Thursday, October 22 2020

outages, quarantine boy, and my octopus teacher



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Dear Journal,

Goede morgen, mensen! Happy Thursday. Surrounded by picturesque coffee shop weather, coming to you almost a full hour and a half behind schedule, I'm just happy to be here.

No, my alarm clock isn't broken. I didn't accidentally oversleep. I didn't just decide to pull a Peter Gibbons Office Space maneuver and spontaneously stick it to the man. Last night around 10 pm, my phone alerted me to some unhappy servers in a production deployment of our service. With a deep, weary sigh, I topped off my glass of wine and trudged up the stairs, signing onto my computer expecting the worst.

It wasn't too bad. Just an AWS outage in a single zone. For the majority of our services, this just meant a little bit of scrambling to provision some extra capacity - enough to weather through the outage. The whole thing started to wind down a little after 11:15 PM. I slinked away from my computer and trudged down the stairs, finding Marissa in the kitchen. She had just finished doing the dishes, wiping down the microwave and stove, and cleaning out the fridge.

"You did my chores!" I said, a sense of relief washing over me.

"It was the least I could do," she said. "I didn't know how bad that one would be."

"It wasn't a terrible outage," I said. "Just had to quick slap together an extra server and stare at the graphs for a while," I said.

After incidents, we're encouraged to take some time the next day to re-cooperate. Honestly, I wasn't planning on it. Running a single command from my computer and staring at a dashboard for a little over an hour hardly felt like work, but my body disagreed. I woke up at 4 AM last night to a nasty back spasm, and if it weren't for the extra sleep padding my morning, I would have been a cold zombie at the computer today.

The name of the game today is moderation. Lots of stretching, lots of water, lots of breaks to stand up and walk around. Anything to appease the angry little monkey fist that is wringing at my back just behind my rib cage. I hate the back spasms, but they do have a funny way of moderating how much time I spend on the computer.

Sip. So good morning, everyone. How is your Thursday going, and how was your Wednesday? We had a nice day yesterday. After the regular work day, I made my way into the kitchen to prepare vegetable soup. Marissa and Rodney headed outside to paint the foundation of the house. Gingerly stepping over the rocky ground in my bare feet, I wandered along the side path to check on their progress.

"Oh I like it," I said, staring at the fresh band of color stretching halfway down the side of our house. "I see why you're doing this now. What you're painting over doesn't even look like a color."

The spot of the house Marissa was painting over looked like it was left their by accident. A gross, rusty green reddish tan color, like the wall of a forgotten cave or something that just washed up from the ocean. The dark grey color Marissa left with each swipe her roller was aesthetically pleasing, a welcomed change.

Meanwhile, Rodney occupied his time with two outdoor activities. He ran around the yard in a wide circle with his mouth open, and when he got tired, he'd return to his little hole he was digging in the grass, stabbing at it with his plastic bit to his toy power drill. He was wearing his stark bright red, white, and blue Captain America hoodie with a spider-man beanie pulled tight over his scalp. Something about his brightly colored garb, the way he was wildly running around the yard, and how his pale hairless forehead reflected the setting sun compelled us to teasingly call him quarantine boy.

2020 10 22 quarantine boy

"Thanks for keeping an eye on quarantine boy," I said. "Want me to take him inside?"

"Oh no problem," said Marissa. "Not quite yet. I can put up with him a little longer, but he's starting to lose interest."

Quarantine boy followed me into the house anyway, and I resumed making vegetable soup with broiled cheese bread. To make up for our scant cheese drawer, I resorted to just ripping up sandwich slices of provolone. To distract from the clashing flavors, I just added a few cracks of pepper and shakes of thyme. Not bad for some cheep sandwich cheese and a stale Hy-Vee baguette.

2020 10 22 cheese bread

After dinner, we made our way upstairs for the Wheaton college Zoom session. Our wandering conversation led us to movie Netflix recommendations. Dr. Ben was particular fired up about a documentary called My Octopus Teacher.

"It's about this film maker in South Africa who befriends an octopus while snorkeling," he explained. "He basically falls in love with the octopus. It's weirdly intimate. Almost erotic."

"You're exaggerating," said Beth, cutting him off with a gentle elbow to the rib. We laughed.

"OK," I said. "Marissa and I will watch it. I'll be the judge of what's going on with this guy and his octopus."

After the work incident, we only had enough time to watch about twenty minutes, but the breath taking photography and thoughtful story telling had us hooked. In the film, the writer mourns how he fumbled with his camera lens and scared the octopus away. He spends a week tracking the animal to its new den, and when the two are finally reunited...

"OK, I'm just going to say it," I laughed, pausing the movie. "This is romantic and beautiful. I see what Ben means now. It's kind of beautiful how he had to pursue his friend and prove his commitment, and she immediately came out of the den, like she missed him. Like she regretted fleeing."

I'm looking forward to finishing My Octopus Teacher. I promise, it's not as weird as we're making it seem. Give it a watch, and you'll see what I mean.

Thanks for stopping by today. Don't forget to stand up straight, stretch, and take breaks from the computer.