Archive for the 'Preparing' Category

Indianapolis training camp.

The Wandering Nerd July 23rd, 2007

One of the best things about coming back to Indy to visit all my friends is the feeling that, no matter how long I’ve been gone, I’m still just as good of friends with everyone up there as if I did live there. In some cases better, as if they don’t see me too often they have a better chance of putting up with me and my….idiosyncrasies. I had a great time just taking some time to relax and dork around playing video games, drinking and just generally being a group of friends again. Haven’t had that in Nashville for a long time.

I got the last few bits of my stuff stored/donated/thrown out, and completely got my backpack for this trip prepped up. I’m using an Eagle Creek Switchback 22. It’s a go anywhere, do anything sort of contraption.

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That’s it, fully packed and loaded down, I used the only items I had at hand to give you an idea of the size of the thing. It’s pretty bulky, but the thing splits apart:

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and is just the right size for a rolling carry on, and a computer backpack. I’d say all total it’s somewhere around 30 lbs, maybe 40. The fold out shoulder straps and waste belt make it a pretty negligible load on me, and it still manages to be big enough to hold everything I could really think of. If anyone is interested in the list of what all is going on this sojourn read on, otherwise skip to below the bullets.

  • Silk Trousers (Black)
  • Poly/Nylon Trousers (Beige)
  • Hiking Shorts (Green)
  • Under Armor socks, underoos, and longsleave top and bottom heatgear
  • Water Wicking Towel
  • Silk Sleeping bag
  • Hennessey Hammock
  • Toiletries in the appropriate 3-1-1 sizes(….sorry I’ve been hearing about it all day, had to get it in there somewhere. The announcements @ ORD keep going on about the DHS and how we’re on Orange alert, so we can’t take more than 3 ounces of a aerosol or gel on the plane unless it’s in a 1 quart ziptop bag, and then only 1 per passenger. More on the state of security soon….)
  • General Purpose Antibiotic
  • Malaria Pills
  • Ibuprofen (never leave home without it)
  • Sport Hiking Boots
  • Sport Sandals
  • Wrinkle resist dress shirt (White)
  • Long Sleeve Columbia Poly/Nylon travel shirt (Grey)
  • Short Sleeve Columbia Poly/Nylon travel shirt (Khaki)
  • Ultralight T-Shirt (Black)
  • Sport Tank shirts (Black and White)
  • Federation of Horsepower” T-shirt (Black, and chock full of face melting ROCK! New album is out, check it.)
  • “Broi 3:16″ hat, ’cause one must cover one’s siege tanks….long story, maybe some other day.
  • Ipod Nano 8gig
  • Sony 7MP Camera (I know I swore I wouldn’t by more Sony gear, but it was the only one that use the MS Duo and normal batteries, my two requirements. I’d also planned on bringing the big canon digital rebel, but discounted that due to weight and volume concerns.)
  • Dell E1505
  • Cell Phone
  • 2 Pairs of sunglasses
  • Reading glasses
  • Writing Journal
  • Documents (passport/international driver’s liscence/Etc.)
  • Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead
  • Lonely Planet’s Europe on a Shoestring

I waft back and forth between thinking that that is all way too much, or way too little. Since I have no earthly idea where I’m going or what I’ll do I’m just hoping it is a good start.

Last night I had a rare moment of “WTF am I doing?!?!” This morning though, when I got dropped off at the airport, I was back with the program. There were some interesting things at IND:

  1. American Airlines now charges $2 per bag to do any sort of curbside check-in. The little man that was doing it was adamant about telling the guy in front of me that the gratuity isn’t included. He said it a number of times and I was thinking how tacky it all was when I noticed the sign above his podium which did indeed state that gratuity wasn’t included and looked corporately produced. This tells me that they aren’t paying these people a real salary, or they are just grifting more and more money out of the consumer rather than fixing their broken business model.
  2. Speaking of tacky - There is this new ’service’ called a Clear Registered Traveler. This program basically runs you through a TSA screening process and gives you another ID card to allow you to skip through some of the security at the airport. The catch is, it costs $100 per year and a $30 initial screening fee. I want to do some more research but I suspect if you really went to digging to find out who owned what, some of the fear mongers have a hand in both that company and the legislation required to get it to pass TSA mandates.
  3. Finally, the security, IND has an explosives ’sniffing’ machine. Supposedly it puffs air at you and then tests the air you give off for any sort of ‘flagged’ residue. Good in theory, but it takes at least 30 seconds to run a complete cycle, and in this case they only have the one but they have two security lines, so only half the people are going through it, and you can see which line is going into it really early on. *sighs* Not to mention I know some guys who could walk in that thing and let one go that would leave the machine with tears in it’s circuits. I’m not naming anyone by name, but his name starts with ‘T’ and ends with ‘ony.’

Made it to ORD with no trouble, and started the long layover off right. There’s a bar that’s already open there you see? So here I sit at the gate, just three more hours and I’m gonna’ be up, off and away. A very exciting time…

The next post should be made in a new city, county, country, continent, and hemisphere, so until then, I’ve been practicing my Irish…*ahem* G’Day mate! Not bad eh?

i don’t have a chance at writing the book
i just wanna be a page

-the eels

Adieu Nashville, adieu…

The Wandering Nerd July 18th, 2007

Bah, god awful tired. I’ve been awake for 40+ hours now. Last night’s cutover went longer than anticipated, I was forced to approach pouring over logs line after line in a completely new and (I happen to think) very dynamic manner:

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Some people may look at that and say, that’s just some guy laying on a desk using a Cisco 3750 24-Port 10/100/1000 EMI switch as a pillow…those people need a new hobby…seriously, go outside. I know what it was because I rested my nugget on it, you got it from some sick twisted insight, and wicked ‘l33t sh0ppin’ skills you learnd from “The Net.” There is a limit to how many lines of scrolling green text one can endure. Though, the SMI version is softer, less functionality….moving right along….

Some folks, like yours truly, laugh in the face of adversity, spit in death’s eye, and leave flaming bags of pooh on destiny’s doorstep. Others lash out violently and without merit, viciously attacking those around them with their wicked ‘bling’:

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That’s right, I’m some sort of devil-headed, red dot in the forehead, robin the boy wonder mask wearing, hollywood hulk hogan mustache, flava’ flave necklace wearing…freakshow!!!

This is why I retired….’hostile’…’work’….’environment’. Agreed?

After we did get done with the cut this morning (two hours later than I had hoped), I loaded up the last bits of crap, and set off. Hey kids! Wave good by to Nashville for a while:

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It certainly has been one hell of a day, 12 hours in a U-Haul is enough for anyone. Now couple that with a slow leak in the Power Steering and Power Breaking system. It was grand….falling asleep typing….will edit l8r….

…and we’re back. Slept for 12 hours straight. I went back and read all of that, thought about correcting it, but I think I’m just going to leave it as is. I feel like someone took a crow bar to most of my major muscle groups, but where was I? Oh right the U-Haul! When I picked it up it was making odd noises, but I figured, what the hell do I know about how one of these monsters is supposed to sound, and I was in a dead heat rush, so I took it and ran. Now bear in mind that, while these are the final bits of my material life that I care about, there’s also a motorcycle strapped in the back of the truck. (Which may or may not turn out to be wildly illegal, there’s some debate.) Over the course of yesterday’s death march it went from a ‘funny noise’ to the screaming of tortured weasels, and then the power steering went out, then the power brakes. To make it even more fun, they finally went out when I was driving to my parents house in the middle of nowhere Kentucky. It’s 10 miles from even what can nominally be called a city and approximately 60 miles from a real one. The roads are so curvy the warning traffic signs look like someone handed a Sharpy and a strobe light to a epileptic toddler.

When I finally made it to my parents and checked the Power Steering fluid…nothing…bone dry. That’s right, U-Haul rented a truck to me with no fluid in it…or so I thought. When I made it closer back to civilization, I filled the reservoir back up. Thankfully the screeching retreated to be only the normal low level screaming in my head, more importantly I had brakes and power steering again. By the time I pulled into Indy, the screeching weasels were back. One advantage though, when I took it to drop off they gave me a pass on all of the overage miles charges. As a parting little note the U-Haul has an important message for us all:

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Huh, slow down and live….I like that.

The charge of the not so bright brigade.

The Wandering Nerd July 18th, 2007

I suspect it is only fitting that my last act of corporatized nerdism would constitute one monstrous endeavor. An entire metropolitan area of hospitals, eight facilities in total. As it so often happens where massive IT systems are involved, once you start looking at making a change a domino effect happens of what is required to be changed everywhere else. If I never have to type ‘config t’ or ’sho ip bgp sum’ again, it will be beautiful. It’s 3am now and we’re not even really in the thick of it. Unbridled enthusiasm abounds. Though it’s kinda’ cool to do one more run with some of the good folks where I worked, well decent folks…tolerable at best. Okay, they suck and I hate them.

On the plus side, I’ve moved, sold or given away everything I own. A subtle nuance of that is, if you get rid of everything you own before you’re ready to go, you end up sleeping on the floor. I realized this mid moving all of my crap but decided I’d rather see everything gone and sleep on the floor a night or two vs. trying to finagle a way to be comfortable and subsequently get ‘just one more thing’ moved. Believe me, there have been many moments over the course of the last few days where I cursed a whole pantheon of small gods over the simple things we own that we tune out in everyday life. There’s almost always just ‘one more thing.’

As I had a long day moving, and fondly thinking about sleeping on the floor, I decided to go for a drink around ten, you know, to help me sleep. Well one turned into nine, and sleep actually happened around 3am. I was looking and feeling my best when I woke up, four hours later to get more crap done.

Finalized packing, about a dozen ‘just one more thing’s later and now I’m back at work, but with an empty apartment and a loaded U-Haul. Luckily I don’t have to worry about sleeping on the floor tonight, as I’m not going to be going to sleep. Hoping to pull out of Nashville by 7am to swing through eastern Kentucky by 11am, then make it to Indy by late afternoon. I figure I’ll actually get to sleep sometime tomorrow night.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more
Or close the wall up with our nerdly dead!

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!
-wolfmother

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