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We survived the weekend in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Travel to Rehoboth is always a dodgy thing and it's not a place I enjoy, so I'm relieved we're done for another year.

My boss flew into town late last night to work in the data center. We'll be doing some long hours Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday; he flies back to California Friday morning. I'm going to help on some of the network stuff, but my major tasks are:
- moving four Sun servers from the old cage to the new one;
- configure said servers;
- install 20 new servers (due to arrive any day now);
- install 4.8TB of RAM in the form of 16GB DIMMs. Half are replacements for 8GB DIMMs in 35 machines, the rest are upgrades to existing servers, taking them to 128GB of RAM each. It's overkill for what we need today but will give us serious room to grow for the next couple of years.

Come Thursday, Bill Eyler will be coming to stay chez nous as we shuttle him around to various square dance gigs in the greater DC area. The recent minivan engine trouble was worrisome but we're back on schedule now that the PrincessMobile is fully repaired.

Speaking of square dancing, I've submitted my availability for the Zig Zagger's calling schedule for 2017-18. I've also sent my preferences for slots at the upcoming IAGSDC event in Palm Springs, CA, although I don't expect to hear back on that for another month or so.
bjarvis: (Default)
It's been a busy few days but I'm slowly catching up.

We've been slowly decommissioning one old storage array at the data center, requiring us to move the data to a newer array. We discovered some performance issues this week so we had to migrate two particular volumes to a different RAID pool but these activities required essentially two all-nighters this week.

That wouldn't be catastrophic but I also had my regular build work for the new data center cage, and since I'm the only employee on the east coast, it's not going to get done so long as I'm being sucked into these other spontaneous demands. That was unavoidable in this instance but I've made it clear to the dev teams that I'm only available to them for major issues, not trivial ones for the rest of this month.

And as life would have it, I had a few square dance calling gigs this week too: our Wednesday C2 group, a special C1 night for the DC Lambda Squares, a Friday evening holiday party called by John Marshall which I really wanted to attend, and co-calling a six hour C2 event Saturday morning & afternoon with Kent.

I'm happy to report that all of the tasks for the week were accomplished successfully, although at the expense of my gym workout schedule. Still, that's a small price to pay for the pleasure of knowing the other items are under control.

Today's migration isn't about data, but relocating my computer bunker from the basement to the first floor sewing room & middle bedroom. The basement bunker is convenient and optimized for my work, but it gets cold down there during the winter. A small electric heater helps but it has to run nearly constantly to keep the room comfortable. It's easier (and cheaper) just to work from the main floor bedroom until spring.

In all, life should be a bit more stable & normal for a couple of weeks. I hope.
bjarvis: (Default)
We de-winterized our trailer this weekend. Or rather, I did: Kent couldn't spare the time away from work after taking so much vacation time already this month, and Michael is scoping out Belize for possible future tours. Since we had the supplies from the trailer which were needed to de-winterize it, one of my household had to get there in order to allow our co-trailer trash, Jerry & David, to go there later in the spring. So here I am.

I left home about 6am Friday morning and drove like hell to get here with as little delay as possible. Around 11:30am, I pulled into the campground, unloaded our supplies & personal items, hooked up the trailer's electricity and propane, then activated our wifi so I could connect to the office. There was still the plumbing to work on, but that could wait.

It's trailer opening weekend! Our de-winterizing process is down to a science, and then the rest of the weekend is mine!


In the early evening, after a productive day at the office, I was able to install the anode for the water heater, install the water filter, connect the water, flush the lines, then fill & start the water heater. All worked precisely as it should on the first attempt: no leaks, no line breaks, no issues. And in 15 minutes, I had plenty of hot water.

Friday was cool, especially after dusk, but the furnace was able to warm up the trailer quickly and a small electric heater was all that was needed to keep it comfortable. (The furnace gulps propane rapidly and is quite loud so the nearly silent electric heat is much preferred.)

From Friday night onwards, it has been relaxation. Yes, I logged into the office to tackle some things I either neglected from last week or to prepare for some major tasks this coming week. Still, I napped, I got some sun, I enjoyed the hottub, I went for walks, I listened to some audio books, I had some drinks down at the rec hall, and I napped some more.

The campground itself is sparsely populated this weekend. There's only one other trailer on Rose Hill open currently, and only a few in other areas of the campground; there were no more than six visitors staying in cabins. I think there may have been two dozen guys here all weekend long. Needless to say, there was no booming disco music or brightly lit sites so the sky watching was perfect so long as the clouds stayed away.

We usually try to stay a full week at Roseland for the week of Labour Day, but that's not possible this year: we'll be in England instead. We were also hoping to add the Memorial Day week to the calendar, but we've just learned we're going to be babysitting granddaughter Elodie for ten days immediately after Memorial Day so that's out. There might be another window at some point, but we have too much already on the calendar for the next couple of months.

I am happily relaxed. I need to hang onto that as much as possible in coming weeks.
bjarvis: (Default)
Today, Kent and I returned from four days in Norfolk, VA, for the annual CALLERLAB convention. Best sleep I've had in weeks.

I moderated a panel discussion on social media, and was a panelist for a discussion on identity theft (but essentially had the floor to myself). Ultimately, those were actually the only sessions I attended: I simply had no interest in any of the other panels over two full days of presentations either because it was outside of my interest, or because I've seen the topic ad nauseum in prior years. I'm mercifully not on any of the standing committees.

If I hadn't been a presenter, I would have blown off that entire conference in favour of catching up on sleep, work and personal projects, all which have been deferred over the past month because of outside commitments.

The conference itself is worthwhile for most square dance callers and I'd definitely encourage new callers to attend, but I'm finding myself overstretched March-April every year, just like I do November-December. I've been whittling back my outside commitments but I clearly need to cut more from my schedule to make room for myself.

Events still upcoming:
- trailer dewinterizing weekend;
- Independence Squares' fly-in weekend;
- John Marshall C2 weekend;
- MidAtlantic Challenage Association weekend;
- Pass the Ocean, Hon! weekend.

Next year, most of these will be re-evaluated. I'm largely attending the IS weekend out of a sense of obligation, habit and to demonstrate local support: I haven't actually danced more than 1-2 tips in total over the past three years. I like John's C2 weekend, but only if I can get enough rest before, during & after. I'm not sure I want to run for MACA VP again when the position comes up: the toughest part of the VP job is coordinating the spring festival which is traditionally scheduled for a time when I am least able to spare time to do it. And PTOH is in the same boat as IS: I attend out of obligation & habit, but almost never dance. I support the local club --I am still one of their club callers-- but the weekend is incredibly draining.

The only options at this point is to continue trimming events to rebalance my time & energy, as well as shedding some titles, positions and volunteer roles. Obligations are set for 2016, but 2017 is now on notice.

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