Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The 2008 Retrospective Omnibus!

I got nothin'.

What did I do this year, really?
Bought a house?

Got a new job?

Watched a brother get elected to the Presidency?

No, I really didn't do much of anything this year. I just sat back and let stuff happen around me while I fiddled with my navel and muttered half-hearted curses at random people.

But, as I sit here (in my office with nothing better to fucking do than write this driveling prose) and compose these thoughts, my mind starts wandering back to older NYE's and where I was, what I did, and how I woke up the next morning.

The past few years were spent at home with Kate, watching the ball drop, eating fondue, and drinking mediocre champagne. Oh, and there were gunshots. Lots of them. Thousands of them. All around. We considered going into the basement to escape the hail storm of lead.

There was a NYE spent in Fredericksburg at a bar listening to some friends' band play their brand of crunchy metal. Good times, lots of booze, lots of attractive women (who wouldn't fuck me - yeah, let me re-phrase that - "lots of attractive bitches"), and a general sense of a little bit of all right.

There were one or two Charlotte parties that involved copious amounts of ... substances and fireworks.

There was a night at the Litter Box that ended with rum and started the next morning with rum. And somehow... somehow I puked out of a second-story window and it froze to the outside wall. That was keen... drunken, stoned, and possibly hallucinogenic keenness.

Then there was the biggie - the one that stands out in my mind and gives me a tingle whenever my mind reaches back to it. The one that makes me grin like fry-slinger at Carl's Jr. who's just been given a piece of gum and a shiny penny. The one that, truthfully, trumps them all.
Big Cypress.
I woke up on December 31st 1999 and drank, smoked, and partied my way through the morning. I took a nap... with a bottle of Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay.
Curled up on the ground in the swamp.
With my arms lovingly wrapped around that bottle.
I... did things that night that kept me wide-eyed and awake.
I remember my inflatable chair - possibly the single coolest and most insightful provision I have taken with me on any excursion.
I remember the air boat.
The hot dog.
I remember Cheesecake (may it always bring a tingle and a small smile to my face no matter how fucking cheesy it is to say).
I remember a sick Reba starting off and winding itself into a jam. I remember getting lost in it, buffeted about the crowd in this viciously tender jam. I remember finally opening my eyes, forgetting what song it was and looking pleadingly at G-Funk and saying "Wh-what the fuck song is this? How'd we fucking get here?!"
I remember wandering off to piss against the 15' wall.
I remember somehow finding my way back.
I remember the light-stick chain.
I remember that nameless and faceless hippie off to my left screaming in a voice and tone that would have ripped the hearts out of the Gods with its desperation, "Where the fuck is the sun?!"
And then it came.
I remember the single most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. The way the clouds packed against each other - the seams between them glowing in a fierce red-orange explosion of light.
I remember that "Wading." At the risk of being a complete girl-child I have a hint of a moistness in my eyes as I think about it. It must be my dusty office. I remember the way Page's voice cracked, how we were all in the same place with him, how Pure it sounded. How right.
And the shuffling back to our cars to the sounds of the Beatles:
"...It's all right...
Here comes the sun...
Here comes the sun."
I tend to block out the next 21 hours of sitting, waiting, hoping the cars in front of me will move so I might be able to get to civilization, get a shower, feel the electric joy of cold porcelain beneath my ass... that part was misery after misery, our collective Pound of Flesh.

This year I'll sit in my house in front of my fireplace with Kate and watch the ball drop. We'll drink some wine, maybe some beer, maybe some tequila, definitely some rum. We'll eat some fondue and we'll wake up tomorrow morning to 2009.

Sounds quiet, chaos-free, and pretty god damned all right.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Say What You Want About Windows Devices

... but god damn am I impressed with how hackable they can be. I mean that in a good way, of course, as I just figured out a helluva tweak for my phone by changing just a couple of minor registry settings for a small app that I have loaded to allow IM communications between my handset and AOL, Yahoo, GMAIL, and now - Woo-Woo! - Facebook.

Yes... I have nothing to do today but sit here and look like I am busy doing Really Important and Complicated Things With Servers.

That's an exaggeration, of course... I am actually reading into some cool reporting tools for Sharepoint that will give me Google-like trends and usage data, but that's not really of much interest to you, is it?
You don't care if I can find the top 20 keyword searches in my MOSS environment, do you?
Or what about the average usage per site collection?
Percentage growth in collections over the course of 6 months?


Did I lose ya there?


Welcome back... so, yes, as the week ticks along towards Angstmas, fewer and fewer things appear on my plate at work. It gives me a good chance to catch up on research and documentation.
Joy to the world.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Real Test

I am sitting in my darkened office with just my desk lamp on watching as my users begin to file into the building...

I'm confident everything will go smoothly, but... they're USERS for fuck's sake...

Rest In Peace Slingin' Sammy

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Slingin' Sammy Baugh, the ultimate three-way threat who revolutionized the use of the forward pass as a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Washington Redskins, died Wednesday night. He was 94.

Baugh, who had numerous health issues, died at Fisher County Hospital in Rotan, according to his son, David Baugh. He said his father had battled Alzheimer's disease and dementia for several years and recently had been ill with kidney problems, low blood pressure and double pneumonia.

"It wasn't the same Sam we all knew," his son told The Associated Press. "He just finally wore out."

Sammy Baugh was the last surviving member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's inaugural class.

After starring at TCU, "Slingin' Sammy" played with the Redskins from 1937 to 1952, leading them to the NFL title in his rookie season and again in 1942.

Baugh was the best all-around player in an era when such versatility was essential. In 1943, he led the league in passing, punting and defensive interceptions. In one game, he threw four touchdown passes and intercepted four as well. He threw six touchdowns passes in a game twice. His 51.4-yard punting average in 1940 is still the NFL record.

"There's nobody any better than Sam Baugh was in pro football," Don Maynard, a fellow West Texas Hall of Famer who played for Baugh, said in a 2002 interview. "When I see somebody picking the greatest player around, to me, if they didn't go both ways, they don't really deserve to be nominated. I always ask, 'Well, how'd he do on defense? How was his punting?"'

When Baugh entered the NFL, the forward pass was so rare that it was unveiled mostly in desperate situations. But Baugh turn the pass into a regular feature of the offensive game plan.

As a rookie in 1937, he completed a record 81 passes (about seven a game) and led the league with 1,127 yards. By contrast, only six quarterbacks averaged three completions a game that year. He went on to lead the league in passing six times.

Baugh still holds Redskins records for career touchdown passes (187) and completion percentage in a season (70.3). His 31 interceptions on defense are third on the team's career list.

"He was amazing, just tremendously accurate," Eddie LeBaron, who took over as Washington's quarterback in Baugh's last season, said in a 2002 interview. "He could always find a way to throw it off balance. I've seen him throw the ball overarm, sidearm and underarm and complete them."

Baugh guided the Redskins to five title games and two championships, playing his entire career without a face mask. His No. 33 is the only jersey Washington has retired.

"Sammy Baugh embodied all we aspire to at the Washington Redskins," Redskins owner Dan Snyder said. "He was a competitor in everything he did and a winner. He was one of the greatest to ever play the game of football, and one of the greatest the Redskins ever had. My thoughts and prayers are with his family tonight."

Baugh's reputation blossomed as a star high school football, baseball and basketball player in Sweetwater. It began to grow during his college days at TCU.

It was there that he picked up the nickname "Slingin' Sammy" -- but it wasn't for his passing. It was for the rockets he fired to first base as a shortstop and third baseman.

"Everybody thought I was a better baseball player growing up," he said in 2002. "I thought I was going to be a big league baseball player."

As an All-American football player, he led TCU to a 29-7-3 mark, including Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl victories. He masterfully executed an early ancestor of the West Coast offense at TCU, and he credits Horned Frogs coach Dutch Meyer with his NFL success.

"Sam Baugh will always remain an integral part of TCU," athletic director Danny Morrison said in a statement. "His accomplishments have left an undeniable impact on our football program and the sport in general. TCU is extremely fortunate and honored to call Sam Baugh one of its own."

Baugh was known to make blunt, witty remarks.

After the Redskins' 73-0 loss to the Chicago Bears in the 1940 championship, a writer asked if the outcome would have been different had an end not dropped an early touchdown pass.

"Yeah," drawled Baugh. "It would have been 73-7."

Baugh was known for his reclusiveness.

After his NFL career, Baugh retreated to his 7,600-acre West Texas ranch about 95 miles southeast of Lubbock. The Hall of Fame and the Redskins have tried to lure him east for ceremonies over the years, and he always turned them down.

For years he drove to Snyder three or four times a week for golf, until sore knees, searing heat and the 100-mile round trip made those outings too tough.

But he always enjoyed football season.

"I'll watch it all damn day long," Baugh, who often sprinkled his conversation with mild obscenities, told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. "I like the football they play. They got bigger boys, and they've also got these damn speed merchants that we didn't have in those days. I'd love to be quarterback this day and time."

David Baugh sees talent comparable to his father's in today's NFL players, citing Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in particular.

"He's great, but he doesn't punt and he doesn't play safety on defense," David Baugh said. "In that regard, Sammy was pretty darned great."

Sammy Baugh bought the Double Mountain Ranch, named for two hills that jut out of the flat earth north of his house, in 1941. He and his wife, Edmonia, who died in 1990, raised five children on the arid expanse covered with mesquite trees, prickly pear cactus and about 500 cows.

He came to the ranch full time in the mid-1960s, after several two years coaching the New York Titans and a year with the Houston Oilers.

In addition to his son David, Baugh is survived by sons Todd Baugh, of Billings, Mont., and Stephen Baugh, of Midland; daughter Frances Baugh, of Lubbock; sister Nell Kindrick, of Garland; 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

And You'll Be Splashing in the Sea...

I am currently floating on a wave of sleep deprivation, energy drinks, and - forgive the trite saying - dank heady jams.

Yes, the longer I go without sleep the fat my cords get and the more stoned my voice becomes.

It's been a long, tiring evening of changing, testing, reverting, testing, changing again, testing, etc. Everything was thankfully successful and everyone is singing praises this morning... or would be if they knew the drastic changes that took place behind the scenes. I guess that's kind of the thing, ain't it? If they don't notice a difference and huge changes happened, then I guess that speaks to the planning and execution, yes?
I shall take my fucking bow, now.
Really, though, the boss knows what we did and was suitably impressed and relieved.

Fuck, I think there's tiny fly buzzing in front of my face, but...
...well, what if he's not there?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Addiction Grows

I find myself having problems typing online.
I get to a small text field and I immediately start typing a status update.
Something like:

"is not sure what to type here."
"'s typing is abnormally fast today."

I need to stop constantly updating my Facebook shit. Of course, this will appear as a note, but ONLY because my blog's RSS feed ties into FB.

Passing Time and Gas

I have nothing to do for 3 hours.
Between now and then nothing.
Wide Open Plains.

Tonight, though, tonight shit goes down... from an IT Project point of view, of course. I don't mean to sound dramatic like I'm going out on the town to find that no good sonuvabitch and end his miserable existence with the perfection and purity of a single well-placed bullet.
Nothing of the sort.

I have 3 hours to kill until I can jet out of here, run home, have some grub, maybe wrap some gifts, and then come back into the office (well, cold datacenter) to Perform My Magic.
My Technomantic Divination.

That'd look kind of groovy on a business card.

ROB S*****
Systems Administrator / Technomantic Deity

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This... Is... SPARTAN!

My office is pretty fucking bare.
I mean, I've got stuff in it, but nothing that really screams that I am a unique snowflake.
On my L-shaped desk moving from left to right:
* A stack of phone and voicemail manuals
* A phone and pen resting on it
* A raised laptop and keyboard
* A monitor with handy tray containing:
- A SRD disk for BESR 8.5.1
- A pad of sticky notes
- Six Sudafed tablets
* A 750GB USB drive
* A green-shaded brass lamp
* My empty coffee mug (I should do something about that)
* 2 yellow legal pads
* Assorted pens and a pocket knife
* A small desk calendar (of the small ringed day-by-day type)
* A small tray with scrap paper
* An empty business card holder
* A full paper clip holder
* Two or three small note pads and a stack of SMS scripting FAQs
* A black Corporate Express stapler... I need a Swingline.
* A printed out Active Monitor script that tests fine, but fails in production
* A 3Com PXE server CD
* A stackable set of trays (mostly empty)

What you do not see is the hotel room artwork above my desk of what appears to be a dinghy pulled up onto a grassy yard. It rests next to a white picket fence and what appears to be the base of an old light house. There's a small patch of blue in one corner that I assume represents the sea.
I also have a pair of uncomfortable chairs, a horizontal wooden filing cabinet, and a mostly empty bookshelf that contains a handful of Windows Server 2003, Exchange 2003, and SQL manuals.

And that, my fine readers, is my exciting office. It does, however, have a lockable door and a pair of windows that overlook the parking lot and a pair of... well, I don't knwo what kind of trees they are. Small leaves, paper-like bark...
Yep... gonna be a long day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's a Sickness

I am heavily dosed on cold medicine.
And a Java Monster Russian energy drink.

The problem with this is that somehow the combination has made me ... see things.
And I have "Take On Me" running through my head over and over and over...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Breaking Bad or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Project

It's always a good thing to start a new job strong.
Come in.
Make a Difference right off the bat.
Prove thine worth.

It's a whole other thing to come in doing just that and then suddenly having The Most Important IT Project In The History Of The Company dropped into your lap with the expectation that you are up to speed on every single server and application running in the environment.

Thankfully, I am in the process of bending that project over and... well... doing something brutally sexual to it that may be illegal in many states and principalities. But, hey... that's how I roll.

In other news, there are mumbles and rumors that the Company wants me to give up my Sammie for a Bluhbuhry... I'm not sure how I feel about this as I have never been a big fan of those devices. I'd been somewhat excited about maybe, potentially, getting a Spirit (is that the new touchie feelie? Eh, you know what I mean), until I heard it described as having all of the downsides of an iPhone and none of the cool gadgetry. Of course, the person that told me this was in the process of drinking away the initial pain of an upcoming holiday in a Bad Town, so he may not be the best of judges.

I stare out of my office window a lot. It's all ground floor and stuff, so I don't have the god-like view that I had in my last job with a window (wow... it's been... NINE YEARS since I had a desk next to a window) and that was on the ninth floor of a building that over-looked Southpark Mall in Charlotte, NC.
Nine Years.
God damn... that could make me all Tyler Durdennie if I let it.