Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Job

Well, my stay at the CS department has come to a close. I spent a good 18 months there, and learned a lot. Unfortunately, student employment simply cannot offer enough money to support a stay-at-home mom with two kids. I want to support a stay at home mom with two kids, so I needed to find more gainful employment.

I started interviewing about 12 weeks ago, and had found some prospects. Well, there's no other way to say this, but God blessed me very much so to get the exact job that I wanted. I got the job that was offering the best pay, the best benefits, and the most flexibility with school.

My job description is much less intensive than the CS department. This new company has enough machines that teams of people are assigned to different aspects of them. My job is to beat the tar out of servers, and find ways to improve them. I'm on the "performance" team. This is a very large change in employment--as I'm actually doing less than I did for the CS department, and I'm getting paid nearly 3x as much. The only downside is the 40-hour-a-week minimum requirement. Since I was putting in (fairly consistently) 30 hours at the CS department, and was a full time student, I'm thinking that I'll be able to pull this off as a part-time student without too much grief.

So, now for the details: My first day was new-hire orientation. Fairly straight-forward, from what I understand, but I've never been a salaried employee until now. That lasted until about noon. My new boss, Matt, is a great guy--but is very very busy. I didn't really see him much the first day. The coworkers on my team gave me some direction, and I eventually got an idea of what tools I'd need to do my job (not too surprising that they all are Linux, essentially).

Company policy mandates that I work on a windows machine--so I'm running a virtualized Linux environment. It took me a while to setup, and today I found out that the latest and greatest stuff doesn't always work so well in a virtual environment.

My second day was a nightmare--I didn't have any clear direction of what to do, and I couldn't get anything setup right. Most everything at work seemed broken, and I didn't have the tools to fix it. So, I spent a good deal of time reviewing all the new-hire paper-work and filling it out.

When I got home to our broken TV, I decided that it was time to get the last purchase we had budgeted for: a new monitor. Of course, being the technical geek I am--we actually bought a new TV, and now my computer monitor is our TV. It works very well as both. Essentially, LCD TVs are the exact same thing as LCD computer monitors (they just aren't as high-quality on most counts). I can say that with a fair certainty, as there are fewer than five LCD manufacturers in the world, and the US gets all their LCDs from the same plant.

Anyway, we bought this TV, and none of the back inputs worked. So aggrivating. Not to mention, PowerISO broke on my computer just before hooking it in (rendering all my games un-playable). I just felt so crappy that night--since I had spent 14 hours trying to get at least one thing in my life to work with absolutely no success. Well, my sweet-heart took the TV back the next day and exchanged it for the working one we have now. I had her take pictures of the back of it, and she used those to even hook it up for me--so I just came home and had a new wide-screen HD monitor on my computer. It was so nice to have something electronic in my home working (that I didn't have to fight with). That earned my Danielle some major points. I did have to hook in the surround sound--but it's totally amazing now (I do have to fix the RCA audio control box, though, as it overheats after an hour).

By Wednesday, things really were looking up, I got a project, got some explanations, and met with Matt. He gave me a good idea of what I needed to do--and I got started on it today. I must toot my own horn now, since I did something very clever and no one but the single reader of my blog will ever know.

This project has three phases--setup a machine with thousands of virtual hosts, populate those hosts with data that can replicate real-world usage, load test and improve the machine to see what it's capable of.
So, here's where I was clever: I split it up into three programs. The one that load-tests the machines will be called Hammer, the one that sets it up is called anvil (I finished that today), and the one that populates the machines is called Iron. You're hammering the iron on an anvil!

Okay, that doesn't sound as clever as I thought. Oh well, in every cubicle monkey's life, simple diversions are needed in order to break up the feelings of monotony.

Love you, Dani -- you know I write this for you.

say what?!

IM convo with Todd just a few minutes ago:
(slightly edited for spelling)

me: hey Micheal Jackson died
Todd: how'd that happen?
Todd: drug od?
me: they can't release all details yet and still have to do an autopsy but he wasn't breathing when the paramedics showed up and died at the hospital well pronounced dead there
me: and Ferrah Fawcett died too
Todd: what!?
me: 62 years old
Todd: two white women, on the same day!

I thought this was HILARIOUS!

No don't get me wrong I completely agree with what was released on KSL,

"...he was popular music's premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage..."
Find full article here.

His music is infectious and so much fun to dance to.
But you CANNOT deny the guy just got plain weird!
And he started out so human looking too.

* Cardiac Arrest is the word.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


We traveled to Mesa, AZ, then to San Angelo, TX, back to Mesa, and then finally home. We were gone for four weeks. The first stay at Mesa was brief--only about 4 days. I remember thinking when it was over, "That was a good vacation."
N explored the pool with me, and decided that her cousin O was the best object to shadow.

I went with the boys in the family to watch Terminator Salvation. This, according to my coworkers at the CS department, was supposed to get me back my "man card." I lost my man card for reading the twilight series (it's easy, as a male, if you've seen the movie, because you can just glance over all the greek-god imagry describing Edward and supplant it with Robert Pattinson's face). Incidently, I enjoyed spending time with my brothers and dad--but the movie only had one part that I thought was cool: Schwarzenegger's cameo.

We then left for Texas. If there is any state in the Union worth messing with--it's Texas. This isn't because it's a particularly bad state, it's just not a particularly well-thought-out state that is largely filled with people looking for any excuse to proclaim their superiority over their common man (I think it comes from a bad combination of cow-boy isolation and self-righteousness).

Texas--not so great. My In-Laws are great, of course. Jim and I have very similar attitudes and mannerisms--though we don't share very many interests. Shelly is a sweetheart, and my wife is always so much happier around her. Other than that, Texas means work for me. It's quiet with not a lot to do (within reasonable driving distance). I wrote a training manual for the CS department while I was there. I was only about half done with it before I arrived, and I finished it, and edited/proofread it too. I think that'll really help out the CS department, since they'll be able to produce knowledgeable student admins in half the time with it.

We also spent three days in San Antonio when we were there. San Antonio is like former president Bush: boisterous, pleasant aria, and completely lacking in foresight and planning. There are multiple signs, within the city, that say, "San Antonio City Limits." The freeways feel like a bunch of little kids ran around carrying rope to determine their path, but the city is clean and pretty.

We went to the zoo while we were there, and went swimming. In celebration of getting this new job, I treated my In-Laws to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. We tried to swing by the Alamo--but it was closed.

After San Antonio, I was ready to come back to Utah. My dad had, however, planned a camping trip in AZ for that weekend, and I wasn't going to miss that.

So, our stay in Texas ended, and N was so pleasant in the car-ride to Arizona that I rewarded her with three toys of her choosing. She chose a life-vest swim-suit for the pool, and merged two toys in one to get what I have affectionately termed, the booger-ball. It's a springy green ball, and N loves it. My daughter has excellent taste in toys.

The camping trip in AZ was a blast. Perfect trip. Warm fire, cool night, and plenty of little people to keep N occupied. Nobody slept well that night--but I just figured that came with the activity. Ryan and I were the first people to wake up, and he realized that we were missing a skillet, and syrup--thus making pancakes a difficult task. Fortunately, our camp-ground was only 20 minutes out side of Payson. So, I hopped in my car and got all we needed before some people had even woken up yet.

N behaved a little differently than I think most kids would. She intentionally stayed about 10 feet away from where all the other kids were playing, and timidly dug through the dirt looking for air-soft pellets (she found three different colors). She would occasionally join the group of cousins to play with them, and enjoyed herself when she did--but she clearly showed preference towards watching people play over playing herself.
Reminds me of me when I was young on the playground--I did the same thing. I enjoyed watching the other kids play tag more than I enjoyed playing tag. When you watch, you learn. You're separated from the situation, and can act as an objective observer. Of course, observing is only so good, you do need to get in it and explore the game--but most of the joy has always been in the analysis for me. I'm thinking N may have some of that as well.

Unfortunately, the vacation ended on a dark-note for me. I was trying to set up a media server for my dad, and I got everything but the audio on live-TV to work. That was kind of disappointing--since without audio, there isn't much point in using the recording features, or the ability to pause live TV, or any of the liveTV functionality. So, in the end, it streamed content off the web, and it's a blue-ray player.

Oh well, I'll finish it in August when I'm down there--it's just audio and getting a remote control to work at this point--then it'll be totally awesome. I also gave my dad's media server a url within my domain, but I haven't shown him how to use it yet. He was pleased with what was accomplished in the end--and I guess that's what counts.

Anyway, I have work in the morning--but I'll post again on Friday or Saturday if I have time (and by "have time" I mean, if I'm able to convince myself that writing on my blog is more important than Super Smash Brothers.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our TV is broken :(

Alright our t.v. doesn't look like this but it is broken. We can only turn it on with the remote and even then it brings up no screen and then turns itself off seconds later. Perfect timing! N is sick and now she can't watch Nemo. I tried Todd's computer but it brings up an error when I try to play the movie and normally I'd just call him but he started his new job today and I have to wait for him to call. I guess I'm thankful Hulu has the Veggie Tales Jonah Movie. Grumble.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I found these two pics from two fairly popular blogs I'm subscribed to. Enjoy, I know I did.

drew and elle by

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It is time

I've loved our trip but I'm looking forward to being home.
Ever get that way?

Why I'm (still) a Mormon

I don't expect much more to ever be posted on this blog, and I'm largely just posting this to share it with some particular friends....