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Thursday, July 12th, 2012
9:33 pm - LJ proof-of-life check
FB sucks for anything that requires more than a paragraph to express.

I'd actually like to talk about virtualization (VMware) and networking. Specifically, about HA/FT/DRS on a "converged" (FCoE/iSCSI) network. Open to any related topics though.

Just wondering if I still have enough contacts here to make the discussion worthwhile. This is definitely long-format; pages, not paragraphs.

If here, speak up.

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Thursday, March 10th, 2011
9:50 pm - Fake Update
Just to keep my LJ account alive.

Side note: kinda sad to see that the vast majority of my social connections have moved exclusively to FaceBook. There is a lot in life that happens that can't be summed up in a paragraph. Write, damn you.

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Monday, October 12th, 2009
3:52 pm - Grab your sandbags...
KSFO 122114Z 1221/1324 19010KT P6SM OVC040
FM130300 16008KT P6SM SCT015 BKN035
FM130600 15010KT P6SM VCSH SCT015 OVC035
FM131000 13015G25KT 4SM RA SCT012 OVC015
FM131500 15025G38KT 4SM RA SCT007 OVC012
FM131800 17034G48KT 4SM RA SCT007 OVC012=

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Friday, June 5th, 2009
11:56 pm - Tosca Simulcast
Went to AT&T park tonight to watch a (free) simulcast of SF Opera's presentation of Tosca... with Brian, Daver, Chris and Eric. I'm not a huge opera fan, but I do REALLY like Tosca. It's a toss-up between Tosca and M. Butterfly for my fave. In any case, it was definitely surreal to watch Tosca while sitting on the green in a sports park -- with a HUGE crowd (filling 3/4ths of the park). I had no idea it would have this sort of draw... even in SF.

Daver made the mistake of standing above one of the up-lights shining on the trees just outside the park. Thus, Frankendave:

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Thursday, June 4th, 2009
10:58 pm - Hrm. Browsing Old XKCD Hits a Nerve?
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Monday, June 1st, 2009
11:01 pm - I Fucking Hate Aviation Accident Reporting
This from the NY Times, regarding the disappearance of Air France flight 447:

"A loss of cabin pressure could suggest a break in the fuselage, but planes are built to withstand buffeting from a storm’s updrafts and downdrafts. It could also be a consequence of an electrical failure, if the plane’s air compressors stop working."

Yeah. Electrically-powered air compressors supply pressurized air to the cabin.

/facepalm

Urm, the "air compressors" that supply pressurized air to the cabin are (gasp) the jet engines (weird, given that they're giant air compressors, no?)... and if they all stop supplying compressed air, the lack of pressurization is probably the least of your worries.

If this happens, the masks automagically drop -- and provide enough O2 to get down to 10,000 feet where lack of pressurization is no longer an issue (but where fuel consumption *does* become an issue on a flight of this length over water... *if* the engines were still running).

I'll go out on a limb and guess something crazy... like incredibly severe icing, hail or turbulence in the thunderstorms along their route led to an in-flight loss of control/breakup. If it was "just" a loss of pressurization, they'd have descended to 10,000 feet and transmitted on a guard frequency that other airliners routinely listen on while flying oceanic routes.

Thunderstorms can, and do, produce weather that NO airliner can fly over or survive flying through. Modern commercial passenger jets have weather radar that allow them to pick their way through the worst of this -- but there were times where I looked at my own radar and decided to do a 180, backtrack, and land for a couple of hours to let things clear up before resuming a flight.

Depending on your fuel situation, this isn't always an option on an over-water flight though. Your only option may be to pick the least obnoxious route through weather. I would expect that the crew of 447 would have said something to ATC (asking for deviations and reporting conditions) if that happened though.

I'm guessing they got hit with something short, nasty and ugly... and weather-related since no terrorist group claimed responsibility.

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Thursday, May 28th, 2009
5:15 pm - Good Humor
I just recently got back from a Caribbean cruise with kuteluvr and his boyf Eric. Not a "gay" cruise mind you -- just us three sharing a cabin (okay, and gaying-up the whole ship).

Having done the Atlantis thing previously, I wondered how doing a "regular" cruise would compare.

I'm happy to report that doing a "regular" cruise was fantastic... at about 1/3rd the price of going on a "gay" cruise. We had a blast. A few days into the cruise we met an exceptionally cool guy, Michael -- an ex-pat New Yorker who had moved to Tampa... and we were immediately introduced to all the other gay and gay-friendly folks on-board.

I'd heard about how homophobic some Jamaicans could be... and given that we'd be stopping in Ocho Rios I was a little concerned about it. Our cabin attendant, Jaquiline, was Jamaican... so I wondered how she would deal with Chris and Eric being a couple as well.

I'm happy to report that EVERYONE during the cruise was cool. Jaquiline read us perfectly -- and kept Chris & Eric's bed together without asking (as well as being super-nice the entire trip). As a matter-of-fact, everyone on board was great... from the bartenders to our table-mates at dinner. The folks in the casino were awesome... from Hugh (my default bartender) to the dealers that knew us by name (if not reputation) after our first visit there. I'm a huge cynic... but I really felt like the staff we met were genuine with getting to know us.

The first couple we dined with were from NY... a cop, his wife... and their toddler. They had a great sense of humor and once everyone realized nobody at the table had any shame they told us how Michael, their kid, was conceived (apple martinis were involved). Due to some confusion about gals that were doing back-to-back cruises, we also had dinner with three very cool chicks from NZ and AUS, making even more friends.

It was a great cruise. I got in some faboo scuba diving in Grand Cayman... broke even on the blackjack tables... and really enjoyed everyone we met. Frankly -- I don't think I'll ever bother with doing a "gay" cruise again. There's just as much opportunity to meet cool people and have a blast on a regular cruise as on a dedicated gay one.

Chris & Eric

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Attempting to be fabulous

fabulous overload

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Friday, May 1st, 2009
7:23 pm - Dripping Wet - Great Fun
Having heard of all of the cruise ships that have diverted to SF because of the swine flu scare in Mexico, I hoofed it down the Embarcadero today toward Pier 39 to see what was up.

Two ships disgorging passengers: one from Royal Caribbean and one from Carnival. I couldn't help but empathize with the pax. They thought they were heading for the Mexican Riviera... and wound up with an SF +north itinerary... and landed in SF during the heaviest rain we've had in months.

I sorta take weather in stride. I walked the 30 minutes from Fisherman's Wharf back to my place listening to happy tunes and whistling... while being drenched. I'm sure I looked pretty crazy. So be it. I can't stop the rain -- might as well enjoy it. I returned home soaked to the bone and could hardly stifle how fun it was to be so wet :-P I was grinning from ear-to-ear as I squished my way across the lobby.

It's a lot more fun to revel in being wet than it is to bitch about it :-) To their credit, it seemed like a lot of the cruise passengers today felt the same way too. I met a few cranky folks, but the vast majority appeared to be making lemonade out of their lemons.

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Thursday, March 19th, 2009
3:15 pm - Shits and Giggles
just for the fun of it, I've spent several hours today going through my various Linux boxen bringing them up-to-date. considering one of 'em was still on fedora core 4, you might say I've been lax over the last few years :-P me, the ex-security weenie running something that isn't even a supported release these days? eep.

it's really been interesting to see how much my sys-guru skills have atrophied. I used to be able to speak uber-fluent regex in my sleep. I still remember all of the day-to-day commands and options, file locations and whatnot... and I'd still consider myself pretty proficient... but it was a little distressing seeing the number of times I had to hit up man pages to configure the more esoteric stuff. these were things I could easily pull out of rote memory four years ago. I used to be able to write snort and ipchains rules on the fly.

I've also got a collection of various tools and shell scripts I've written over the years that I move onto every new machine I build. I popped a few of the more complicated ones open to read just for nostalgic reasons -- and jeebus, I'm rusty. I'm totally anal-rententive when it comes to commenting my code... thank god... because half of the regex-heavy stuff I wrote looks like modem noise years later.

methinks I need to spend a couple of weeks dipping back into the tech.

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Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
4:46 pm - Whew
Barring a meteor strike or other hilarity, the whole "sell dad's condo" schtick should be over-and-done with on Friday.

All the papers are signed. Tax docs are filled out (fuck you, California). Buyers are approved. Final walkthrough complete.

This is my first time selling a property. It seems to me that there's a lot more paperwork on the seller's end than I remember having to deal with as a buyer... and, frankly, it's pretty fucking expensive to be a seller.

I got a small (2%) break on commissions because the husband-and-wife relator team handled both sides of the transaction, but I'm kinda blown away by how much title, escrow, origination, HOA transfers, various kinds of insurance and "miscellaneous" charges amount to.

Oh, BTW -- even though you'll be buried in paperwork if you do a transaction like this, watch the numbers like a hawk. I found an error that would have cost me over $4,000 if I hadn't caught it.

On a low-value property (at least by SF standards) these fixed fees can very easily eat-up 15-20% of the sale price. Overall, getting out from under inheriting his condo was an 8% loss (mostly because I was a boob and didn't sell it before the market on the central coast tanked, big time).

In any case, when this is finished two days from now, it's one less thing to worry about.

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Monday, March 2nd, 2009
6:34 pm - Heroism
Dunno if this is going to seem like an odd post... but I've had a few discussions with friends about US Airways flight 1549 that was forced to land in the Hudson River after the engines ingested some (presumably tasty) geese shortly after departure.

Since the captain successfully ditched in the Hudson... the press has repeatedly described him as a hero.

I really dislike that moniker... especially when applied to pilots who carry out their duties is exigent circumstances. As often as not, there are so many other factors that skew the outcome that attributing the success of the effort to "heroism" is, truly, idiotic.

It's not really all that complicated. You've ingested a bunch of birds at a low altitude, lost both engines... and there's not time to do an in-flight restart. What do you do? Look for the softest and least expensive thing to crash into. Hey, look, there's a river. Your choices are to land in the river or downtown Manhattan. Every pilot I've ever known would take the river rather than hope for a restart.

It's not heroism to make the sane choice: the one you've been trained over-and-over again to make.

To be sure, the captain should be credited for making the right decision at the right time and not losing his cool -- but the real "heros" here were the thousands of hours of training... the instructors... all of the other pilots and engineers who worked together to develop the syllabus that made the decision chain and landing possible.

Heroism didn't save the day. Competent flying did. Reaching this level of competency wasn't the Captain's sole accomplishment -- it was born of many years of hard work between pilots, the FAA, the NTSB... and lessons learned from more tragic outcomes.

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6:03 pm - Annnnnd... Slightly Miffed
Certain VIN numbers of the older ('04) Aprilia I've got were subject to a recall a while back. Seems there was a structural weakness in the swing arm (the thing that holds up the entire ass-end of the bike, including the rear wheel).

Last time I had it in the shop, I asked them to take a look at my VIN, and if it was subject to the recall to replace the swing arm. Call me crazy, but having the rear half of my motorcycle depart at 180 MPH sounded like more excitement than I wanted.

"Non è un problema!" I was assured.

Wrongo. I just received a letter from the factory wondering why I hadn't yet replaced it. Grrr. Time to have words with the shop. I don't care about trivial mistakes, but this swing arm issue has killed a few people (thus the recall).

Thankfully, I've been riding the new bike pretty much exclusively -- and it doesn't have the same defect.

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5:53 pm - Let the Negotiations Begin
The buyers for my dad's condo have finished their inspection... as well as the more regimented inspections by licensed folks.

Brian and I had pre-emptively taken care of things like putting earthquake straps on the water heater (a code change in the years since the place was built). The inspector did find a little termite and wood-boring beetle damage (fix = $3K). The buyers also wanted a couple of faucets and doors replaced, and a carpet cleaning.

The $3K for the bug damage is something that's pretty non-negotiable. The buyers are getting a VA loan... and the VA is notoriously strict about that stuff. Hell, anyone approving a loan should be.

I did a (fairly generous) armchair estimate on the cost of the rest of the things they'd requested be repaired prior to sale and figured I'd knock $2K off the price as a counter-offer to fixing it before closing. It's 8 hours round-trip just to flick on a light switch down there... so I think (hope) it makes more sense for both of us to just make a cash swap for the punch-list items.

Inching closer to being done. For the life of me, I can't find the deed to the place that was sent to me after I paid it off. Sooo... had to send $50 to the VA for a replacement. Here's to hoping they don't move at a glacial pace.

Thus far, things have progressed fairly smoothly. There's this really pessimistic (realistic?) side of me that cringes at every incoming phone call from the realtors or title company though... expecting some sort of pain-in-the-ass news.

That sort of curmudgeonly attitude served me well in my career choices... but it makes for a lot of heartburn in daily life.

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Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
7:13 pm - A Relief
Just got a report back from the estate sale agents down in Santa Maria... saying that damn near everything sold. I was fairly certain that they'd be able to clear out the condo itself... but was really worried that the garage would be problematic.

I had a serious load of car parts in there; including a 600 lb. engine and an equally ungainly and hard to move rear end that were remnants from my Camaro rebuild. To be sure, these were some choice car parts for a vintage car nut -- but I wasn't at all confident they'd be able to sell them in an afternoon. It sounds like they found a buyer for the whole lot. That's a huge relief.

The only thing that left me (and the estate agents) scratching our collective heads was that two sets of really splendid china from my dad and my mom both failed to sell. I was sure these would be amongst the first things to be snatched-up.

Fine with me. It sorta bugged me to know they'd be let go at an "estate sale" price. My problem is that I simply don't have the space for them in my own home. I'm okay with hanging onto them even if it means putting 'em in a storage unit. I'd like to be able to pull them out and use them some day.

My friend Brian and I head down there tomorrow to do the final close-out of the place. I feel really weird about that. It feels good to be getting this done... but it's a real mixed bag of emotions. I'm almost... scratch that... I *am* dreading seeing the place cleaned out. Devoid of the things that remind me of my life with my dad for so many years.

Sigh. And I guess that's the reason it's taken me so long to do this. It feels like I'm erasing a big part of our history together. Yeah, I know that I'm only letting go of material things... and that it will never erase the memories... but it's hard to give up the artifacts of life. Things I'd looked at and touched since my earliest memories. Things that reminded me of my dad when I looked at them. Things we shared together.

It had to be done, but I feel a lot of guilt and remorse over doing it. Then again... if my dad were still here I know what he'd say about most of the stuff I was hanging onto. He'd tell me to jettison the crap, and just keep the important bits. I hope I did just that.

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Thursday, February 19th, 2009
1:03 pm - Crazy Obfuscation
I've been going through my bills lately, looking at services I haven't used in years. I'm looking at you, AOL... eFax... Vonage... et al.

All of them share one remarkably predictable component: desperately hiding how to cancel their services.

In all three instances, I had to Google my way to their customer "service" people responsible for canceling my accounts. And then wade through endless phone trees to get to a human... and then suffer their scripted responses.

I got to talk to someone who said, "you can call me John"... who was obviously located somewhere in India. John gets around. All of the Indian call center employees for these companies are, "John."

I was really polite. When "John" launched into his scripted response, I said, "I know you have to do this -- but I just want to cancel my account without receiving sales pitch. Cancel my account, now."

Which led to, naturally, a second level of scripted responses. Services that were charging me $29 a month suddenly wanted to charge me $14 a month... and then $4 a month, desperately trying to avoid my bail out.

eFax was the worst. I finally had to say, "cancel my account or I'll report you to the FTC for ignoring my request" before they took care of it.

This totally reminds me of buying a gym membership in the '90s. Easy to sign up... but companies like 24 Hour Fitness required a snail mail request to cancel... supported by things like power bills to prove you were who you said you were.

Things haven't changed much since then.

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Saturday, February 14th, 2009
4:13 pm - Whew
With the help of friends like Brian and Chris and Andrew, I've finally sorted through the artifacts of my dad's life.

I can't begin to describe how hard this has been for me. My dad was an incredible documentarian of his own life. Tens of thousands of photographs, slides, audio recordings, 8mm films and box after box after box of paperwork dating from the 1940's until his death.

Amongst his effects are an INCREDIBLE history of the US military and civilian space programs. Everything from Jupiter missiles in Turkey (read: cause of the Cuban missile crisis) up to the Space Shuttle and MX missle programs. From his time in the USAF to his 35 years working for Rocketdyne, he collected and preserved this history carefully. If you're into history, his collection is jaw-dropping. He was there -- and preserved first-hand accounts of how all of this played out.

Thing is -- he also collected an incredible quantity of completely generic and insignificant information as well. You want his mileage calculations from his 1966 Thunderbird? Got 'em. You want to know every possible angle to photograph Morrow Rock from -- over a period of 20 years? Got the photos and slides... thousands of them. You want every defective part ever replaced in a vehicle we worked on together? They're in a storage unit. Several hundred pounds worth of them. Want every key he's ever had that doesn't go to anything anymore? Got 'em.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. I'm not kidding when I say you could fill a 20x20x10 room floor-to-ceiling with *just* the photographs he'd taken... most of them printed on slides.

I can't describe how hard it was to go through all of these things he'd held on to. Parts of it were so important that there was no way to simply sort the wheat from the chaff. In the end, it required going through stacks of boxes... trying to identify what should be kept. The worst part was, throwing away anything made me feel sick. He'd kept what he'd kept for a reason... and now it was up to me to identify what should be held onto and passed on.

This process has taken three years... and the rental of a 16' dump truck for a half-dozen or so trips to the dump and/or Goodwill. All of the "important" stuff has finally been moved into storage and the rest is part of an estate sale that happens a week from now. His condo has been sold... and should close within 45 days. All I'm bringing back to SF, for now, is the Camaro we restored together and my tool chest. It will probably take me another year to sort through the bits of his (and our) history that seemed important enough to keep.

This has been, by far, the hardest thing to work through in my life. I'm really lucky to have the friends that I have. Without them, I'd still be avoiding doing what I needed to do. For the first time since he passed away, I feel like I'm moving on. It hurts, but it's moving in the right direction.

On the really happy side -- I'm thrilled to death that my friend Brian and I got the Camaro cleaned-up and back in running order. This is the third iteration of my first car -- purchased while I was a senior in high school. The first rebuild of it was strictly for racing... and it was plenty fast... 525 HP or so. This last iteration, working on it with my dad (who -- ahem -- blew up the previous engine showing off) saw it get a completely new interior, fresh paint, updated suspension and steering, a massive Ford 9" rear end... and a 685 HP motor. I'm really looking forward to bringing it back to SF and driving it once in a while. It was the last big project my dad and my friends and I worked on together... and it makes me really happy to see it on the road again.

There are only two things I have now that I feel a real direct, physical, connection with my dad through: the Omega watch he had on hist wrist for over 50 years... and the car we busted our knuckles together over. Any time I look at the watch or the car, I see my dad. That's a nice thing.

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Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
2:27 pm - Sony Releases New Stupid Piece of Shit

Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

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Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
12:12 am - Sometimes I Love the Interwebs

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Saturday, November 29th, 2008
9:52 pm - My First MUNI Boxing
yee hah.

I was waiting for a train at 4th and king tonight. when I got up on the platform, there was some dude yelling at the top of his lungs on the southbound side, waving a stick around. typical crazy. you can't ride any further southbound from this stop... so my nutjob meter was at 11.

no worries. I'll just stick to my northbound side of the platform and ignore the crazy.

northbound train approaches, and screaming guy shifts to my side of the platform (uh-oh) and walks towards me. as soon as he gets close, he moves towards me, smacks into me, and yanks my iphone earbuds off of me and keeps going.

I pull 'em back... and when he keeps going, grab his shoulder and pull him back too saying, "no -- you don't."

we exchange words. mostly crazy guy yelling and me saying, "just let go of my cord."

he gets on board the first car... and I try to distance myself and get on the second.

onboard, he continues to scream at nobody on the first car (and occasionally at the operator). we go two or three stops until we hit folsom, and I get off. he's looking at me, and gets off at folsom too. the train hasn't even pulled away yet, and he's looking down at the platform screaming at me.

the train pulls away. hey -- thanks, MUNI pussy operator, for not calling the cops on crazy dude.

I try to play, "ignore the crazy" and attempt to walk past him on the other side of the platform. he moves to that side. I move to the other side. he moves to the other side. I get within stick distance, and he takes a swing at my head.

so I kick him in the hips, towards the edge of the platform... and he obliges gravity by taking a 4' fall onto the tracks... then takes off northbound towards the ferry building.

I waste 5 minutes trying to dial 911.... and enjoy the entire system failing every single time I try to call.

I finally get through... cops show up... and remind me how fucking useless it is to rely on law enforcement to prevent anything from happening.

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Saturday, November 22nd, 2008
5:35 pm - Recursive Geek

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