Tuesday, November 12 2019

late night pages, ki gong, and deep-dish pizza

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! I'm feeling a little groggy today. This week I'm on-call, and last night at 2 AM I woke to a handful of pages. Sometime last night, Amazon lost power to an availability zone in their datacenter in Frankfurt, Germany. I sleepily watched the metrics four about twenty minutes or so, and to my relief, our automation took care of things. The server was automatically decommissioned once it stopped receiving network traffic, and a new replacement was provisioned in another zone. I gave a tired fist bump to myself before drifting off to sleep. It wasn't so bad after all. It was kind of the same sensation you get when you accidentally wake up an hour before your alarm, check your phone out of habit, then happily fall back asleep. And plus, yesterday I rediscovered the PagerDuty App's custom notifications, which are pretty hilarious. I have my phone set to "Barber Shop Quartet - The Server's On Fire". So what woke me last night wasn't the usual dignified "chirp", but instead a barber shop quartet singing the refrain Theeee serrrrrrrverrrrrr's ooooooon fiiiiiiiiiiire. Dramatic stuff.

Yesterday was a pretty great day. After our team meeting, I attended Monday morning Ki Gong with Justin. He was standing in the glass yoga room on the ninth floor staring out into the snow, which was blowing upwards and sideways against the face of our building. "It's like we're standing inside of a snow globe," he remarked in wonder.

Since it was just the two of us for class, he took a more instructive, tutoring approach. He showed me something called the "self-rejuvenating" routine, in which we massaged our hands, feet, and legs. As we switched from tapping our head, rubbing our hands together and passing them over our eyes, digging our fingers into the back of our calf, and beating ourselves in the chest, he explained to me that this Ki Gong stuff isn't nearly as mystical as people think it is. "It's not magic, it's just a theory," he explained. "And even though they can't explain why this stuff makes you feel good, they don't need to." We finished the session by charging up our organs with good vibrations, which sounds like a strange Beach Boys song, doesn't it? We tapped and struck various pressure points in the chest, legs, and neck. When I stood up, I felt light on my feet, and almost like my pores had opened. Ki Gong is good stuff, and now I couldn't imagine starting a week of ticket duty without it. Justin humbly thanked me for attending, then we parted ways.

I spent the rest of the day trying to be as helpful as possible, bouncing between slack conversations, scheduling production changes, and commenting on tickets. For lunch, I scooped my hilarious chicken caesar salad into a bowl and mashed up a hardboiled egg, because apparently it still didn't have enough protein for me. Now that I've started paying attention, you can really tell I don't eat a lot of salads. I clearly have no idea what I'm doing.

At 4:30, I jumped on a bus and made a grocery list. Marissa formerly requested deep dish pizza, and she didn't need to say it twice. It's a little hard to fit into a weeknight meal, but Marissa and Rodney don't mind if dinner is delayed by ten minutes or so. I woke Rodney from his nap, and we went to the store. He was bundled up in his jacket and gloves, and very talkative from the day. He played outside in the snow while Mom shoveled the driveway. Marissa tried to build a snowman with him, but Rodney had more fun knocking it over. Boys, right? Boys suck.

As I made the pizza, Marissa chatted in the kitchen while Rodney wandered around living room playing with his toys. He made us each a playdough cupcake on a tiny plate with a fork, probably to hold us over while we hungrily waited for the pizza. That was considerate of him, and probably made up for his earlier display of violent aggression against snowman arts.

I did something a little different with the pizza last night. I decided to leave out the store bought marinara and see if I could achieve the desired thick & sweet deep dish sauce using only canned tomatoes. Not only did it taste better, but it cooked much faster and the consistency was much more appealing. When you simmer the tomatoes in marinara, the tomato eventually completely disappears and you don't get those nice chunks sprinkled throughout. But simmering in only a bit of water from their can, the beautiful tomato chunks had nowhere to hide and were forced to stand proudly atop the pizza.

I'm proud of my deepdish recipe. It feels like a real milestone in my home cooking life. Deep dish pizza was always a childhood hometown favorite of mine, but since I could only enjoy it after waiting an hour at Lou Malnati's, I had it on a pedestal and just assumed that making it at home would never be practical. To add to it, the amount of diverging deep dish advice on the Internet is overwhelming. And one of my favorite parts about my variation is that over time it has gotten simpler. There are fewer ingredients in the dough & sauce, and it's becoming a lot more reproducible. Maybe I'll make an instructional video and throw it on YouTube.

For Monday's power hour, I started the week out strong by cleaning behind the living room couch. Couches are amazing. It's a pretty fascinating view of how your family relaxes. Crayons, coffee spills, popcorn, socks - I'll spare you the gory details, but it's been a while since I cleaned underneath the cushions.

So that's what I got today. I hope you all have a wonderful day today. Remember to charge your organs, spend some time today staring at the snow, and cook pizza for your family. As for me, I have another day of work, where I'll be cruising the backlog for tickets and vigilantly waiting for the barber shop quartet to sing The Serrrrrrrverrrrrr's Oooooon Fiiiiiiiire.

Oh, and to any new readers in the Redalen family slack channel, welcome!

Have a great Tuesday, everyone.