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User Journal

Journal Journal: Annual review time

Argh. I hate annual reiews, they are always just a paper pushing exercise that some high up person decided will properly mentor and evaluate a company's employees. yeah right, that is why everyone must have their employee and appraiser portions completed and turned into managament by this Friday (after being told on Monday) and the online system is crashing due to the strain of an entire division of employees trying to log in at once.

here is one of my "Key Results Areas":

Increased adherence to CMMI Level 3 and ISO 9001 processes. Employees shall constantly strive to improve the process and quality of the end product by doing, but not limited to, the following:

- Schedule, participate, and record Peer Reviews including Design, Requirements, Test Plans, Database, and Code. Track all project and program meeting minutes of importance, posting results to project SDF's.
- Create Project Plans following Project Plan template. Create a project SDF for all projects no matter how small (excluding maintenance).
- Maintain up-to-date accurate project documentation on project SDF to include: meeting and review artifacts, WBS, Software Delivery Plan, Maintenance Plan, Estimates, update URL and POC info, Project Schedule, test procedures and results, disaster recovery plan, design artifacts, requirement exports from DOORS, change artifacts when requirements change, requirements approval from customer. The project SDF will have no TBD or blank pages. Record and update all requirements in DOORS. Notify CM.QA team of initial and any updates to requirements.
- Read the Program Management Plan and respond back to QA when requested to document that you have read it. Follow project lifecycle plan on documentation site and in PMP. All projects must go through testing and get QA approval before customer acceptance testing, database changes in production, and going to production with code. All code must go through a security review before going to production. Adhere to DTIC government and CSC organizational standards.
- Use the internal PIR tracker application and support closure of all PIRs.
- Maintain your training records on Learn@CSC.
- Support Risk Management on Program and Project level. Use Risk Management Tool for program risks and the risk management section of the SDF for project risks. Conduct Decision Analysis and Resolution when asked by the Program Manager.
- Give a copy of all procurement invoices to CM.

And 6 more just like it, and they happen to be copies of another person's from last year. :-)

Sun Microsystems

Journal Journal: 'Duh!' moment of the day

So I'm installing the most current JDK's from Sun on the new X4500 system we got. I copy over the tarball from my software archive, extract it, and try to run the install scripts. Get an error. Previously I had been playing with trying to strip out their UELA/License from the installer, which fails cause they have all sorts of checksums in place, so I figured I must have accidently blown away the original version. I go to Sun's site and download all the JDK's all over again, copy the over, run the installer, same error. I start messing with directory perms and setting the files 777, error.

Then it hits me: I have the SPARC JDKs and am trying to install them on an x86 server.


For the record, this is our first x86 server running Solaris, so it never occured to me that I needed the correct binaries.

User Journal

Journal Journal: BackYard Burn #1

Ran my first race ever last Sunday, no intention of trying to win, just using these races as motiviation to get my fitness level back up.
Placed 21/35 in age group, 97/172 overall for the 5 mile (really 5.9 mile) race.
  Me at roughly 5.5 miles.
What sucks out of this is that all of my biking has given me Iliotibial band friction syndrone in both legs, but most predominantly in my left. My sports therapist (herself a triathlete) says that since I never had this problem until I started biking, that I need to see a bike fitting specialist and have them measure me and adjust set the bike (saddle position, height, handlebar angle, cleat angles, etc...) to fit me. Not an expense I had planned for, l was tempted to do it months ago before I started up running again and now wish I had just done it. I spent that last few days this week just doing enough cardio to warm up and then spending 30-45 minutes on leg stretching so I can run the next race in the series this Sunday.
We'll see how my recovery works out, at the next race the course is designed as a series of 3 different loops that each pass through the Start/Finish area at some point, so I have easy bail out options if I re-injure. I really don't want a DNF but don't want permanent damage either.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Don't need one but...

Not actively looking for a new job, nor do I need one as I am content where I am in spite of the numerous issues where I work. I am being recognized as knowing my shit and currently have so many projects, all "top-priority" of course, on my plate it is ridiciulous. It is also pretty much a 9-5 job, and in IT in the DC area, is pretty rare from what I gather.

While I am content, this sort of scares me since I like to be challenged at times, so I know that in a few years at this place I will become just another wage slave sitting in my cube. Hence I have just been seeing what is out there every week or so. Also, I now just do pure Solaris admin, and a few other related tasks like DNS, SANs, et.al., whereas my skillset include databases, windows domain, samba, networking and programming. I can't even get a console login on a Windows server that I have a management app running on because it belongs to the "Windows guys", so I have to submit a ticket and wait until they get around to it for something simple as running "license add " from a command prompt. That sort of stuff gets to you every once in awhile, and I don't ever want to get used to that kind of stovepiping.

So I just applied to a job with a company I've never heard of, small privately owned, still in the defense business so I would maintain my clearance, and the job description matches my skillset perfectly: systems administration in a heterogeneous linux/unix/windows environment. I am not really hoping as I probably blew their salary cap with my request, and if I get called in for an interview, I am going to make it clear that I am content with my current job and that I am there to interview the company to see if it is somewhere I would like to work for. I rarely hear of people pulling that off and actually getting an offer, although a former co-worker did that and landed a good job much closer to his house. He even went to the interview in jeans and a button down.

It is nice for once to be in a position of not NEEDING a new job and being able to browse the field with no urgency whatsoever.

User Journal

Journal Journal: My daughter

The little one has been potty trained since around last October when she told her mom "No more diapers!" (training pants). She just turned three in January. She still calls everything 'poopoo' no matter what she has to go to the bathroom for, so we just learned to ask her when she is done and do the appopriate clean up if any.

So after her lunch today she goes to the bathroom, and the wife asks me to check up on here since she has learned that adults close the door when they fo, so now she does too. I get in there, find her butt-naked on the toilet just as she finished #1. Before I can ask if she is done, she lets out a little toot.

Dad: What was that?

Daughter: (smiling) That was a fart Daddy!

I fell to the ground rolling, it was so hilarious.

User Journal

Journal Journal: 35.5 MPH

Max speed I hit on my bike Saturday while riding through a national park. Was a long down hill on a regular road. Kind of freaky since the wind is extremely loud, and the knobbies on the mountain bike were roaring at that speed. I got as low and back as I could on the bike and the whole time was thinking how much asphalt would hurt at that speed. Of course, over the next 2 miles I had to go back UP the same elevation on the way back to my car, and at this point I was about 17 miles into my 20 mile ride, legs are definitely feeling it.

Whole ride was 2:20 in time (HH:MM) and a tad under 20 miles. Basically, the park has an 8 mile road loop that various trails and campsites shoot off of, I parked at the beginning of the loop and went out and back every bike-legal road that spoked off. I almost wish I had a GPS so I could have track my total uphill elevation gain over the ride, it was nothing but up and down the whole way. My goal was to stay out of granny gear (small chain-ring in front) and I made it, barely. I was also able to practice my downhill body positions on much safer trails than my normal ones, where there are too many turns and obstacles you need to pay attention to. 20 MPH down gravel fireroads dodging fallen limbs and various ice patches is exhilirating.

The funnest part was one long downhill that obviously never sees direct sun since it was covered in hard-packed snow and ice. The snow was hard enough that my knobbies would barely break the crust but not let me fall through, so traction was like glue. Until you hit an ice patch, which was immediately obvious because the whole dynamic of the bike changed immediately. I had to hike-a-bike it back up same hill since every power stroke would just spin out the rear tire. Never fell once the whole ride, even though there must have been a good dozen long sections that were snow/ice. And the only times I walked the whole ride were the aforemention hill and another section of pure ice, I managed to ride up the ice and snow everywhere else.

It was also great because unlike the residential lake I normally ride around when the main trails are too muddy, there was almost noone to speak of. Ran into two roadies while on the main loop, 1 long distance runner who I saw 3 times over my first hour, and some people walking their dogs.

I have found my new weekend training spot for the winter.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Great exercise 3

I found a killer exercise for that muscle (not sure if it has a unique name) in the center of your back where your lower traps meet your lats. Unfortunately it is a highly seasonable exercise depending on where you live.

Shoveling snow.

After spending about 2 hours digging a 1 car wide channel down my sloped driveway, I can say that this muscle is the one most used. At first I was killing my lower back, so I sort of set up into a modifed horse stance, if you are familiar with traditional martial arts, to prevent me from bending over the wrong way. Was much easier to work that way and didn't strain my back at all.

User Journal

Journal Journal: 23.68 miles 4

Personal record for both longest distance on one ride and longest time in the saddle: 2 hours 23 minutes of moving time (cyclo-computer set to only record when actually moving). Combination of mostly flat/smooth city trails and singletrack (~5 miles). I made it more challenging by doing sprints on the flat parts when there were no pedestrians, and hills I would normally take in a low gear spinning I stayed in a higher gear and powered my way up, which my upper legs are now feeling. My biggest acheivement of the day was this one long, steep and windy hill that I basically quit on last time I tried it. I managed to power up until about 15 feet from the crest, where I hit some roots and blew my momentum. I then spent the next 5 minutes trying not to cough up a lung in front of some hikers who were resting nearby.

Prior to this my longest ride was 19.4 miles, but all rather hilly (for me) singletrack.

I am only riding once a week right now on weekends, when it is at least sunny, even though it is still only in the 30's. I don't have the clothing to go down into the 20's that it normally is now on night rides. My other regular ride nights I am working up my running endurance and gettting my body adjusted to the impact of running in order to prep for run #1 of the Backyard Burn, exactly one month from today.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Xterra Richmond Sport Race

I have never had any intentions of running a triathlon in my life, I am not all a good swimmer. One length of the pool has me gasping for breath if I attempt any sort of decent speed. This is why I was planning on one or two off-road duathlons this year (mountain biking/trail running), one of which is the Xterra EX2 race in Rocky Gap, MD.

So what happens tonight? Less than 2 hours ago I attended a Xterra informational session headed by 2 locals who placed 2nd and 5th in their age group at world's last year in Hawaii. I won via raffle a free entry into the Sport level Richmond Xterra East Championship. Well, tecnically my wife, who has no desire to do any of this crazy outdoors stuff I started, won the entry but I am using it. Then they raffled a Pro level entry, which I won, but I passed it up since I already had the Sport via the wife.

The entry is non-transferable and my name has already been sent to the race registrars to send me my forms. I guess I will be running my 1st triathlon come June. Time to start hitting the local rec center pool and get working on that swimming.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Child's solution to a problem 1

The wife and kids have moved up the DC area so we are one happy family again as of Jan 6th. We went from a ranch to a 2-story so the kids were (still are) fascinated with the stairs, running up and down and up and down and up...They even refused to use the downstairs bathroom because they wanted to use the stairs to go to the upstairs bathroom. Of course, mom and dad were sick of stairs after 2 days of moving boxes up and down.

Apparently their mother instituted a morning rule where no kids go downstairs until after 8am since they would wake up before her and run downstairs to play (they are 3 and 5).

My son (the 5 year old) wakes up between 7-7:30 normally, before his mother

He wants to play, but can't go downstairs until 8am.

Press the buttons on the alarm clock to make it say 8am. It is now ok to go downstairs.

I wish that solution was applicable at work :-)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Road Rage cards

In light of my near accident yesterday (asshole turned on his blinker and tried to do a 3 lane change without bothering to look over his shoulder, I happened to be in that 3rd lane. I locked the brakes, laid on the horn, and he refused to look at me as I passed him) here is something all DC drivers could use:

Road Rage Cards. Range from a nice "Pay Attention!" to angry "Wake the Fuck Up you Idiot!"

Oh, and said asshole was driving a mini-van with the wife and kids in it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Read the labelling

After a particularly less than ideal ride last week, the bike was pretty dirty. Dug out the cleaning brushes and proceeded to get off most of the dried mud, enough to stop interfering with the mechanical operation of various parts. While I was doing this, I came across a manufacturer sticker on the frame that had some rather small print. In this small print it basically states that this model bike is not meant for activities such as jumping, downhill racing, and aggressive off-road riding. (emphasis mine).

I find this ironic that I now find this label after I have had to replace parts broken during my rides. For the last 4-5 months I have been riding well above the style my parts were designed for, as in often and trying things the more experience riders do. This might explain why I have dumped roughly $300 in parts on this bike in that time frame.

So now I have a sub-par bike, with an excellent set of rims, hubs, tires, rear cogs, and pedals. A friend is upgrading his much higher quality bike with an even higher quality crankset (front gears, crankshaft and pedal arms) and letting me have his old one, so I will have a new one of those soon also.

I will be using this bike in a duathlon in July, possibly another in Sept., and maybe a 12-hour team endurance race (most 10 mile-loops in 12 hours), we'll see how this "not meant for...aggressive off-road riding" holds up. The wife had already agreed that I need a better quality bike (she saw the last repair bill) so it is a matter of keeping this one in working condition long enough to save the money for a decent one ($800-$1000).

User Journal

Journal Journal: If this happened to me... 1

Tomorrow someone is being fired. I know this, the whole office knows this, she does not. That is what is pissing some of us off.

Don't get me wrong, in the opinion of most of us she deserves to be fired since she has been here for months yet can't do the very basic entry level tasks she was hired to do, much less be a viable strong member of her team. She has been on "probation" due to poor performance for the past few weeks/months.

She is a contractor, has a government team lead, who has a goverment department lead. The department lead works directly with our company's program rep for personnel issues. These are the ONLY people who should have known about her being fired. Yet one of those three (and pretty sure not the company rep, too smart for that) gossipped about privileged personnel information that should have never gotten out until the employee was pulled into an office and told in person. Now she gets to show up at work where we all know she is going to be fired and watch her get called into the office and get the news.

She is a pretty cool person so I am feeling really bad for her even though she does need to go.

I am wondering what kind of recourse she could have and if anything could be done to the leads who violated their privilege. If it was me I would filing a complaint in writing to the highest corporate people I could about the actions of the government on this contract, as well as hitting a few high ranking govies who are over these people, and finally the Office of Personnel Management. I'm sure nothing would get done in the end, but I would have some satisfaction that I made life difficult for some people for a little while.

User Journal

Journal Journal: New Year's resolution

Get back to the fitness level I was at (or better) when I left the Marine Corps back in 1999.

That means one year to lose 7 years of bad habits and sporadic attempts at getting back into shape. I am by no means an out of shape slob (5'10", ~170 lbs.), but I have been dissatisfied for some time with my conditioning.

Now, we all know people who every year make a similar resolution (get in shape), but I have given myself goals in the form of various events to milestone myself:

March/April 2007:
BackYard Burn Spring series (4 races over 2 months, I am running the 5-mile series)

May 2007:
Rocky Gap Adventure race (trekking, orienteering, mountain biking, kayaking)

July/August 2007:
Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike race series, beginner class.
This one is iffy, depends on how much I improve on my turns and downhills at speed. Last time I tried to go fast on a twisty course I hit a tree, not something I would like to experience again.

Sept 2007:
Venture Quest Adventure race. (trekking, orienteering, mountain biking, kayaking)

Oct/Nov/Dec 2007:
BackYard Burn Fall series (4 races, I will be running the 10-mile series this time)

Note: The 1st link to the calendar has accurate dates, the individual event links have not been updated with 2007 dates

The common feature of all events: All local to me, and all of the ARs have a solo category. The 2 ARs are also "sprint" ARs, not 24-36 hour endurance events, so gear-wise they are a little more affordable since I pretty much have 90% of the required gear for them. There is an AR in April, but no solo category so I will probably volunteer for the event, although I have some friends that might run it with me since they would use the sprint AR as a warmup for an endurance one they have later in the month.

My goals for each event are basically:
1. Not to get a DNF (did not finish)
2. Not to be DFL (dead fookin last)

After using 2007 as a nice warmup year, I will probably repeat all the local events with the intent to seriously compete, and probably enter some endurance ARs to see how I do. The hard part right now is getting the wife to understand that training requires allowing me to take time to go out and run/bike, and that not all of use are as lucky as her and get paid to work out (she is a fitness/aerobics instructor). The plus side of that is that most of the parks/trails systems I would be training in are family friendly so she and the kids would be able to do outdoor things while I workout, she has already agreed to that idea.

Let's see how the After Action Report in 2008 turns out.

Happy New Year fellow Slashdotters!


Journal Journal: Day after Christmas is my lucky day!

By virtue of the fact that I am the only sysad not taking that day off, I get to come in at 5am in order to upgrade a number of our SANS with a newer OS. The boss decided that since the network would be down for a bit anyway due to the network team upgrading IOS on the switches and routers, which means all the databases and websites will also be offline, that our team has a perfect oppurtunity to do these long awaited upgrades.

So I will be getting back into town around midnight or so and come in super early.

My lucky day. No stress, just about 200 servers attach to these SANS...

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Over the shoulder supervision is more a need of the manager than the programming task.