Wednesday, March 11 2020

pizzas, dragon ball z, and the computer case

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! How are you feeling today? This week is finally starting to catch up with me. I woke up especially tired today, shuffling down the stairs like a zombie with the dogs eagerly behind me. As I sleepily brewed some coffee and put some dishes away, Ziggy sharply barked at the door, waiting to be let inside to eat her breakfast. But now that I have at least a cup of coffee in my system, the engine is starting to warm up - so to speak. We're slowly getting there this morning.

Yesterday was a great day. I spent the morning attending meetings from my room while Marissa worked downstairs. Rodney played in the living room, listening to music. At 12, I joined my family downstairs and heated up three bowls of leftover chili.

Following lunch, Marissa departed for Sports Zone to finish up her mural, leaving Rodney, the dogs, and I to hang out at home. I worked from the couch while Rodney played, then later in the afternoon, I snuck upstairs to have a 1-on-1 with my manager. I guess Rodney felt like he was missing out - a few minutes later he wandered into my room, craned his neck in view of the webcam and asked, "Dada, fight bad guys with me? Pleease? Please please pleeease?"

"We just discovered Dragon Ball Z," I explained. And as we all know, the correct way to enjoy Dragon Ball Z is by getting up off the couch, brandishing a sword or a hockey stick, and letting fly a flurry of punches and kicks as if you were in the fight.

After my last meeting of the day, I put Rodney down for a nap and fixed a cup of ginseng in the kitchen. I returned to my desk, baiting the dogs to follow me with two training treats in hopes that they would hang out upstairs with me. Sadly, after gobbling down the crumbled up treats in my hand, they flew back down the stairs.

"It's nothing personal," consoled Marissa. "Our neighbors take the dog out in the afternoon, and de honden wait by the window."

Even without the dogs, it was still a pretty cozy, quiet afternoon. I cracked a window in Miles' room, letting the cool, wet breeze leak into the upstairs. "Mijn huis is gezellig", I said to myself before jumping back into work for a few more hours.

Marissa returned home, so I locked my computer and headed downstairs into the kitchen. I decided to take a stab at California style pizza, remembering that I still had a pizza stone stowed away in our oven's warming drawer. As I mixed the dough, Marissa joined me in the kitchen to chat about the day.

Of all the pizzas in my repertoire, none of them give me the true pizza dough kneading experience. Deep dish dough is soft, buttery, and is best underworked. Sfincione is so gummy that it's worked entirely in the mixer. So needless to say, I was happy and feeling pretty cool that I got to practice my kneading technique on a classic, chewy pizza crust. Marissa even took a turn kneading. Who could pass up on a chance to play with some fresh pizza dough?

Setting the dough aside to rise, I left with Rodney for Hy-Vee. I could tell he's eager for spring to arrive - before walking through the parking lot, he rolled his pants up to his knees and the sleeves of his winter coat to his elbows.

Yesterday's pizza was fun to shop for. We mostly kept to the fun gourmet Italian section, picking up some fresh mozzarella, basil, pesto, proscuitto, en een paar verse tomaten.

Returning home, I released Rodney into the living room to watch TV, and while Marissa painted in the basement, I began cooking the pizzas. I cut the dough ball into sections and set them aside to proof on a mat while my oven pre-heated to 500 degrees. The pizza stone still smelled of grill smoke, remnants of the last time I tried this last summer. I flattened the dough, and using only my hands, spread the dough balls into little disks, taking extra care to leave a plump & round crust around the outside.

"So pizzas are probably going to start coming out of the oven," I called down to Marissa. "I really didn't put too much thought into the timing, so just come upstairs and we'll start eating them."

Marissa and Rodney sat down at the table around the first batch. I nibbled on a slice from a napkin while milling around the kitchen in my apron. After the fourth and final pizza emerged, I joined my family at the table to finish them off.

"I can't leave any behind," I said reaching for another wedge off the plate. "The slices are so small and cute, I can't stop eating them.

As we gathered on the couch to watch an episode of Dragon Ball with Rodney, I started to feel the pizza hit my stomach like a sleepiness bomb. After Marissa went upstairs with Rodney for bedtime, I fell asleep in the middle of a Dutch lesson.

"What is it about this pizza that just makes you want to sleep for hours? I think I could fall asleep standing up right now if I wanted to!" I said, heading upstairs.

I managed to snap myself out of pizza stupor with some push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups, then I headed downstairs to do chores. I finished cleaning the kitchen up at 9, leaving plenty of time for me to attack this week's IT project.

When we last left off a week ago, I assembled the new parts I bought for the NAS, but they wouldn't boot. Out of frustration, I returned everything and just decided to try to slim down the parts I already had with the goal of doing away with the giant, heavy, towering case balanced on the top shelf.

I powered down the wall and took everything apart on the bedroom floor. I moved the hard drives into an external bay that my sister got me for Christmas. They snapped in beautifully.

Next was the mother board. I pushed the tufts of cables aside and removed it from the case, transferring it to the clean plexiglass mount. I spent the rest of the evening rearranging things on my shelf, trying to find a configuration that hid the cables without putting to much strain on the plugs.

I hit the big red switch on my power strip. The modem, router, and pi cluster powered on, but the NAS was silent. The fan wasn't spinning either. Using a long VGA cable, I plugged the board into the monitor on my desk. Still nothing.

Staring at the case, I remembered the power button. I've always had problems with this computer not automatically turning on. You need the little plastic button on the case. So standing on a chair with the old metal case raised above my ahead, I gingerly plugged the end of the cable into the mother board. I groped around the case for the plastic button, mashing it with my index finger. The mother board whirred to life.

"So I think I need to keep the case around," I laughed while Marissa entered the room. "Right now it's the only way I know how to turn it back on."

"Does the button come out?" asked Marissa, inspecting it beside me. I studied the button, and seeing a small plastic clip, popped it out of the case.

"Good idea. I'd definitely rather keep a cable around than this giant metal case."

Triumphantly, I flung the metal case into our garbage can and grabbed a beer out of the fridge. It was a good day.

Thanks for stopping by this morning. I hope you have a wonderful day.