9.16.2009

musings { *knock*knock*knock* *pffftttt* Hello? This thing on?

But seriously? WTF? Yeah I know, no posts for quite a while. Been summer, been busy. Had some distractions and issues. Plus I've been in a news cave, so nothings been really working me up enough to do anything.

Sure I've been raiding more, and could post a ton of stuff about World of Warcraft. But honestly, who cares? Its a bit inside and not relevant.

Let's see. Some changes in Rochester. I lost my beloved 2nd office at Double-Click when it closed, which was a while ago. But a new coffeehouse is going to open soon that could be a DCC-mkII.

I was looking through my written daily journal, which really hasn't been daily since 2006. I started my first journal in 2004, and it was full by 2005. This last one has been open four years. Looking back through it, it hasn't been filled with much joy. Seems like life's been in a bit of a holding pattern of suck. Time for a change.

Ideas are bubbling, plans are forming. We'll see. All I know is we've been in Rochester for the length of time we planned, and its time to move on. Sadly, its not under the circumstances to which we first moved down here. But a valuable life lesson was learned, sorry at the price of our planned future. I hope one day the people who did these things to us get what they deserve.

5.07.2009

tv { Mental Bubblegum

Its been over five years now since we've had TV, real TV. As in cable or clear network TV. When we moved to Rochester we decided for mental health and initially financial reasons to cancel cable. For a while all the TV we had was channel 10 KTTC, off of bunny ears on a small TV in the bed room. Reception was terrible and I only watched it for the JV local news team at 10pm (which is horrible). With the digital conversion we don't even get that poor quality anymore.

I don't miss it. I've converted to watching things via Hulu.com and scifi.com et al. There really aren't many TV shows that interest me, but some times I find my mind wanting something fun and mindless. That is when I turn to...

THE HISTORY CHANNEL!

I've become addicted to this pseudo-science show called 'Monsterquest' where people go around the world searching out and trying to prove monster myths. Its a lot better than UFO hunters or Ghost Hunters since they sometimes actually find things (like the episode of large sharks in fresh water miles from sea). Its by no means meant to anything more than entertainment and I find it fascinating because at heart I'm a Monster/Ghost/Paranormal/Unexplained Hunter.

4.13.2009

in memoriam { dave arneson

I'm a few days late on this one, but I just wanted to take a moment to remember Dave Arneson, one of the co-creators of Dungeons and Dragons. I had the privilege to actually get to play D&D with Arneson at Twin Con a number of years ago. He was a down to earth DM and it was a lot of fun. He seemed like a nice guy, who lived in the Twin Cities as I understand it.

First Gary and now Dave. You guys provided me with so much, I couldn't even begin to calculate.

David Lance Arneson
October 01, 1947 - April 07, 2009

politics { Dear MN 6th District

Please do not re-elect Michelle Bachmann.

Thank you,

A 1st District voter

4.08.2009

must_see_tv { Tyranny...

Very good episode, and illustrates the BS and the paranoia of the Fox News crowd as well as full-frontal-idiocy of Michelle Bachman.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/index.jhtml?episodeId=223860

4.06.2009

musings { man for the life of me...

I can't think of anything to blog about anymore.

I blame Facebook.


And the self-medication.

3.26.2009

food { breakfast eats in Rochester, MN

I've lived here for almost five years now. I think I can give a rundown on good places to go and tuck in to some good breakfast.

This list will focus on local, non-franchise places as there are few left.

cheap eats

Cheap Charlie's - hard to find a better place for quality vs $$$ in Rochester. Basic, standard fair.

Runner up - Cafe Presto - another great place down by St Mary's. Menu is not as big as Charlie's but good food.

best cup of joe

Jasper's - not full breakfast menu. Just pastry and coffee, but the best cup in town since Maracelli's closed.

Runner up - Cafe Presto

best view

Mac's Cafe - overlooking Peace Plaza. Beautiful in the morning.

Runner up - Jasper's

best pancakes

Cheap Charlie's

Runner up - Cafe Presto (though they aren't on the menu)

best Greek omelet

Mac's Cafe

Runner up - Cafe Presto

veg friendly

If you're a veggie, you're not totally out of luck, but you are if vegan.

Cafe Presto - many no meat options

Cheap Charlie's

3.23.2009

musings { getting back in the groove

Writing friends of mine have often told me to improve writing, do it often and don't sweat the formatting. My take is that the technical things, grammar, spelling, etc. can be polished over time but the hardest part is just getting the words flowing. I've neglected this blog a long time, so I'll try and get back into the swing of things. It might be hard. My favorite topic upon which to rant was politics, but the last eight years of Bush pretty much drained me. The next big thing is World of Warcraft, but that too has also been draining me. I finished 'Dawn of War II' and I must say I found the story enjoyable. I liked how they weaved progression together via a set of main plot mission and a good number of distracting side missions you could take. It also focused more on your squad and building them up via levels and gear than having to worry about resource management. I liked that a lot. My only gripe would be the limited number of maps. Granted each mission was a little different until you exhausted all the optional ones, which were basically of three types; defend, assault, assassinate. I would like to have seen more maps. But I can't grouse too much. The maps were beautiful, almost fully destructible and the last map was a lot of fun (the final storyline mission). It is relaxing having your squad, whose AI isn't bad even with the occasional bonehead maneuver, just hosing a tremendous amount of firepower into the seemingly non-stop waves of the Tyranid hive. The Orks, both deadly and comic relief, are fun to play against, especially to hear their commentary. The Eldar an elusive and annoying foe, just like they are supposed to be. All in all a great start to 2.0 of this franchise.

Its made me go back and re-play Dawn of War I, the original. I had forgotten how well done that storyline was as well and it is enjoying to replay it. I picked up the 'Blood Ravens Omnibus' and its ok, but basically just filler between the DoW missions. But its letting me scratch my major WH40k itch that I currently can't seem to satiate. I'm 2/3 of the way through the second 'Space Wolf Omnibus' and while Lee Leightner is different than William King, the writing is close enough to keep me interested.

I realized the other day that I'm starting to consume a book a week, a good pace for me. Even if it is just WH40k stuff. I've been reading some other books I've had lying around but never seemed to get to, stuff from my monster hunting phase. I have a couple of books from Nick Redfern. I'm still getting used to his narrative style so I'm not ready to pass judgement yet. I'm also digging through The Vampire in Europe which has been thus far very interesting.

I keep getting an itch to write a RPG module for something. But I think thats because I've been unable to make it up to the Cities to play with my Nerdpod due to a variety of life situations. I miss it terribly but have enjoyed reading their progress. Strangely my character, who is now a helpful NPC still survives.

I'm still adjusting to a few things in the real world. I just got over a nasty (for me, usually I'm not affected much) flu. Spring is finally here and I was able to open the windows and let some fresh air in my office at home. Work has been, well work, uncertain economics lurk on the horizon. Feeling a bit of wanderlust and starting to re-evaluate if this is where I want to be in my life. I know Rochester is done, its time to move on, but still working out the where. I'd like to go back to the Cities, the vast bulk of my friends are there, but maybe its time for someplace new. With the recent announcement of IBM's intent to buy SUN I think that is a marker that its time for me to consider a new way to generate income. Have to be careful with that one, since the cancer, I have to have health insurance and I can't afford it on my own. I need to have it from someone, since some places won't cover me (pre-existing condition) or will cover me, but for 4-10x the normal rate. Whereas if I'm with an employer (b/c of how health care works in America) I'm covered under a group policy and they can't discriminate against my 'pre-existing' condition.

Ah well, we'll see how the summer goes.

3.11.2009

poem { a cold winter day

A cold winter day.
I stand back to the wind as it whips my long coat around me.
My scarf flapping in the chill.
I am surrounded by people but stand alone.
The sun glares harsh and stark but no warmth is to be found.
The smell of a cigarette invades my thoughts and I have to move.
The bus comes and I crawl into its warm womb.
The wait is over and a new journey begins.

3.09.2009

tech { iPhone apps

I've become addicted.

3.06.2009

casual_friday { I've been so casual, this blog has been inactive

What can I say? Been busy with life, both real and virtual.

My guild, despite numerous set backs, is progressing. We're in to Heroic Kel'Thuzad. We've done Heroic Obsidian Sanctum with one drake up, and only 20 people (due to no-shows). We've cleared 10 man Eye of Eternity. We're working on achievement runs. We're working on crazy in-game shit (like voidwalker tanking).

The raid thing this cycle has been rough as hell. Its been a crucible that has revealed the good people and what they are made of emotionally. The raid and officer corp decided this raid cycle we'd be more 'hardcore', which means raiding more often per week and being focused more on progression than we had in the past. Its not been perfect, and its not been what some have wanted. We've been weeding out the unhappy ones who have been leaving (despite our help). As we've come to more of a balance the content has been getting easier as people are getting geared and experienced as well as happier, happy raiders are more productive. Some who thought progression raiding would be fun realized it is fun, but a lot of work, especially if your raid is like ours, learning together. Almost the entire raid is made up of people in house, and/or who haven't done the content before so we were all going through it together. This means a lot of wipes, a lot of repair bills, and such as everyone learns to work together. It was made harder by the constant attrition and as I suspected, but we've confirmed, the constant effort of an unhappy element in the officer corp who was actively trying to dissolve the raid and sour the guild. There was a lot of faux drama, people burning bridges as they left in melodramatic ways. We wish these people well, but the ones who left in a 'blaze of glory', well 'happy trails to you'. You're not welcome back. In the case of the disgruntled officer, his arrogance was so extreme he thought his leaving would cause the guild to dissolve. Well three people left over it.. All told we lost about six people in the last month or so for various reasons (real people not toons) but gained eight. The guild and the raid has been less tense.

Real life, well its hard to not be affected by the current economic situation. People are getting laid off and a hiring and training freeze. There is still a lot of work but now less people to do it. I'm only 1 of 2 Solaris admins full-time who take care of ~100 Solaris OS images plus a full project load.

Since the stress of my cancer, I don't put in a lot of overtime at work if I can help it. You need to have work and non-work separated.

Anyways I'll be trying to write more, but I have 3 blogs now (including this one).

So here's some music:







2.25.2009

musings { Testament to our consumption

What it looks like after a foreclosure and who cleans it up:

2.13.2009

musings { whats $1T look like?

Almost unimaginable. Once upon a time 1000 was an incomprehensible number to us humans.

1 trillion numerically looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000 (1x10^12)

Google fails to give us an image of what $1T looks like.

Our money is almost a make-believe thing. The vast majority of us do not carry our wealth around with us, we just trust it is in a bank somewhere.

Its a make-believe thing with real impact.

I still can't believe we bailed out the Banking Industry with no clauses for prosecution or any kind of oversight. But I often feel like the only sane person in the asylum.

1.29.2009

work { solaris 10 + VCS 5.0 + solaris 9 branded zone, shared configuration

I had a problem where I needed to run a Solaris 9 image for an application group that required special permissions and a compiler. Since we have budget cuts and no where else to put them, I decided to use a Solaris 9 branded zone within our Solaris 10, shared zone (i.e. the zones failover from node to node) VCS cluster.

The installation and configuration of the zone worked, up to a point.
Switchover didn't work because branded zones, when migrated have to run a
physical:virtual mapping to be optimized for running on the node. I
tried various things to no avail, preonline triggers, custom scripts,
but none worked well or reliably or were just too unwieldy to implement, especially in the short deadline I had.

So I decided to modify the VCS Zone Agent.

NOTE: This probably invalidates your support with Symantec, so use at your own risk.

This procedure has to be done on all nodes. The agent is written in perl.

Steps:

1. make a backup of /opt/VRTSvcs/bin/Zone/online
2. Add following to /opt/VRTSvcs/bin/Zone/online

to the "# Zone specific commands" section:

my $SOL9P2V = "/usr/lib/brand/solaris9/s9_p2v";



change the following:
$cmd = "$ZONEADM -z $ZoneName boot";
`$cmd`;


to

# modified for use with Branded Solaris Zones - 1/29/2009
my $BrandedZone = `$ZONECFG -z $ZoneName info | $GREP brand`;
$cmd = "$ZONEADM -z $ZoneName boot";
if ($BrandedZone =~ m/brand: solaris9/i ) {
$cmd = "$SOL9P2V $ZoneName && $ZONEADM -z $ZoneName boot";
}
`$cmd`;


All the variables except for "$BrandedZone" and "SOL9P2V" are defined elsewhere within the agent.


What this little snippet does is check to see if the zone has a 'brand' defined, if it does it adds the part to run the P2V mapping command and boot the zone, otherwise it does what it would normally do (just boot the zone).

It does lengthen the boot time of the zone a little and the output of the command will look odd as the P2V command also tries to update any patches needed to run on the node (which is handled at branded zone creation time).

Running a shared zone is fairly easy to setup. You create the zone on one node, copy the appropriate .xml files from /etc/zones/ to the other nodes, add appropriate line to /etc/zones/index, make sure your mountpoints exist, define the resources into VCS and enjoy. This setup will let you have one zone that can float to multiple nodes.

Note the assumptions are that the networking and storage is setup properly.

Other things to note, Solaris branded zones cannot use the "inherit-pkg-dir" functionality. So this means you can't inherit /opt/VRTSvcs/bin, so some functionality will be different. However this did not seem to impact the running or viability of the zone for use.

casual_friday { the concept of terrestrial time is meaningless, so...

Music videos today:

'Around the Bend' by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour



'Magic' by Ladyhawke

1.19.2009

musings { Wednesday is 6 and 1/2 years post-remission

Wednesday is my yearly check up to make sure the cancer is still in remission. I always get nervous a few days before hand. Scared a little even. The shadow in my life gets a little bigger. But hope remains.

books { tMoQS has been dusted off

The Ministry of Questionable Science has been dusted off. Originally I intended this to be a sci-fi book club for the Rochester MN area. But after the events of the last year, that isn't going to happen. So instead I thought I would try my hand at a literary review site. Partly to hone my writing skills which I had been working on diligently (like learning the bass guitar) but which I've let slip. Also partly in an attempt to get me to start reading more books again. I'm not a good writer, nor will I probably have anything illuminating to say at first, but I'm going to try. This is going to be a personal scratch space for me.

I'm also thinking of trying my hand at a blog from the perspective of Pernox as an experiment in creative writing. But my nerd factor is already so high I may not need to push the bar higher.

1.14.2009

musings { Put something on the internet...

And someone will be a douche.

Penny Arcade said it best: