Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Well, the Fall has finally arrived.  My maple trees are starting to turn yellow and I got my first sinus infection, so the yellow theme continues.  Usually by this time the yard is covered in leaves about ankle depth and the nights are a bit colder.  I've been going pretty hard at work and after work.  I did the usual Wednesday routine (eat, work, eat, work, eat, gym, eat, hockey, eat).  I learned from last Wednesday to keep the meals small and light or I'll bonk during my hockey game.  Three 23-minute non-stop periods of pond hockey with two lines is just about the right amount of cardio for the day.  I just wish it didn't start at 10:10pm.  I'm still wound up at 1am.  I had a bit of chicken and steamed rice prior and I grabbed some yogurt and a vanilla whey protein shake afterward.  Mmm.  I'm trying to "eat clean."  It's working, becuase I'm getting leaner.  I still weigh about 204, but there's less fat and more muscle.  I measured my biceps yesterday.  16 3/4" and growing.  I know they'd be over 17" if I'd pumped up my biceps and triceps prior to measuring.

I noticed that the Ron Paul grass roots folks have put the message out to infiltrate the Republican National Convention by becoming elected delegates by any means necessary:

While on YouTube learning how to become a delegate by stealth and deception, I also found this video of some Germans testing their iron stomachs by doing 108 (I counted) flips on the whirl-a-puke ride.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Network Lab

Saturday, a few of us got together at my house to carve a few pumpkins, eat barbecue, roast pumpkin seeds, imbibe a little, and watch some UFC fights.  You can tell that alcohol was involved in the design of at least one of the pumpkins, which sort of stole the show.  I call it the #1 pumpkin.  Frightful, indeed.

At work, I've been busy being busy.  Friday morning there was a protracted conference call and verbal holy war over how best to extend VLANs between two data centers for disaster recovery.  After the call, I explained to Rakesh that I had stood my ground for taking advantage of our MPLS core to provide internet redundancy and told him I liked some of the Dallas engineers' ideas, but we need a way to test it.  His eyes lit up and he said, "Let's build it!"  He gestured to a cubicle which contains a sort of makeshift lab which is made up of whatever Cisco gear is laying around at the time.  It's mostly old crap that we've pulled out of customer networks (and our own network), which has been replaced by newer technology.  But, if you put the latest version of IOS on them, you can emulate our MPLS core network, as Rakesh and I did on Friday by sketching a network map, assigning addresses, and configuring routers ALL DAY LONG.  We tested every possible failure scenario and a few impossible ones and found some ways to make our network more resilient.  The ability to mock up our network core and break it in sadistic ways was very enlightening.  We even attempted to implement some of the suggestions from the conference war by some of our fellows in Dallas who don't understand MPLS, just to grab the error messages and email them to the group.  It was a great validation of our combined experience.  Now our lab looks kinda ghetto, all stacked up in an empty cubicle, but most network engineers would drool over the opportunity of having over a dozen routers and almost as many switches stacked together in one place to test design scenarios.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bus? Rail? No, Bus!

Everything's up to date in Kansas City.  We Kansas Citians voted in 2006 to get 3/8% sales tax for a light rail system that extends from the zoo to downtown to the airport.  Some group has gotten enough signatures on a petition to put the question before voters to reallocate that sales tax for improvement and maintenance of the bus system.  I guess we get to vote on this issue again in February.  I just want to say, I'm much more likely to park and ride a train than to get on the bus.  It would be much simpler to get someone to drop me off at the train station than to get a ride all the way to the airport.  In most big cities, I feel safer at a train station than a bus stop.  I don't understand how we can allocate funds in 2004 for a redundant arena and it opens on time and under budget with 2204 panes of glass, and it looks like a giant napkin ring in just a few years, but we can't get some trains running to downtown and the airport without voting on the issue year after year after year.

One of the things I noticed when I was visiting Kansas City on business before moving here is even highway overpasses are adorned with art.  I learned that 1% of every city project budget goes to art.  The funny thing is they're spending $14 million on a new auto impound facility and $140,000 of that budget goes to art.  Making an impound facility look attractive is going to be, well, interesting art.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

eat, work, eat, work, gym, eat, hockey, eat, sleep

eat, work, eat, work, gym, eat, hockey, eat, sleep <-- my day.

If you're not running this as your screen saver, you should consider it.  It lets scientists use a portion of your computer's processing power for the good of humanity when you're not using it.  Right now, my computer is trying to find target molecules to block the replication of the Dengue virus.  The potential drug developed could block similar viruses like Hep C, Yellow Fever, and West Nile Virus.  If you leave your computer on, it may as well be doing some good.

Monday, October 15, 2007


I had a good time last night.  We won our hockey game.  A friend came down from Lincoln via an errand in Junction City to watch.  We grabbed a nice dinner at Red Robin and hung out.  It wasn't my best game, but I was tired and I hadn't been eating right, and I could tell.  A few days away from the gym eating road food and not getting enough sleep really affect one's performance.

On the topic of hockey:

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 12:49 PM
Subject: Ha

St. Peter and Satan were having an argument one day about hockey.

Satan proposed a game to be played on neutral ice between a select team from the heavenly host and his own hand-picked boys.

"Very well," said the gatekeeper of Heaven. "But you realize, I hope, that we've got all the good players and the best coaches."

"I know, and that's all right," Satan answered unperturbed, "We've got all the referees."


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mason City

I'm happy to be home from Mason City. . . just in time to turn around and go to my hockey game.  The people in Iowa are great.  I also had a great steak at the Northwestern Steakhouse in Mason City.  Mmm.  I'll be glad to sleep in my own bed.  The Country Inn & Suites had mattresses which were rated on the Mohs scale (for the hardness of stones).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Entrance du jour

Every week or two the entrance to our parking lot changes.  Tomorrow is another change.  Getting near the office is never a problem.  Finding the way into the parking lot is a mystery from day to day.  Posted signs that don't make sense, new striping, construction road blocks, temporary fencing, dirt or gravel temporary detours, and email notifications which don't reflect reality are becoming the norm.  Here is the latest map of how to get into the parking lot tomorrow. . . which is not even close to the way you'd enter the parking lot today.  I'm ready for this project to hurry along.  They're supposed to put in a hotel and a shopping center, then an amusement park.  Fun!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Close game!

I'm not talking about the Chiefs game today, which was difficult to watch.  They had 200 yards before they got any points on the board, then the game was over.  Geez.  I shudder to think I almost went and paid money to see that in person.  I would have gotten rained on while walking home, too.

Tonight we had the most competitive hockey game of our season thus far, despite the crappy ice surface conditions.  Our game started 20 minutes late, then I figured out why.  It was too warm in there.  It was the second period before the puddles of water froze up.  If it's too warm in the building, why would they put down more water anyway?  Why not just shave it?  Anyway, there were a lot of penalties in this game, because it got heated.  We were down 2 to 4 with 2 minutes left in the game and managed to get 2 to tie it up.  We won in the shootout.  Exciting stuff, if you were there.  I have been giving away the free pitchers of beer that each team gets to the "We Cheer for Beer" folks, and they cheered for us.  It seemed to make a difference in our game.  I'd rather have them cheering for us than against us, so I always run up to the bar and make the transaction to purchase their loyalty.  Nobody on our team drinks after the game these days, anyway, because most of the team drives all the way from Whiteman Air Force Base.  This group of 20-somethings wear these gray hoodies emblazoned with "WE CHEER FOR BEER" and they have a poster which they tape to the glass with a heading that says "Our loyalty can be bought."  It has all the team names and a rubber stamp in the shape of a rooster for each pitcher of beer they've received from each team.  "The Refs" are also listed, but have apparently not bought any beer for them, because they cheer very heartily against the refs.  If no kids are present, the cheers are positively crude, and they get belly laughs from me for a few of them.  It's pure entertainment, and the drunker they get, the louder they get.  I give them style points for creatively drinking for free every Sunday while getting to see some hockey in the process.  If you decide to come to one of my games on Sunday, please sit near the "We Cheer for Beer" section for maximum entertainment value.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ft. Wayne and Las Vegas

I've been to Fort Wayne, Indiana now.  I have to say, there's not a lot to do there.  The vacant car dealerships as you exit off of I-69 onto Lima Rd. really tell the tale.  That town seems to be drying up.  When you get downtown and see that they're clearing space for a sports stadium, you get the idea that the place is preparing for a rebound.  I literally did nothing but listen to conference calls while I was there and assist with troubleshooting one problem.  The whole thing could have been done over the phone.  I was only there as a safety net to keep the project on track if things went horribly wrong, and they didn't. 

This silly Eckrich vehicle was parked outside the distribution office where I was working.  I felt compelled to make the cab driver wait for me while I took a picture of it.

Contrast that with my trip to Las Vegas over the weekend.  I went to the Mr. Olympia finals to see how Ronnie Coleman would do.  He came in fourth.  I thought Victor Martinez or Dennis Wolf would win this year, but Jay Cutler won it again.  I saw another Cirque du Soleil show and went clubbing.  I hit a churrascaria at Planet Hollywood called Pampas, which was outstanding.  I didn't have time to gamble even one dollar before it was time to head back.  The best part of the whole weekend was the Mr. Olympia Weekend Expo.  I got to meet Forrest Griffin, Diego Sanchez, Stephan Bonner, and Kieth Jardine at the Xyience/UFC booth.  I bought a very cool UFC shirt.  I saw Lou Ferrigno and got some other bodybuilders' autographs.  It was very inspiring.  I haven't missed a workout since.  I got a ton of free stuff.  Everyone wants you to try their protein drink mix or creatine supplement or thermogenic fat loss pill or arginine/nitric oxide muscle pump pulmonary vasodilator substance.  I got some free t-shirts with marketing schlock on them and enough energy drink mix to last me a long time and enough thermogenic pills to keep me hopped up for days if I decided to take them.  I'll stick with my tribulus terrestris and vitex agnus herbs and whey protein from GNC and Wal-Mart.  And if I need a thermogenic, I'll stick to coffee and tea as a caffiene source, raspberries and cayenne pepper for my capsaicin ketones to get lean.  Most of the stuff they're pushing now has sucralose as a sweetener.  Chlorinated sucrose.  Doesn't even sound good for you.  That stuff makes me feel awful and promotes extra bathroom visits.  The last thing I need is something else to promote atrophy of my thymus or put stress on my liver.  Bleh.  To promote all the supplement crap, there were a lot of really big people there. . . and one midget.