April 4, 2009: Longest Saturday of Work Evar!

The drive up to Frankfort went pretty well.  We finally hit the road at a quarter until eight in the evening and then stopped at the Mobil station just outside of Peekskill on the roundabout to fuel up and to pick up energy drinks and snacks for the drive.  So in the end it was roughly the equivalent of having left right at eight.  Traveling with a baby and a Boston Terrier takes a lot of planning and preparation.  No way around that.  And with me busy working all day and Dominica unable to get anything done because she is taking care of the “kids” its just really hard to be able to just walk out of the door at a moment’s notice.

It was pretty foggy for the first hour of the drive but that turned to rain for the rest of the drive which was not nearly so bad.  We only had to make one quick pit stop on the drive and we arrived in Frankfort around eleven thirty.  Not as early as I had hoped but not too bad.

We unloaded the car and visited for a little while.  I worked from my BlackBerry for a little bit but then had to log in and work until half past midnight doing server checkouts.  We tried going to bed but at one I was paged out again and had to log back in and work for another ten minutes.  So much for sleep.

I didn’t fall asleep right away, as you would imagine, after driving for hours, drinking caffeine on the drive to be safe and then working once arriving in Frankfort.  I dozed off for a tiny bit but definitely saw the clock at a quarter after one and again at three in the morning so could only have gotten an hour in there at best if that.  I was completely awake and out of bed around six thirty because Liesl had gotten up.  So my entire night was only five hours long with me being awake for a good portion of it.  It is going to be a long day.

I got right to work as there is a lot to do this morning.  It was a very busy morning.  And, of course, in addition to having tons of work to do this morning I was working on four servers that I have never touched before and know nothing about which always causes a number of problems.  For example, I was not told their names correctly so we lost some times while I tried to figure out why they were not accessible.

Just to make my morning more stressful I discovered early on that both Scranton and Peoria Heights were down while people were trying to use them.  After a bit of work to figure out what was going on I found out that Scranton had lost power due to an electrical system upgrade and Peoria Heights had just lost power altogether since four thirty in the morning.

Between the never ending morning deployments and the power losses my morning was very long and very stressful.  I really hate power outages.  They are not like losing network connectivity because then you are just down and waiting for things to turn back on.  But when the power goes out you are disconnected waiting for the power to come back on to find out what burned up that you did not anticipate.

InformationWeek had an article yesterday about the demise of IT industry legend Silicon Graphics or SGI.  SGI is famous as the manufacturer of super high-end RISC-based graphics workstations.  SGI products were famous for powering the early days of Hollywood’s three dimensional movie rendering.  SGI also made Irix which, at one time, was one of the big UNIX players.  SGI was also a pioneer in RISC and 64-bit computing with their MIPS line of processors (most famous to consumers as the processor in the Nintendo 64.)

Also in the news today is the rumor that IBM and Sun may announce their merger as early as Monday.  Unlike SGI who is already an almost forgotten piece of IT history Sun is still a major player as the fourth largest server maker in the world and one of the few companies still designing and making their own architecture – the Sparc processor.  I work with Sun equipment every day.  It will be strange to see them vanish as their own, independent entity.  It will also be interesting to see how IBM handles the integration of the Sun product line and customers into its already existing family or products and means of service delivery.

My morning work just went on forever.  Today ended up being a full day of work which is quite unusual for a Saturday.  Normally I put in a half day or a three-quarter day at most but today I really put in the hours.  And they aren’t light hours like you often get to put in during the week.  This is the eating at your desk, wife bringing your cup of coffee after cup of coffee, eyes bugging out of your head, multitasking as quickly as you can kind of overtime.  Saturdays are definitely the day of the week when I do the most work.  Maybe that is because there is so little communications and nothing to do but work.  Very few distractions.  You just sit at your desk and go.

We were extremely pleased to found out from our accountants today that our taxes are pretty much done and they already know that we are not getting a penalty this year!  In fact we do not even owe any taxes.  We have overpaid.  What a relief.  These taxes have been really hanging over us.  We were so sure that we were going to owe and were going to have a penalty.  We have been dreading dealing with the whole thing.  We should be getting back a nice chunk now.  Enough to be a decent investment considering how little we have been able to put away recently.  It will feel good to be saving something for a change rather than just spending.

My work ended up going until after seven thirty this evening!  What an incredibly long day.  I was completely wrecked by the time that it was all done.  Luckily it was not stressful work.  I was not feeling stressed at all by the time that the day was over just really worn out.  Knowing that the taxes are done and that everything is okay with them is making me feel much, much better.  And the work today was low stress while adding a lot of overtime which also makes me feel better even if it does mean not getting a day off.  Not even the remotest semblance of a day off.  But, I suppose, that today was actually kind of a good day to be incredibly busy because Dominica and her mom had Stephanie’s bridal shower to go to for the bulk of the afternoon and this kept me working rather than watching television.

After I was finally done with work (the poor guys who had to do the application check outs are seven hours ahead of me so they were working at two in the morning after putting in fourteen hour days and having to work tomorrow as well) we all drive out to the Kitlas Restaurant for dinner.  Dominica and I both got the potato and crab encrusted halibut which was awesome.  Today was a bad day for my diet!  I need to get back onto the wagon tomorrow.

After dinner Dominica and I drove to Herkimer and went first to Hannaford to get some food for lunch tomorrow (so that we are not tempted to just eat loads of starch as we are having a “belated Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins” since everyone missed Thanksgiving because we were in the hospital as Liesl was being born) and then we drove to Walmart to pick up some formula.  Then back home.

We got back and watched Speed Racer on television.  The movie was completely awful even though it was loaded with good people.  It was like an experiement in surreal cinematic art that failed horribly.  The entire movie was bluescreened and felt like actors sitting on a sound stage.  It felt more fake than The Wizard of Oz where you really feel the people are walking around on a stage.  This felt like people in a recording booth.  They didn’t even try to make you get drawn into the movie.  The race scenes didn’t even look as good as relatively modern video games.  I was really hating the movie and then they pulled a major twist on me.  They had Ben Miles as one of the race announcers on the Gran Prix!  Ben Miles!  That is so awesome.  So now I love the movie.  The many musical interludes based on the original Speed Racer theme were quite good as well.

As soon as the movie was over it was time for bed.  That was around midnight but I didn’t fall asleep for another hour or two.  No work planned for tomorrow.  We have the Palm Sunday / Thanksgiving dinner at noon and then Dominica and I are driving down to Scranton to pick up some servers from the datacenter.  Then it is back home to Peekskill.  We hope to be home before eight in the evening.

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