Wednesday, September 18 2019

outages, restaurants, groceries, and rigatoni

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Wednesday. I hope wherever you are while you're reading this, you're feeling good, and you too have a hot cup of coffee to enjoy.

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty good day. In the morning, we had the postmortem meeting from Friday's incident. I spent all of Monday and all of Tuesday morning working on the report, and I think when it came time to present to the company what happened, we looked very thoughtful and prepared. It helped having my team there. I can go nuts with throwing details into a document, but I get nervous around higher ups - not just at this company, but at pretty much any company I've worked for. So it helped having the team to help word-smith things. These meetings are important to get right, because no matter what happens, they expect to create immediate short term work for your team to prevent the incident from happening again. It's important to make sure that everyone on the call understands exactly what happened, otherwise you may end up committing to something that won't help or that you can't actually do.

While incidents obviously make our company look bad, I really wish I could show people what it looks like from inside the walls. It's a well-oiled machine. In a matter of seconds, the page is triaged and suddenly everyone is in the same slack channel & talking in a zoom call. Every action is measured - whether we're restarting a server or sending out a tweet to customers. When I get paged into an incident, I feel like I'm part of a crack IT fire department, and it would be really fun if not for the actual incident.

After the postmortem, I felt I deserved a lunch beer, so I met Marissa, Rodney, and Ziggy on the square. We found an empty table at a fancy burger place, eating burgers and fried pickles under the shade of an umbrella. It's a mystery why some perfectly good restaurants on the square are never busy during lunch. We walked right into DLUX at noon and the place was pretty much empty. I don't understand it. They've got good service, a solid tap list, and they make a decent burger. DLUX kind of reminds me of Brocach's before they closed, in that despite how good it was, it was always nearly empty during peak hours. That's a bad omen for DLUX, and I wonder if they're aware of it. Maybe that's why they're so friendly.

After lunch, I had a few more meetings and chipped away at some more work. At the end of the work day, I switched gears to make a grocery list and prepare to make dinner. I was planning on making Soupe aux Choux from the French Cooking Academy channel (which I highly recommend, Stefan is an odd, charming treasure). But the soup would take about an hour and a half on the stove, and time would be tight, so I saved that recipe for today when I could get a jump on it. Instead, I went with good old rigatoni.

After work, Marissa went with Rod and I to the store to do some shopping. When I go alone with Rod, we're a little more procedural, getting our groceries and checking out in about 20-25 minutes. It's fun when Marissa comes along because we take our time, picking up plenty of snacks and screwing around along the way. Rod and I do this thing now where he shoots pretend webs out of his hands, and to complete the illusion I swing him around with his arms, sometimes letting him run up walls or jump off pillars - you know - to give him the real Spider-Man experience.

When we got home, I got to cooking rigatoni. I'm getting pretty good at red meat sauces, perhaps because it's hard to go wrong. I start with pancietta and whatever herbs I have laying around, render out the fat, then add the red sauce. I simmer it for a while, then when it's nice and thick, I sneak in some butter and reduce the heat to a simmer. I cook the noodles just below al dente and added them to the sauce. Then in five minute increments, while the noodles are finishing cooking, I sneak in some grated parmesan cheese. The rigatoni draws up the cheesy sauce with capillary action, kind of like making mac and cheese, then to break up the hearty flavors, I toss in some chopped parsley and give it a final toss. We usually serve it with good old Hy-Vee brand frozen garlic bread, which I haven't been able to recreate. And knowing how much butter is caked on this silly little frozen bread sticks, I almost resent it for how good it smells coming out of the oven. One day I may replace their garlic bread with my own, but for now, I'll kiss the ring.

Hey - have a great day everyone. Thanks for reading.