March 28, 2009: Oreo Feints

Went to bed on the early side and slept in a little this morning.  It was great.  Didn’t get up until almost nine!  It makes it feel almost like a real weekend.  Almost.

Tony called me from Toronto at ten to get started on the AIX patching and upgrade work that we are doing together this morning.  I was originally expecting him to call at eleven so that caught me off guard a little.  It was a good thing that he called so early as it ended up taking several hours to do the patching and I would have been working all afternoon had we not started when we did.

I am volunteering to do weekend AIX work at the office because AIX is notably missing from my resume (I have it but not nearly as much of it as I would like to have) and because it makes me more rounded and more valuable at work.  I did some AIX work when I was an IT Manager at IBM back in 2000 and 2001 but it has been a while and it will be very nice to work in the huge environment that we have where I am working now.  I am really thankful to have easy access to so many mentors.  It makes learning so much easier.

We worked for almost three hours on the patching.  It would have gone far quicker if I was not training but we wanted to step through the entire process line by line looking at the commands, in case there was anything new to me which there was, and looking at what the corporate standards are for our environment, doing the patching and doing detailed verification and documentation of the process afterwards.  In the future this should go much, much faster although there are some pretty significant time-intensive steps in the AIX upgrade process that we do such as breaking mirrors and re-syncing once the upgrade is complete, disk cloning for safety, several reboots, etc.  Each reboot takes about ten minutes which seems like hardly anything until you realize that you reboot three times or more per several.  So that is over half an hour per server of just waiting for the servers to come online.

After my AIX work was over I was able to go ahead and do my usual Linux weekend upgrade work which took another hour or two.  It was a rather long Saturday or work but it was not too bad.  I enjoyed the chance to work on AIX.  That makes for a nice change of pace.

Dominica gave me an incredible scare this morning.  While I was on the phone working suddenly she screamed through the house that I had to come quickly as it was an emergency.  She didn’t tell me where she was or what was wrong.  So I threw off my telephone headset and ran through the house looking for her or any signs of carnage.

It turned out that she had taken Oreo for a walk and he had started to vomit in the front yard and, while vomiting, had feinted and gone over on his side as if he had had a heart attack.  She left him laying in the yard and ran in screaming for me thinking that he was dead or nearly so.

By the time that I got outside Oreo was up and somewhat weak but not nearly enough to make one panic.  It took a bit to find out from Dominica what had happened.  She was nearly hysterical with panic.  After a few minutes it occurred to me that this chain of events sounded familiar and then I remembered that Oreo used to have this problem, years ago, and that the vet had told us that this was not uncommon in Boston Terriers and that the feinting is caused by a pinched nerve in the neck that gets aggravated when he vomits.  Within fifteen or twenty minutes he was perfectly fine and was acting as if nothing had happened at all.  Boy did he and Dominica manage to scare me, though.  Talk about panic.  I thought that something had happened to Liesl and that Oreo had run away and been hit by a car while Dominica was trying to save Liesl or something.

Dominica got Hex on DVD through NetFlix that she really has been wanting to watch for years so we watched that spread out throughout the day.  It isn’t my type of show.  I really do not enjoy all of the pop-culture voodoo/witchcraft/demon shows that are so popular these days but this is a little better than average – but only barely.  I don’t understand the draw to watch shows like this.  Not really entertaining.  And not well thought out either.  All of the people so obsessed with this stuff don’t even take the time to look up the references that they use so it is just a bunch of “buzz words” thrown together to make it sound like something real but is, in fact, just garbage.  It would be more entertaining, I think, if the people making the shows cared at all about them.  But it is television and that just doesn’t happen.  There isn’t any money in making good shows.

I spent most of the afternoon and evening working on building a FreeBSD 7.1 server on which I am going to run OpenVPN for SSL-based remote VPN access.  I have not installed FreeBSD since, if I remember correctly, the 5.x series.  It has definitely been a while.  I like FreeBSD but just never get a chance to really work with it so this is going to be fun.

After Hex we watched the remaining episodes of News Radio that have been available on NetFlix Play Instantly and are not going to be available for much longer (along with several BBC shows they disappear on April 1st.)  So we are rushing to watch shows that we really want to see before they are no longer available.

Tomorrow Dominica, Katie and Liesl are going out to go shopping at the outlet mall at Woodbury Commons so Oreo and I are going to have the house to ourselves for much of the day.  As much as I miss Liesl when she leaves I do enjoy getting several hours to myself to putter about the house being actually productive.  There is more than enough work around the house to keep me busy no matter how long they decide to stay out shopping.

Our next two weekends are going to be busy.  One week from today Dominica and I are going to Frankfort for Stephanie’s bridal shower on Saturday afternoon.  Because of the timing of the shower and because of my Saturday morning work we will have to drive to Frankfort on Friday evening between when my evening deployments end and when I have to do my hardware checkouts in the wee hours of the morning.  That is going to be a really long day.  Then I will be working from the laptop on Saturday morning.

The weekend after that we are going to Waverly, New York to see Dominica family.  I believe that that is Saturday as wel.  In conjunction with one of those two trips we are planning to go back home to dad’s house for a few days so that we can pick up the BMW for the summer months and get the tires switched on the Mazda so that we are not driving on our winter snow tires in good weather unnecessarily.  That will give us a chance to get two carloads of stuff from his house in one trip as well which will be nice.  Now if only we had space to store all of the stuff as it comes down we would be in really good shape.

I got all of the CDs converted to MP3 that were shipped down in the latest load of stuff from dad’s so they can return now to go into archival storage.  I am making pretty good progress on the DVDs as well.  I try to do one or two per day although there are constant technical challenges with DVDs that make me have to re-encode the same DVD over and over again rather frequently.  It is rather a bit of work.  More than one would expect.

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