joy { Happy Birthday Nerdwife

Happiness to you on this day of arbitrary time measurement on completing another solar cycle of existence. To you I give the gift of music and my love.

and because I can't resist...


musings/work { And here I go again on my own...

Well not really. I've just been kicking the idea of going free-lance, Sys Admin for hire, in the back of my mind for about 5 years now. Trying to figure out what I'd need to do. I know I'd need contacts, some way to market myself, and a good stable of initial customers. As well as a way to do contracts, make sure I get paid and such. I did my own company thing twice. Both times I couldn't make a go of it because I needed to keep my own job to cover costs, so I know I was doing something wrong.

I think I'm at a phase, much like my father had, when in his 30s he decided he wanted to become a farmer, where I want to be my own boss. Choose my own work. I have skills, I'm creative and experienced in my given profession, I think people may have a need for my talent, and I'm tired of working for 'The Man'. Ideally I'd like to have a number of clients, each of whom I'd spend 2-6 billable hours per week on. Small to mid sized for-profits, non-profits, academic places would be ideal. Some place where they only need 1-2 Sys Admins, and I could control aspects of the environment, build the systems how I see fit, shape the environments to what I think are a good meld of customer needs with best practices. Can do Linux (various flavors), Solaris, AIX, HP-UX. Well versed in security policies, architecture, backup/recovery/business continuity, networking, and heterogeneous integration. I have weaknesses, sendmail and printing sub-systems are still not my forte (but I'm a fast learner). Ideally I'd like to be able to work 3-5 days/week and a bit more free time, and only be on call if I choose or get reimbursed well for it. I'm not adverse to travel, just don't want to spend a lot of time away from home, nor can I really afford to pay my expenses upfront and get reimbursed at this point.

So this is really still in the dream stage. I'm asking for a lot and I'm not sure as a UNIX admin this fantasy could become a reality. Plus health insurance in America is expensive when you pay your own way, and with my previous 'condition', I'm uninsureable (per the insurance companies own policies) for at least 10 years, maybe longer, and then I get to pay 2x-4x times more what other people pay. Because I was unlucky enough to have cancer once...and survived.


tech/work { spoofing hostids in solaris 10 native zones

So at work we have an application suite that uses a licensing tool that is bound to specific hostids. This can pose a problem as in Solaris 10, the non-global zones inherit the hostid of the global (or source) zone, meaning you could only have one copy of this software running at a time, not cool if you want to leverage zones.

With the new Solaris 8 and 9 branded zones, you can embed a string in the XML config file like this:

add attr
set name=hostid
set type=string
set value=80001234

and it will reassign the hostid. This was put in place so you could pick up and move Solaris 8/9 install and move them to within a zone. Good idea, useful feature...only it doesn't work for native Solaris 10 zones. I didn't read the docs fully and was dismayed as I thought this was part of Solaris 10 Update 4. It isn't. I then went on a two day search for a solution. The first day was pursuing official SUN channels. This only resulted in a response that a RFE (request for enhancement) has been made and it will appear in an update of Solaris 10 in the future. Not good for my more immediate needs.

Day two was spent with the swiss army knife for sys admins, google. I really only spent two hours researching it but in that time I found a few things. One is that this is not a new need, people have been looking to do this since 2005 when Solaris 10 was released. Secondly there are some easy ways to do it and some less than ideal ways to do it. Eventually what helped me solved my problem was this post here (http://tinyurl.com/6fa63z). I tried the compile your own newhostid.so library and it worked, but I had problems with other shared libraries not working, mostly because of the LD_PRELOAD flag needs to have all your system libraries for proper functioning. That page also had a link to someone who put together a dtrace script that let you spoof host ids on the fly. He has a dtrace script called zhostid with the source found here (http://tinyurl.com/62wjq5). This was exactly what I was looking for as it let me add more zones to the list as I built more, could be start/stopped at anytime with seemingly minimal impact on the system. And it works fine in a clustered environment, which is where these zones are running. You just need to put this script into a start script for boot time in both nodes (or as many as you have). Now this is the part I don't like. I generally don't like using nohup for scripts, but for now it was the only way I can get this script to start and background and keep running. I'm researching putting this into SMF if I can.

For now I made a


start script that just basically called this script and backgrounded via nohup. I then linked the script old school into rc3.d until (if I can) put it into SMF.

cd /etc/rc3.d ; ln -s /etc/init.d/zhostid S99zhostid

Some caveats.

First off this script isn't supported. Its meant for demonstration purposes and the author states this clearly in his comments in the script, and its released under GPL, so make sure to credit it properly if you make changes. SUN generally doesn't support host id spoofing, I guess with the exception of in branded zones, but they also at this time do not provide functionality to easily do this.

Secondly, you are modifying the running system and modifying a system call. Dangers are inherent with procedures like this. But I feel in this instance it is fairly safe and non-destructive. You just need to be aware this could cause some oddities if you're ever troubleshooting.

But it works. And seems to work well for the needs I had.


musings/self { Guess I cannot disagree with this assessment...

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...

Outcast Genius

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in all three, earning you the title of: Outcast Genius.

Outcast geniuses usually are bright enough to understand what society wants of them, and they just don't care! They are highly intelligent and passionate about the things they know are *truly* important in the world. Typically, this does not include sports, cars or make-up, but it can on occassion (and if it does then they know more than all of their friends combined in that subject).

Outcast geniuses can be very lonely, due to their being outcast from most normal groups and too smart for the room among many other types of dorks and geeks, but they can also be the types to eventually rule the world, ala Bill Gates, the prototypical Outcast Genius.



Take The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test at HelloQuizzy

musings { WoW as a Terrorist training ground?

Wired, the pinnacle of journalism has posted an article about WoW being used to analyze people's behavior to study terrorism.

My take on this article.

1) They're trying to get play by cashing in on the 'World of Warcraft' popularity.

2) They found retards to contribute to the article. Seriously. I agree WoW is a good place to study social interactions, its an MMO. It has an in-house, partially player driven economy (not a total free economy) so it has its value for studying economics. It would be a good place to observe people for psychological study, as here you have a place where people's identities are hidden behind avatars, and there becomes a certain freedom for ass-hattery. But terrorism? No, griefers aren't terrorists, they're ass-hats.

This article is a stretch. I think even the author realized this as the link at the end between Blizzard and DHS feels weak and half-hearted.

gaming { Alliance! I'm in ur Citiez getting mah questz on

That's right. Pernox, a Horde, has picked up a quest in your own City of Darnassus. Your defenses are weak. Your guards are asleep. I got me +1000 AD rep and 17gold beyatches!

Your own Dawnwatcher Shaedlass is in such dire need of help he'll talk to anyone.

P.S. Evilbobby loves gnomes!



wow { Pernox, a history in pictures

lvl 1 - strange new world
lvl 10 - lost in this new world
lvl 20 - trick or treat...give me your money!
lvl 30 - my helmet looks stupid
lvl 40 - riding in style
lvl 50 - public transportation
lvl 60 - fiery vengeance
lvl 70 - I am become death
Pernox is watching

casual_friday { all about bling and stuff

M.I.A., "Paper Planes"


food { the farmers market: good, quality eats dirt cheap

Nerdwife and I have been going to farmer's markets for years. We started about a year after we were married. The St. Paul Farmer's Market is one of the best I've experienced. It features only produce and meats from farms within 75 miles of the City. It was huge and had an amazing selection. Homemade breads, meats, honey, and a large selection of vegetables. Everyone there were owner/operators which is a fancy way of saying they were from family farms or co-ops. $20 could buy you two canvas bags full of fresh, minimally handled, beautiful, tasty food. It was great for people on budgets to get produce as $20 in the grocery store could probably buy you as much, but the quality would not be as good.

The market always has a certain energy to it as well. Musicians come and play. Artists sell their wares (the St Paul Farmer's Market is in the heart of Lower Town, where the artistic collectives were located).

We were excited when we moved to Rochester and heard they had a farmer's market. We were sad though, the first year there were only a handful of vendors. But that has changed. Every year it keeps getting bigger. Its now coming on par with the St Paul one, just on a smaller scale. Musicians are there now. A great florist provides a weekly source of beautiful things for our house. I always buy the radishes because I'm a sucker for radishes.

We use the farmers market to supplement our CSA share. I'm in heaven when the tomatoes are in season.

I recommend Farmer's Markets if you area has them. Especially if you are on a budget, it may prove to be a great, local source of high quality produce that won't break your wallet. Its also a great way to meet the people who grow your food. Hear good music. Be outside.

Check it out:


St Paul Farmer's Market


casual_friday { When there is trap setup for you...

'through the roof 'n' underground' by Gogol Bordello


reviews { movie: Wall-e

There's not a whole lot of plot to discuss here: if you're interested in this movie you already know what happens and can guess how it ends. It's a movie with simple messages, ostensibly for children. That said, it's also the most crushingly depressing cartoon with themes of overconsumption/pollution/rule by megacorporations and the futility of individual existence that I have ever seen. *Spoiler alert* The requisite happy ending doesn't actually leave you cheerful, it's just there to forestall a wave of suicides. If you're one of those abnormally cheerful people whose beaming countenance makes me scowl before you can open your mouth, please see this movie before approaching me. Since none of you who ordinarily read the blog match this description, my only other recommendation is: the animation is well done and the message is blunt enough to reach most; bring your Wally-world-addicted kin, but keep them away from sharp objects afterwards.


family { Creative Talent

My two cousins and their friends won a movie contest!

My cousins are the lead star (pony tailed steven seagal look alike)and the mohawked sniper in this film:

They won a playstation 3. Contest entries and review is here.

The judges verdict:

"Overall entertainment in video-50%"

So this is the deciding factor I guess. Both are highly entertaining and arguably better moviemaking than Seagal's Submerged or Ticker. I'm very proud of these guys. It was a toss-up, but I decided to go with Killing Time. There are so many funny little jokes but not at the expense of seeming almost like a real action movie. Lots of good guns, a mohawked sniper, and most of all a monster truck. Maybe they faked me out, but I get the impression these crazy fuckers actually crushed an old pickup truck for this contest. That is not somebody you want on the streets, that is somebody you want indoors playing Playstation 3. So with all due respect to the excellent Impossible To Kill, I gave first prize to Killing Time.

Congratulations guys! I grew up with these guys and yes that was a real truck smashed.

P.S. I'm still available to play a zombie in your 'Bad Taste' homage.


videos { Schlacht mein Affe

Rammstein, two of my favorites, 'Du Hast' and 'Engel'

musings { server maintenance

System Administration is a profession filled with long pauses. Computers really aren't fast. At least not as fast as human thought. Sure things move at the speed of near light (electrons on circuits), but CPUs still are not as fast as the speed of thought. They just seem that way because they have the benefit of living in a closed system world of relatively small size. The job itself swings from oh shit moments of pure terror (system down! code brown!) to moments of boredom (meetings, paperwork, inventory). System maintenance is a bit of a mix. You have minutes of intense activity and worry (i.e. hope this survives the reboot test) and looooong stretches of boredom (hundreds of patches being applied one at a time).

During these long stretches of waiting; but you can't walk away type of waiting you have to sit and watch. The mind wanders. I found myself listening to my 'Gallifrey Public Radio' playlist. Its a playlist of non-DRM mp3s from either CDs I've ripped at home,or acquired via legal methods (i.e. artists websites offering free downloads). Its a hodge-podge of genres and sounds. In me sounds, like smells evoke strong memories. Time, places, feelings, like a wayback machine. So I've been flopping around time and space for the last three hours while this system patches.

Its better than cable.

I also joined twitter. Not sure if I'll continue using it. I get where its coming from, and the demographic its meant to server, but I'm not sure I like it. Twitter seems like a service for those people who feel the need to talk...constantly. When I'm doing it feels stupid as my life isn't that interesting. Reading others and I feel like a perverted voyeur. But its 'hip' and 'it' so I'll give this twit shit a try.

My first twit was 'taking a mental twit' because that is what it feels like when you tweet. Like you're sitting on the edge of the cesspool that is the Internet and excreting the mental equivalent of a bowel movement.

Much like blogging actually, but for the attention deficit.

casual_friday { There's something in the air tonight...

'Atmosphere', Joy Division


musings { Sorry the updates have been minimal...

And at that YouTube videos.

Its not that my creative juices have been low, in fact they have been flowing. Just I've been spread in a lot of different directions. A lot of my energy has been dumped into my Guild. We've picked up a lot of new, wonderful people lately. Nerdwife has also broke sixty and well into Outlands, so I've been spending time with her there.

As I've stated before, WoW is what most people have as TV time. I do this for a few hours in the evening, usually after chores (though sometimes not), and if I don't have work. I think its far more interesting and definitely more interactive than what has been on TV for the last few years. The only exception is the of course our one TV addiction. I've started a new alt for farming and possibly raiding. He's a druid. I plan for him to be feral/restoration and plan to swap as needed. Our guild has a bit of a tank shortage at the moment, as we still have a number of tanks leveling (as well as new healers). I plan to have a character that can fulfill a tank or healer role as needed in raids. But he's only level 13 so I have a while to decide. I have numerous alts that I've started for various professions; my shaman the leatherworker; my hunter the jewelcrafter; my warlock the tailor and enchanter; my druid the herbalist and skinner; my mage the pyro-maniac engineer; my warrior the blacksmith. But none of these are as much fun or have a special place in my heart that Pernox occupies. My energy in game has been spent being a liaison between IoD and another guild 'Total Recall' which is the reincarnation of the original guild I first joined when I started WoW. We've merged our resources to help us progress in 25 man end game content. So far its worked well. We're moving beyond Gruul's Lair and into Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Caverns. We've even stuck our toes into Mount Hyjal.

So yes WoW has been a big chunk of my free and creative time. But its not all that I've been doing.

I keep two journals now. One is my day to day that I've been keeping for years now. Its up to volume 2. It contains my thoughts and feelings and interpretations on my journey through life. My other journal is a creative writing project. I'm trying to develop my skills as a writer. I've always wanted to be able to tell stories. My first project I assigned to myself is something I know well, Pernox. I'm trying to write a journal from the perspective of my character. Its written in first person and is intended to be a journal of travels and advice for future Deathstalkers (Forsaken rogues). Its pretty bland. But other writers who have either training in writing or are professional writers tell me that the first step is to start writing. Keep writing stuff until you've refined your basic technical skills and develop your own style.

The other project I've been working on is my 10+ year quest to learn the bass guitar. Its really hard for me. I have a book 'Bass Guitar for Dummies' and I've been spending time just learning the strings and getting my hands, used to a lifetime at the keyboard, to learn how to move on the strings. The bass I have is a hand me down, and it has some imperfections. I'm getting used enough to the sounds and how things should sound that I think for my birthday this year I will buy myself a new learner bass. I've also found some videos on YouTube that I've been watching.

Work has been more of a grind than WoW. I've moved beyond soul sucking. I've checked out. I have a couple of projects that are high impact and somewhat interesting. But this place has finally broke me. I don't have the energy or the will to continue to try and change things for the better. I'm just passing time and collecting a paycheck and trying not to get fired until Nerdwife and I are ready to move away from Rochester. Training budget has been frozen since 2006 so I've not been able to add anything to my skillset, which means its time to get out of here before my skills degrade anymore. I've also not felt that I can stand behind my work that I've done here. Which hurts. I've always taken pride in my work. Even if it hasn't been the greatest, I would stand by it and use my failures as learning experiences. Here it doesn't matter. It takes so much effort and energy and time to get anything changed here I'm just gonna take the path of least resistance. Do what I can. And polish my resume and tap into my network of contacts as to how the job prospects are for my profession.

Nerdwife and I haven't decided where we're gonna go yet. We have some ideas. One this is for sure. Once we leave Rochester, we will never look back, nor will we probably ever come back. I won't say the last four years of our lives have been wasted here, but it was amazing how fast four years of progress and advancement can be taken away on pure fabrication, hearsay, jealousy, and pettiness.

Last weekend we spent the 4th at a BBQ with our friends in the Cities, many of whom I've not seen for months. I miss those people. Genuine, real friends. People who weren't just pretending to be nice. People who we could let our guard down and with whom we could be ourselves. Something we don't get to do in Rochester, save in the remaining sanctuary of our home. I went to Nerdnight the following day and played a guest appearance. It felt good rolling the dice again with the Nerds. Even though I was in Rochester, I used to religiously go to Nerdnight twice a month. However I had to take a break due to the events of last April. I'm on extended leave, but it felt good to know I will have a place at the table.

Much good news with some of the Nerds. Goran, who in my opinion has had one of the most interesting life paths of anyone I know, has in the last year found his birth certificate (was lost in a fire). Picked up a passport (so he and John can travel, especially to Sweden and Finland). Found his family and extended family. And now will be able to marry John, legally in California. I wept with joy and happiness for my friends.

I've been drained a lot lately. I don't think its anything to worry about other than anxiety over how things have been unfolding the last few months. I've not slept well. I keep having feelings of helplessness and hopelessness randomly.

I think I'm still losing weight, but my eating patterns have been up and down. I still need to lose a lot of weight. I need to ride my bike more. I stopped going to the gym when the badness started since many of the people who are central to it went there at the same times we did.

I'll never forgive those people, ever. People who I called friend, shared food with, let into my house and my life. Its not my nature to wish ill on people. But with these people, I would not feel bad if I heard something tragic happened to them. These duplicitous bastards deserve whatever bad things in life happen to them for what they've done.

One day at a time. One problem at a time.