Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time Out

Going to rest. Briefly. Time out from the gym. And tri training. Right shoulder been aching. Right wrist, the same. Haven't lifted since Friday. Getting better, slowly. Still not 100% though. Don't want to tear anything. Not, again.

And these short days. Depressing. Too much darkness. Too much cold. Feel it in my bones. Morning and night.

So I'll take a week off. Regroup. Decompress. And come back strong. Hopefully.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

She says: gaping

The stitches are out. Cindy's not happy with the situation. If you can imagine. The flexing isn't right. And the wound is not closed. Still open? She says: gaping.

Doubts it will heal. Doubts removing the alien tracking device was the right move. Doubts the stitches were in long enough. Swarms of doubt lingering around her head like a dull army of slow gray bees.

My prediction? The wound will heal. The flexing will get right. And she'll be the only one on Earth to notice the scar. But by the time those memories fade, she'll be on to the next arm of bees to keep her buzzing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Patient Zero

Cindy had homework. An assessment. A complete physical assessment of a patient, to be exact. And guess who had to be Patient Zero? Yeah, the husband. Moi.

Not only did I get to be the victim for twenty minute, I had to do it in a flimsy medical gown, while being videoed. Sounds like the plot for a really bad adult movie. But that is how I spent my lunch.

Hopefully she gets an A. All I got was a pack of cigarettes and a pat on the back, "Smoke up, Johnny!" 

... Thanks...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Third 10+ hr day this week. Tenth day in a row.  With two days to go before I can relax. I'm just plain tired. Mad. Tired. Disappointed. Stressed. Anxious. A Big Gulf sized swirl of negativity. That's me. 

It's the second half of a massive overhaul at work. A push to get the enterprise re-Citrixed. The current system was old when I inherited it six years ago. It's stunk up the place long enough.  

After three years of asking, I finally have the budget for a replacement. And exhaustion is a small price to pay to get out from under the old, rotting dinosaur. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Current Distractions

Bieber's Non-Baby. Hannah Montana's Growing Waistline. KK's 72 Day Marriage. Missing Baby Lisa. Cain's Groping. Cain's Other Groping. Cain's Other Other Groping. Maks & Hope Voted Off. Dr Murray Killed MJ. Another Twilight Movie. Solyndra. Millionaire Basketball Players Want More. Broken Heart Syndrome. Facebook Spammers. Penn State Riots. iPod. iPhone.


Monday, November 14, 2011

To Say No

I don't understand addiction. The apparent loss of control. The willingness to sacrifice health, money, family, friends for a little bit of a rush. Or a brief escape from reality.

I've always had the ability to stop when I wanted. Or to say no. The only thing that ever held a grip one me was, strangely enough, Mountain Dew. I even remember the last one I had: August 3rd, 1999.

At the time, I didn't realize what I was consuming. Never thought to look. Each night like four or six of them. "Green devil," we'd call it. A quarter per can from the machine just outside our office. A dollar a night. Sometimes more. Helped pass the time. But while waiting for Liam to be born, I noticed the contents of the bottle. The sugar. The caffeine. The calories. And I quit that moment. Cold turkey. Twelve plus years ago. They still call my names sometime. But the voices grow fainter each year.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


70+ hours later, issued an emergency downtime, transferred the last critical server to the new cloud, and I'm finally finished. Nothing like a 7-day work week to test your mettle.

Paid for the conflict with a lot of my dwindling sanity. Couldn't take too much more during my fraction of a day off. Spent it unwinding. Hair cut. Movies with the kids via Netflix. Knocked out some choirs.

And tried to break in some new shoes. My Filas Skeletoes. Only put in a mile before rain fell upon me. But had a good little run. Easier to feel the difference between heel striking (bad) and keeping on my toes (good.) Already notice a different stretch in my calves. Not sure how it will affect my training in the long run, but I'm going to try it for a while and see what comes of it.

Tomorrow: another week, and another project. Hopefully it won't be as crazy. But I'll keep running, one way or another.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Sixth day in a row. Sixty hours. Or more. Finally managed to get  redundancy setup. Maybe not the best manner. Or most direct. But it works. And if any piece of the equation fails, other pieces catch the load. Tested everything. Twice. And it finally works.

So tired. Too much time focusing. Measuring too many possibilities. Compounded with the physicality of racking and cabling and labeling and powering and dressing the myriad connections. Physical. Data. Network. All different layers and concepts and concerns pressing through my skull. Need ten hours of sleep. I'll be lucky to get five. So I'll stay tired. Until everything is done.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Agent Scully's Surgery

Some alien object has embedded in my bride's lovely hand. Not sure what it is. Not sure where it came from. Discovered it several weeks ago. At first, touching the area sent lighting through her hand, straight to her spine. Then she shined a flashlight through the meat between her fingers. And spotted the foreign invader. Like an angry grain of brown rice. Finally, last week, it started to rise to the surface. Forming an impressive zit-like head and daring me NOT to dig it out. (Click to zoom.)

However, Cindy being Cindy, I wasn't allowed to carve it out with a buck knife. Instead she opted for an out-patient adventure. Simple stuff, pretty much in line with what I wanted to do at home. But instead of Cindy slamming a couple of Jagerbombs, they'll put her under. And instead of a knife, they'll use a scalpel.

Ultimately, she did very well. Waited in pre-op for a couple of hours, texting checking Facebook. Then off she went. Twenty minutes later, the doctor comes to see me. Said he wasn't sure what it was, but sent it off for testing. Didn't have to dig to deep. Didn't see any nerve damage. Shouldn't even need physical therapy. And ten minutes later, they rolled her back to me. Shivering from the anesthetic, talking non-stop. A good sign. And she kept getting better from there. 

Hopefully Agent Scully's surgery will not offend the alien hivemind. I think it was a tracking device. And once they realize she's off the grid, then the real adventure will begin!

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Chaos To Come

My last semi-sane day. Tomorrow, a major work project begins in earnest. Not looking forward to the chaos to come. Resources flying in. The network team down a man. More than doubling the network density of my VM farm. More than tripling the storage reserves. And more than six fold more memory and computational resources. A big big upgrade. With me at the helm of this rocket. Changing out the engine while still in flight. We'll either crash and burn, or launch into a higher orbit.

Let's light this puppy... I'm ready to roll!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Full & Bored

Didn't go to the Peter Anderson Festival. Didn't get the Jamaican food I wanted. Instead, Cindy went to church with the kids, I went to Academy Sports (for shirts and shorts,) then wasted a trip to Best Buy (for short power cables I couldn't find,) and Lowe's (for light bulbs and clothes hampers that didn't fit.) Fortunately, lunch made up for my disappointing morning when I had a delicious Philly Cheesesteak at Tony Nelson's, in Gulfport, MS. The freshness of the ingredients was very apparent, especially the buns. And I actually enjoyed the owner (Tony!) preparing the food in front of me. Also LOVED the hand-made raspberry lemonade on the side. Everything well worth the price and the not-too-long wait. Easily the high point of my entire weekend was the few minutes I had savoring this fantastic sandwich. The best cheesesteak I've had in 5+ years!

More of my infrequent To Do's once I went home. Replaced some bulbs. Scoured my room and drawers for unused/unwanted items. Ended up reducing everything to far more manageable levels. Now, if only I could find a way to donate my mountain of books, I could reclaim even more of my life, time, and sanity. 

Finally an interesting workout at the gym. Standard superset for forearms. Then a KILLLLLLER core workout, courtesy of P90X. I thought I had some core conditioning. I thought wrong. A third of the way into an 18 minute workout and I was drenched in sweat, panting like a teenager on prom night. Wrapped it up with some great yoga. By the end of which, I had been joined by a 60+ year old Indian gentleman. He was across the room, doing poses, too. We didn't speak. Or I didn't. Had my headset on. But if his routine was half as enjoyable as mine, he went home a happy old dude.

And that was my weekend: Tasks. Training. And ho hum. 

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Training, Footwear, To Dos, & Dullness

Started off with some training at the gym this morning. Shoulders: dumbbell raises, machine press, machine raises, cable lifts, and machine shrugs. Plenty of energy and strength. Didn't over-commit but pumped up the intensity on most of the sets, especially the machine presses. My old wound continues to hold its own. I'll see if it can raise the bar, next week, with some new exercises.

My old Zoot running shoes wore out waaaaay too quickly. Not even six months of moderate workouts and they're worn thin. Like me. But some of the pads have faded. A couple are missing. And the heel pad is rapidly peeling off. I won't buy any of those again! Replacing them with Fila's new "They Aren't VFF" brand: Skele-Toes. Super minimal and I won't be able to use them during a triathlon (since it takes so long to put them on) but should be good for training. And they only cost $35. So if I loathe them, I'm not out TOO much.

Knocked out a could of lingering "To Do" items around the house. Went on a mini-cleaning spree to bundle all my training supplies into one much smaller location. Everything pretty much fits in a box twice the size of a breadbox, now. Including water gear, fuel, and cold-weather gear. Also found a door-stop I'd bought for Liam's room. Brushed nickle. Installed it on the inside of his door, complete with a cool magnetic catch. Then I whipped out the wood chisels and reseated the latches on his door and the bathroom door. I doubt anyone will notice the fruit of my labors, but now the doors shut properly and do not require any muscle to catch correctly.

Concluded the daylight on a semi-run with Cindy. Went fairly normal for us: lots of holding back. I slow down to keep her pace. She stops frequently and doesn't push herself enough. Frustrating if I dwell on it too much. But at least it got us out of the house for a while. And I squeezed in some light cardio.

Grilled steak. Washed it down with a Woodchuck. Then fired up Netflix and Cindy slept while I watched "For Your Consideration." And that was the night I opted for, instead of music and blues and drinks in downtown Gulfport. Slings and arrows. Slings and arrows.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Another item added to the long list of things "Jon Wishes He Didn't Know." Today's reference being: Fifth Disease. Also called "Slapped Cheek Disease," because the child develops a redness that looks as if she (in this case: Meg!) was slapped. And that is EXACTLY how it looks. (Click the picture to zoom.)

Fortunately it is a fairly common disease of childhood and has no lasting effects. Nurse Cindy diagnosed it last night, after we came home from the orchestra. I took Meg to her pediatrician for a time consuming, expensive, but official verdict: Fifth Disease. Except the doctor said the redness could last weeks and it isn't usual to see it spread so far down the back and belly.

But, it is what it is. And we all know Anxiety Woman will keep a close eye on Poor Meg for further developments. Left to her own devices, Meg's perfectly normal and still plotting to rule the world. Good girl!

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Following another brutal day at the office, the family converged at Gulfport High. Me, Cindy, Meg, Nana, Jason, Morgan, and Paw Paw Raybourn. A big fall music event. And Liam orchestrated for us. (Click the pic to zoom.)

All the schools kids dressed up in new clothes. Liam rocking a bowtie. Listening to them warm up. The bass notes low and clean. An excitement hanging thick in the auditorium.

Liam's group sounded great. Half the songs were very dependent upon his bass. Spy vs Spy. Stand by me. We all cheered and gave Liam a standing ovation. Great show. Everyone proud of him. Huddling around him and taking pictures. So much talent at such a young age. Lightyears beyond anything I was capable of. Already grown beyond the limits of any talents I passed along to him.

Then we come home. And out of nowhere (NOWHERE!) he picks up Meg's violin and starts playing. As if he'd been practicing on it. Took the songs he knew from his bass and played them the violin. It wasn't perfect, but we could hear what he was doing. And it wasn't bad at all. No idea where THAT came from, but it blew my mind right through the back of my head. And he's only twelve?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Rough Week

Non-stop at work. Three hours of back-to-back calls yesterday. Five hours on the phone total. So many projects. Each with a multitude of moving pieces. Everything up in the air. Vendors. Other engineers. Folks flying in. Hardware to unpack, rack, and cable. All different configurations. Most of it is breaking new ground. New network. New storage. Now layers. Nobody with any experience to help. No formal project plans. Just lighting the rocket and praying I can hang on. The air getting cold and thin as we climb higher. I'm staring into the sun most of the time.

Still training in the gym. Half marathon group starting up next week. Biking this weekend. Was supposed to swim today. But (of course!) seconds before I leave, something goes sideways. And I don't surface for nearly two hours. No mood for swimming, or anything else, after that.

There's always tomorrow. Another step closer to the end of this rough week.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Ruse Is About To Be Revealed

How quick that green worm turned. The illusionary euphoria of "the market" dispelled like a cheap parlor trick. The hedge fund wizards' bluff of pretending debt can be infinitely extended called by the Greek President himself who went All In, issuing a surprise public referendum on the pseudo-enforced referendum deal.

Maybe Greece will just accept default and go their own way, much like Iceland in late 2008. The Greeks can't pay their debt now, haven't been able to pay it for more than a decade, and even a 50% reduction by their creditors won't help. Any deal they accept now just prolongs their suffering.

But why all the drama and fury by the weeping wizards of Wall Street? Because they know the ruse is about to be revealed. That the financial emperors have no clothes. And even less money. Much like the burning hordes of Greece, the market mavens are all in debt to their red-rimmed eyeballs and have no way of paying their own liabilities once the collection plate gets passed around the room.

If Greece goes Tango Uniform, failing to meet its obligations, then a hailstorm of counter-party risk, in the form of Credit Default Swaps (CDS) will need to be paid out. Computerized triggers will get pulled. Bank accounts will open. And suddenly several million CDS holders scream "BINGO!" because they're owed several trillion (yes, TRILLION!) dollars on their risky investments. Except nobody is excited. Nobody is getting ready to collect their filthy lucre. No screams of bingo. Or triggers being pulled. Instead, the panic has started anew.

It is very likely that even though CDS have been piling up for more than a decade, few (if any) of them will be cashed in. Why? Because of the other end of the ruse, the other half of the lie: the so-called owners of the CDS never actually paid real money for those CDS they're clutching so tightly. Instead, they just promised to pay real money at some future date, which never arrived. No money has ever changed hands, and those risky investments aren't worth the paper their printed on (if they're printed at all!) because the owners can produce no receipt proving payment. So the effective worth of all those "investments" is actually close to zero.

And that is what this crisis is about: the fiction of money. There is none. No hedges. No bonds. No deposits. No protection. No backing. No insurance. No real cash. Nothing. Just a punch-drunk collection of grinning frat boys electronically exchanging nods and winks and promising to pay the beer tab next week. Like they promised last week. And for ten years worth of weeks before that. But now the tab is so ungodly huge that it dwarfs the Gross Domestic Production of many small nations. And the only thing the frat boys can produce for payment are rancid burps and well-manicured beer bellies.

Meanwhile, all their cars and houses in the Hamptons andregularly scheduled pay-per-views of Ultimate Fighting Championship have been funded by our IRAs, our pension funds, and the hollow shells of our 401Ks. Every penny and every real dollar we "invested" in the magic show of "the market" was instantly converted into ones and zeros then mixed into a toxic slurry of computer generated financial vehicles like collateralized debt obligations, naked shorts, fault resistant traunches, and other indecipherable forms of financial derivatives. We're all competitors in some pre-apocalyptic version of Thunderdome: two men enter, one man leaves! Except in this twisted version of our new reality: your so-called retirement enters, and nothing leaves.

Maybe Greece has seen the truth and they are going to accept their fate. They would rather reject the deal of 50% debt reduction, walk away from Thunderdome, and take their chances at starting over from scratch. That is what is spooking the exulted wizards of Wall Street.

Meanwhile, the rest of us rubes cling to the steel bars and stare, slack-jawed and clueless, as Dr Dealgood recites his all-too-familiar lines:
Listen all! This is the truth of it. Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone talking about hard rain! But we've learned, by the dust of them all... Bartertown learned. Now, when men get to fighting, it happens here! And it finishes here! Two men enter; one man leaves!