from finishing getting dressed to sitting at the office), but it's easier to get distracted by the wife or my son. It's difficult for me to say "I'm working, please go away" without sounding like an ass. I'm getting a little better at it as well as getting better at working with the distraction of a wife or son talking in the background.

I'm lucky my son is easily distracted by extra power cords and old mice. He likes them almost to the exclusion of other, proper baby toys. Perhaps the geek genes are getting expressed early.

Now, time to read some documentation, install some Red Hat and set up some HA web servers.


I finally found an apartment complex that didn't mind that my credit sucked and actually looked at my rental history and current salary. What an amazing concept. . . judging someone's ability to pay their rent on time by looking at how well they've previously paid their rent on time. I guess that's the sort of radical thinking you get out here in the Valley of the Geeks. . . but the funny thing is my place is actually south of the Valley (in Gilroy). The commute will suck to a certain extent, but the rent is less and I don't have to deal with a bitch for an apartment manager (like they have over at Woodleaf) . . . the apartment manager I will have is actually pretty cool.

Finally, I've got that off my mind, and I'm planning for my trip back to Atlanta. Gotta make sure that I'll have enough to do to justify collecting my salary :-) However, it's hard to do some of the training I need to do without having the proper hardware to work on. I figure I'll be filling in as the sysadmin for a while until I get back and can lay hands on some real software.

It sucks that I'll be away from SFO and SJC for a month and a half, though. There's lots of things to be happening, I'm sure and it's too bad I'll have to miss it. C'est la vie and que sera sera I suppose.

Went to the new Staks in Campbell. This place rocks. Excellent breakfast food (I split the Apple Sausage Omlete and a stack of Blue Germ pancakes with Jack) and nice service. I'll definitely have to treat Valen and Jeannie to breakfast there once they get out here.

I have an open house tonight. I'm sort of depressed at the whole prospect. Nobody wants someone with bad credit even if they have a good rental history. I make almost six figures, haven't been late with a rent payment in over two years and I can't get someone to give me a bloody place to live! What the hell is that about? The landowners out here in the valley are simply insane. . . they have everyone by the short and curlies and there's not much people can do about it. The San Jose mayor says that rent control measures aren't necessary and that the market will take care of itself. That's all well and good for her. She likely either owns a house or gets a nice mayoral pad gratis. I doubt she's had to look for a place for weeks at a time with her husband and son across the country while crashing on the couches of friends while getting rejected left and right by greedy landlords who hold a captive audience hostage to their whims.

Right now I'm at the point where I'll have to take the first available place and have that be that. I'm trying to be a little picky in where I go, but there's not much choice. Either I have to listen to Jeannie on the phone every night and the "I wish you were back here in Atlanta and why the hell did you take a job in the Valley where we can't be together and when is this goin to end" sound in her voice or I find a crappy place and listen to the "What a shithole we're living in now and you should have found a job in Atlanta and we could have stayed in our same apartment and things would have been better" tone in her voice. Scylla and Charybdis sound like appealing options.

Wow, I'm a Journeyman! Thanks, Skud.

I've been out in California for just under four days now. I've had some incredible sushi, ate wonderful sandwiches, saw incredible views, and enjoyed more intellectual stimulation than I had in the past few months (Usenix excluded). I'm having a great time. However, it does suck being so far away from my wife and son. *sigh*

Also, finding a place to live really sucks. Even though everyone tried to tell me, I wouldn't listen. The housing market is just fucking insane! I've got a couple of prospects and just have to wait for my wife to call me back so we can talk about things.

Tonight is TNICNAZ, a bunch of Crackmonkey folks getting together and drinking beer. Should be an interesting experience. At least it will give me a chance to drive into the city which should be cool.

So everyone disses on Frys, but my first experience there wasn't the horror story I was expecting. Some co-workers and I went there to get a hard drive. The problem came when we attempted to find the 45 Gig hard drive that was advertised for $185. We got what appeared to be the correct box and proceeded to the checkout area. Turns out the drive we got, while similair in size and from the same manufacturer, was not the same drive. It took 10 minutes or so to get the problem corrected and get the right drive for the right price. All in all, not too bad an experience. Didn't go smoothly, but I also wasn't escorted out the door by a manager asking me politely to stop yelling about the violence inherent in the system.

Now I'm off to delve into Solaris packaging to package some components for installation on our systems.

Went to Dragon Con this weekend. While I had a good time, it was marred by the fact that I was fighting off a cold and had laryngitis during the B5CCG tournaments I ran. I was forced to rely on sheets of paper with some 72 point fonts to give out instructions. I also had someone else there helping out and being my voice when necessary. All in all it was fun, but very draining. Next time, a) I'm getting a hotel room in the hotel (so I don't have to drive there and back), b) I'm going to abdicate running events if I'm sick and c) I'm going to spend more time walking around the con with Jeannie and Valen.

Tried to fill out my exit interview for ELNK. Apparently the email cgi doesn't like the length of my replies. I don't think it would be smart enough to screen based on content (as it is highly critical of ELNK business practices, communication and organization).

Three more days. Time to start packing up my cube and getting ready for my cross-country drive. If I were young and naive, I'd be looking on this as an opportunity to see the country. However, I know this is just going to be a lot of driving, searching for a good radio station and trying to avoid heat stroke while going through Arizona.

Still sick. Wasn't able to stay in work as long as I wanted to yesterday. My wife isn't working this evening so I can stay late. . . the question is will I be able to fight through the fatigue to do so.

I can tell this Usenix documentation is going to take a while. . . I'm about 30 pages through the H-A tutorial and it's ~300 pages long. I'm trying to summarize the important points, but there are so many important points it becomes hard to edit it down.

I'm pretty set about going with Integratus now. Planning on how I'm going to drive out to CA. I've got three days between my final day here at ELNK and my first day at Integratus. So, I'm going to drive my piece of shit Geo Metro out there (this way I'll have a beater car that I can use until I get a real car) and I'm trying to decide between going I-40 or I-10. I wish Mapquest or Yahoo had a feature where you could modify your routes based on geographical topology. I'm not a big fan of driving in mountains and would like to reduce my time in the mountains to as little as possible. I guess I'll just have to do the visual inspection of the two routes and compare them with a seperate topography map. *sigh*

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