work life

Take A Guess – Clue 1

Here is a new series, but for only the next two weeks. I’m not going to give you the topic until the last post. It won’t be an every day thing, but I do have 8 songs picked out as clues.

Oh, and for those that know where this is going, don’t spoil it! So here’s the first video/song/clue..

Peace,
B

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In The Early Morning Rain

‘Cause that’s about all we’ve had from this hurricane. But I’m not complaining. The folks in the Bahamas really got hit hard. Dorian was over Abaco and Grand Bahama Island for damn near 24 hours. The islands are devastated. This makes me very sad. I really like Freeport.

But here in #Floriduh, at least in my area, just some rain and wind. But then, isn’t that exactly what a hurricane is? Wind and rain?

So here I sit deep in an undisclosed location in the bowls of a dormant volcano, somewhere in.. uh.. can’t say where. Day 2 in the EOC. Yesterday was long. A full 12 hour shift on about 4 hours sleep. Almost felt like I was back in the Army. Just with air-conditioning. But the same old jokes and lousy food, but no MREs (YEAH!!!).

The storm is about 100 miles due east of us. It only took about 12 hours for it to reach us as it was stationary for a very long time, then slowly moved north west. It has picked up speed, but is still moving very slowly. Current speed estimate is 8 MPH.

No track today, but here is a radar shot;

The western edge of the storm is hitting the coast, but not much.

I should say that we are currently just over halfway through hurricane season. This is the height of the season as well; as this image shows.

That yellow X over the western coast of Africa is out next worry. All the others are not going to bother land, but that storm is still an “unknown”, but it does have a 60% chance of becoming something “known”.

My house, and my brother’s house (he lives about 45 minutes west of me), have not any real issues. He did lose power for about an hour, but luckily bourbon doesn’t need refrigeration, so he made it through just fine.

Right now, our city manager says he hopes to close the EOC around 5 PM this evening, and we’ll return to a more regular schedule tomorrow. Sound good to me.

One thing I noticed on the way in yesterday and today was that almost every fast food place was closed. All the McDonalds, Dunkin’s, and Taco Hell Bell were dark and gloomy. But the Subway was open. Yesterday the local “greasy spoon” was open, but not this morning. Roads are basically clear. Only a few scattered palm fronds here and there.

I picked out a video that actually goes with the topic. I was going to use Gordon Lightfoot’s Early Morning Rain, but choose this one instead. I used Lightfoot’s song for the title (call it a two-for-one). Enjoy!

Some REO Cookies for ya!

Peace,
B

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Mama Told Me There Would Be Days Like This

On the way in to work this morning, I had great post in my head, even tied in with a video. Then I showed up and let’s just say, it all went to hell in a handbasket really quick.

But (and there’s always a but, isn’t there), it really started last week. During my younger days, back when I was active duty Army, we averaged 22 months between moves. You read that right. We moved on average, every two years. This meant two things; we lived out of boxes quite a bit, and we didn’t collect much stuff.

We’ve now been in this house just over 22 years. Not only is there crap everywhere, it’s falling apart. We have had the entire house repiped for inbound water already. Now we seem to have a drain leak under the slab as well. We only found this out after having the majority of the kitchen drain system replaced.

Yes, you can see right through the kitchen wall!

Luckily, our home owner’s insurance is working with us. Otherwise we would probably just walk away from the house and let the bank take it back. We’re that fed up with the whole situation.

But that has nothing to do with today. Well, not a lot about today anyway.

I had a task set for early this morning at work. I am usually the first tech in every morning, so I had set up to do some work on a computer before everyone else showed up. Shouldn’t take more than an hour tops. Cue the “best laid plans” meme…

Starts off, my tool kit was missing from my desk. I do have a second set, but the pieces are nowhere near as useful as this kit. The screwdriver bits are not exactly the correct size, and as I still have my wrist in a brace, it’s difficult to get hand tools to work correctly at any time.

The main task was to clone a hard drive. Not the most difficult thing believe me. We have hardware and software to make this as close to hands-off as we can be. Naturally, it was anything BUT hands-off.

To make this as quick and painless as I can for those not tech oriented, here’s how it went down.

  • Can’t find my good tools
  • Had to use the old crappy tools
  • Took replacement drive down to the machine to clone it
  • System will not boot to my USB drive (Hiren’s) to use the software
  • Bring both drives back up to my desk to try the hardware
  • Let the clone device run for 30 minutes, nothing happening
  • Plug the dock into my Ubuntu laptop – and nothing. The laptop won’t even boot with or without the dock
  • Plug the dock into my laptop and boot to the Hiren’s USB to clone
  • 2 hours later the software says complete! Yay!!!
  • Plug the new ssd into a test machine – won’t boot (There is no joy in Mudville)
  • Reclone the drive using a different test machine
  • Same error after that clone attempt
  • Did a quick repair, well actually, a co-worker did the repair since he has that test machine we were using
  • Took the new SSD back down stairs and tested
  • Finally!! It booted. (And the peasants rejoiced!)
  • Total time for the “one hour max” job – 4 hours!

I will say this once again – I hate Micro$oft! Windows is without a doubt the biggest computer virus of all time.

Early morning texts this morning with Wifey;

The “pig” is a local brewery, The Red Pig. In retrospect, I’m not sure beer will be strong enough for today. May have to go straight to the whisky!

But, it’s finished for now. Here is the video I had planned for today, even if I can’t remember what I was going to post! It’s my favorite Bob Dylan song Tangled Up In Blue. In a way, it’s still kind of fitting. I’ve been tangled up in something all day, and my language has been quite blue!

Blood On The Tracks is also very telling for today….

Peace,
B

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P.S. Feel free to send me a beer, or a scotch, or a bourbon.

Before and After

One of the “joys” of working in IT is how fast the technology changes.  Due to this phenomenon, most IT office seem to get cluttered quickly.  Mine is no exception. Add to that fact that I work for a city it only makes matters worse. We have to submit requests for bids from salvage companies and then have our city council approve a contract which whichever firm they decide on. The process can take months, if not longer.

When I left work last Friday, this is what the front “working” area of my office looked like;

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This is about a 6-month accumulation of “junk” anything from dead monitors, printers, PC, cameras, mice, keyboards, battery backups, you name it.

Today we finally had a salvage company pick up most of the junk. There are still two more rooms in another building to pick up. Unfortunately, the guy ran out of room in his truck!

So here’s what the office looks like now;

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Still some work to do, but much better.  My main concern is how quick will we fill it up again?

Peace,
B

Hurricane Irma & Others

And Florida has once again survived yet another “killer” hurricane. Hurricane Irma was a storm you only see every 500 years, but it came just days after Hurricane Harvey which was a storm you only see every 500 years.  So either something has gone terribly bad with the space-time-continuum, or Mother Earth is really pissed at us humans right now.

Watching the weather reports as I sat at the Port Orange EOC (Emergency Operations Center), I saw the devastation that the Caribbean Islands received. Having cruised to some of those islands, I was heart-broken to see the damage. South Florida, where I grew up was hit very hard. Lots of flooding. My older brother and I were texting back and forth (he’s in the Atlanta area now) about past hurricanes. We lived about 10 – 15 miles from the coast in Miami when Donna hit in 1960. I wasn’t even two yet, so I don’t remember it.  He told me we had about 3 – 4 of water in the yard from storm surge. That’s pretty bad.

Since I’ve retired from the Army and moved back to Florida, we’ve had a fair number of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes. In 2004 we had three in rapid succession. Charlie did a great deal of damage to the Daytona Beach area. I remember driving with my younger son (older son was out with his National Guard unit doing hurricane recovery) trying to find a chain saw. A neighbor’s tree fell into our yard taking out our power lines and blocking the door of the shed. Which, of course was where my chain saw was. So we needed to buy a chain saw to get to our chain saw. Nobody had a chainsaw to sell, but we did pick up a nice 5Kw generator that we use to this day. Which was good, since we were without power for ten days.

The next storm was Frances, but she wasn’t too bad. But the third storm, Jeanne seem to sit on top of us for days, just dumping water. Our street was flooded, but it didn’t reach the house so all was OK.

Last year we had Hurricane Matthew. Since Matthew went straight up the east coast of Florida without really making any landfall in our area, there was a lot of wind and rain, but not too bad as we were on the west side of the storm. I spent one night in the EOC working to keep the IT infrastructure running. Then went home and cleaned the yard of all the oak tree debris.

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The calm before the storm. COPO EOC.

This year was Irma. She couldn’t make up her mind where she wanted to go. She was going to follow Matthew’s course and go up the east coast between Florida and the Bahamas. Then she started shifting more west. At one time she was going to go straight up the middle of the state, basically targeting Disney World, and head towards Tennessee where my granddaughters evacuated to. Next morning, she was going up the west coast, leaving Daytona out of harms way.  Finally she made landfall in the Big Marco Island area of the west coast, looking like she was going to ride the coast line. Nope, turned easterly and headed back to Disney. Maybe she doesn’t like the rat (Mickey Mouse) anymore that I do.

So my brother and I are texting back and forth, while I’m in the EOC, he’s in Atlanta, his wife and mother-in-law are just outside of Orlando and it looks like they’re going to take a direct hit. The only good thing is that Irma is now “only” a category 2 storm. Not the major category 4 it was at first landfall. But now the track also takes it straight to Atlanta! And since it’s moved more easterly, Daytona is gonna get hid hard again. We just couldn’t avoid this storm no matter where we were.

But, since I lived to tell the tale, all is well. I did my three shifts in the EOC, the house survived with only minor damage, lots of debris in the yard, and the apparent loss of our papaya tree.

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Only damage to the house. One piece of fascia was blown off.

And while I was doing my work at the EOC, Wifey® put on her Wonder Woman outfit and went to work. She not only cleaned up the major debris from our yard, she did it for the elderly lady next door who is the process of moving out and selling the house. Pretty big pile she made too.

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Debris Pile.

She says that there’s one branch she can’t move by herself. But all in all, she did wonderfully. I absolutely love how she’s not afraid to jump in and get stuff done when it needs to be done.  Thanks babe!  Love ya!

Now we wait for FP&L to get our power back on. It usually takes days for us, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s property value.  Take care of the guys in the higher tax brackets before fixing the peons.

But what do I know?

Hope you all made it through the storms OK.

Peace,
B