April 9, 2009: Spring in Manhattan

I got a pretty decent sleep last night and this morning got up to a beautiful spring day.  I got ready for work and went down to the basement and put in about two hours working right away to get caught up on everything.  Luckily work was extremely slow today so going into Manhattan for the day should not be overly disurptive.

I left home around a quarter ’til eleven.  Dominica, Liesl and Oreo drove me down to the Peekskill train station where I caught the eleven twenty-two express train to Grand Central Terminal.  It has been months since I have ridden the train and it was nice to have some “forced relaxation” time to just ride and not have to worry about anything.  I was so intent on relaxing today that I did not even bring a book with me.  Instead I just loaded up the iPod with podcasts to which I would listen and blissfully pass the time.

This is my first time ever going from the train to the office in Tribeca directly.  Normally I go directly to the Wall Street office.  Getting over to Greenwich Street was actually very nice.  I just took the 7 from Grand Central to 42nd Street / Times Square and then took the E down to Canal.  From there it is just the shortest little walk and there is the office.  It must be ten or possibly even twenty minutes faster to do this than to go to Wall Street and with quite a bit less walking.

By the time that I had arrived in Tribeca there was some work waiting for me so I grabbed a seat on the trading floor and worked for about forty-five minutes.  That went well and then, when everything was caught up, Ronak and I went down to Baluchi’s on lower Greenwich Street near World Trade.  I got a Malabar salmon curry and the food was just amazing.  And it was really cheap too.  I couldn’t believe the prices.  I need to convince Dominica to come into the city and try out the food.  She would love it.

After lunch instead of returning to Tribeca I walked down to Wall Street.  It was a beautiful day for a walk in the city.  Cool breeze and bright sun.  I just love the city in spring.  What a great day to get to take a nice walk.

I worked from Wall Street for several hours.  Today is the last day before the holiday weekend begins so the market closed at two and the office is a ghost town.  I worked until just after five.  Then Dan and I walked across the street to Starbuck – not my choice for coffee but they are friendly and incredibly convenient – and we talked there for forty-five minutes or so.

Then I walked back up Wall Street to the subway and caught the train up to Grand Central Terminal.  From the GCT I got the seven twenty-two train north up to Peekskill.  It was a quiet ride listening to my iPod.  I packed up most everything that I have on my desk on Wall Street.  I had my swimsuit and backpack there still from when I had the gym membership so I brought that home along with some books that I had there and some miscellaneous paperwork.

There is a rumor that we are going to be moving again at the office.  This has become a regular thing and I just plan around it now.  I am not taking anything back to the office just to have to move it.  I have my little desk fan and that is all that I need other than a stack of emergency napkins and a pen.  My desk is completely bare now.  It really looks like I moved out.  If the rumors are true I may be moving back up to my old desk (or nearby) upstairs on Wall Street or possibly over to Tribeca.  I’m not sure which I would prefer and I don’t know for sure that either is happening.

Dominica, Liesl and Oreo all came down to pick me up when I got to the train station.  I was trying to get home early enough that we wouldn’t interrupt Liesl’s sleep schedule.  It turned out, though, that she fell asleep in the car and never woke up again all evening.  So I ended up going the entire day without every actually seeing her except for a tiny bit in the morning before I left 🙁

I took Oreo for a walk tonight.  He hadn’t had a real walk all day so I thought that he should get a bit of a walk in.  He puts on weight now so I try to keep him doing a little exercise no matter what.

The walk up the hill went fine but on the way back he walked straight into a little post-like structure.  Fortunately it gave more than a post would and he didn’t break his nose.  Boy did he scare me.  He walked straight into it.  Didn’t see it at all.  It was rather large too.  Bigger than him.

I paid close attention to him after that and it is very apparent that he is now so blind that he cannot be allowed to walk at night at all.  He would run right up to signs and other things because he smelled something and his nose would brush the sign post and he would jump back in surprise because he had no idea that it was there.  It is very sad watching our little boy get older.  It is really tough because he is healthy and has so much energy and it is really hard for him to burn it off and to stay healthy if he can’t see to run around.  He has had a lot of accidents recently where he has turned and crashed right into the wall.  We really have to start watching him carefully.  Poor little boy.

I forgot to mention the other day that I have been hired to do some actual writing.  Finally all these years of SGL have paid off.  I am going to be writing one or more articles for the Internet.com family of publications.  I am quite excited.  I have been wanting to write for a long time (professionally, that is.)  This will give me a nice break from my regular technical pursuits.  It will also be a nice feather in my proverbial cap.  Another means of rounding out my resume.

We spent the evening relaxing and watching As Time Goes By.  Dominica and Liesl went to bed relatively early.  I went down to the basement and spent several hours working on converting DVDs, builing the DL145 G2 into a working server and attempting to fix the DNS problems that we have been having for the past few weeks.  The conversions went fine.  The server build went nowhere.  All kinds of headaches there.

The DNS problem lingered on until four in the morning.  Boy was I tired by the time that I got to the bottom of it.  At first we thought that it was a problem with our DNS server but careful examination proved that that machine was doing just fine.  So then I thought to check out upstream DNS forwarders.  Nope, they were fine too.  Then I thought that it might be a virus/trojan thing.  But after several scans and testing from Linux machines I determined that the issue was across the board.

Eventually I was able to determine that every machine no our home network had the DNS issue except that DNS lookups from the firewall itself were okay.  So I pointed some machines at the firewall for DNS resolution and things started to work.  Okay, so the issue is that DNS packets are not reliably passing through the firewall.

So I updated the firewall firmware, rebooted and voila – DNS resolution working again.  Of course the update and modifications killed the IPSec VPN configuration so I had to start putting that back together and, of course, there were issues.  But by four in the morning both DNS and the VPN were working beautifully and I was able to go to bed happy knowing that I had fixed a major problem that had been really plagueing us recently.

Tomorrow, even though it is a holiday, I will be working covering for everyone who has the day off so that people are not getting paged and allowing people who need to work to keep working.  So I am going to be working all day, but it should be a slow day and will likely be relaxing.

Saturday morning I am scheduled to work for Bahrain as usual.  They tell me that the release this weekend is very small and that it will hardly take any time at all.  Here’s hoping.  Once that is done I have a very large number of patch updates to do on Linux.  Then, once that is complete, we are driving to Waverly, New York to spent the weekend with Dominica’s mother’s family there.  We are spending Saturday night at her cousins’ house.  Then Sunday afternoon we are driving up to Leicester and seeing my family for the evening and then staying at dad’s house.

Most likely we will be returning from dad’s house on Tuesday afternoon.  My plan is to work on Monday from dad’s and to then take Tuesday as my comp day for working tomorrow.  That way I can work there on Monday and we can leave Tuesday in the afternoon so that we can drive back before it gets too late.  We can’t stay too long because we are driving both the Mazda PR5 and the BMW back to Peekskill so Dominica will be driving separately from me.  It will give us a good chance to get a large load of stuff from dad’s but it will make the drive rather difficult – especially for Dominica who gets sleepy and has to take Liesl with her.

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