Friday, January 1 2021

libations, rack hardware, and my 2021 resolutions



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Dear Journal,

Good evening, everyone. Happy new year, and welcome to 2021. Today I toast to dim lights, cozy blankets, and children's programming. We took pretty much the whole day to recover from last night's libations, and sitting down to write I just realized that it's only Friday. How great is that timing? Getting a whole day to recover before heading into a long weekend makes for a generous fresh start to 2021.

Sip. How were your New Year's eve celebrations? I hope you got into just the right amount of trouble in the safety of your home. Mine and Marissa's night really began when we cracked into our bottle of champagne while looking through all the photos we took this past year. As we imbibed, we laughed stupidly, cried liberally, and had so much fun reliving this crazy year that we forgot to countdown to midnight.

After champagne, we relocated to the dining room for a game of high stakes Battleship. Grinning, I set a bottle of Apple brandy on the table. "A shot for every boat that sinks," I cackled.

The next thing I remember, I quickly lost four boats in a row. We ordered Mexican takeout from a place neither of us had ever heard of, and the rest of the night was pretty much a hedonistic blur of brandy, salt, and nacho cheese.

This morning, the new year's day hangover was in full effect. I sat up in bed with a throbbing headache and the sensation that I had a brick of Mexican flavored road salt clumped in my stomach. But I remembered the promise I had made in passing to Marissa and Rodney to make oliballen in the morning. As we all know, hangover law is unflinchingly rigid when it comes to breakfast. Hangovers be damned, my comrades needed me.

Luckily, Oliballen batter is very simple. Throwing the milk, sugar, egg, and flour into a bowl made for the perfect warmup task for my aching brain. I even had just enough time to hide some of last night's crime scene before Rodney came downstairs to join me at is usual 9:30 AM hour. He came rambling down the stairs just as I was putting Battleship away.

"Battleship?" asked Rodney. "Dada were you playing?"

"Yeah dude," I said. "Momma and I were playing last night. Daddy lost so I... uh, had to spin the Wheel Unfornate."

Cradling Miles, Marissa tip-toed down the stairs behind Rodney. "Dude, Momma is still spinning the Wheel Unfortunate right now."

We sat in silence at the dining room table, sipping coffee, polishing off sugary donuts. Rodney, noticing that I had taken the bandaid off my finger, broke the silence.

"Oh my gosh," he exclaimed. "It's so gross."

"Oh yeah dude, check it out," I said, holding my hand near him for a closer look.

The finger is healing up nicely. I've ditched the uncomfortable bandaid. I can shower and gingerly wash my hands. The swelling has subsided, and now it kind of looks like just some low-budget movie makeup on my finger.

Before all the celebrations started yesterday, Marissa and I managed to get some exciting work done in my office. I used my cut of Christmas money to order the rest of the parts for our home datacenter upgrade, the 24 port POE switch and final shelf arrived yesterday.

Here's the before shot. All the equipment was just kind of thrown on top of floating shelves.

2021 01 01 before

While Marissa took down the shelves and made an ethernet cable, I moved the router parts into a new slim rack case. I handed the finished unit to her so she could screw it in place. She noticed my two L and W stickers on the back, designating the LAN and WAN network interfaces.

2021 01 01 stickers

"So I should definitely like switch these stickers around?" she said, playfully grabbing at one.

Before I realized she was joking, I flinched. "Oh my gosh," I sighed. "Yeah of course - it's really simple to figure it out. We would only need to take everything out again so I can plug in a monitor and a keyboard."

This was the first time I've committed to real rack server hardware. I had my hesitations about the upgrade. Unlike most people I work with, by the time I got to the IT business the cloud was already in full force, and I never had to punch a clock in a real datacenter. I have little life experience to draw from while working with some of this stuff. What if I the pieces didn't fit together? What if we took down the entire setup just to learn we were still missing parts? I was grateful to have Marissa there. She may not know what anything does, but she's handier and more dextrous than I am. Together, we were like the parable where the lame man directs the blind man where to go while he carries him on his back.

"And it's done," laughed Marissa.

"Really?" I said in shock. "That's it?"

"Yeah," she laughed. "I bet you're kind of having a moment like I did when I started ordering pre-made float frames. It's amazing when you use something like it was intended, and you don't have to slap it together yourself."

Here's the datacenter now.

2021 01 01 after

As advertised, the racks fit together beautifully. It was easy to hide cables and still make connections. In the next iteration, I have my eye on that mess of parts on the top shelf. Now that I'm sold on the rack mounted lifestyle, getting everything into a rack case is top priority.

I'll close with my 2021 resolutions. I've put a lot of thought into these, and I wanted to share them here so the readers out there can keep me honest.

  1. Beef Up the Family Cookbook. We ended 2020 with 19 recipes in the public Recker Family Cookbook. In 2021, I'd like to double it. I added oliballen this morning, so we're off to a good start.
  2. Live Programming. I'm committing to making at least 12 live streams of myself working at the computer. I work on side projects constantly, and it has unintentionally become kind of a secret alternate life. In 2021, I'd like to be a more social programmer. I'm going to start working on YouTube live streams to welcome questions and other fun interruptions.
  3. Stable Sleep Pattern. I'd like to start waking up at the same time every day. I love the mornings. I do my best work and thinking before the rest of the house wakes up and I'd like to take advantage of it this year.
  4. Cardio. This year I'm going to try to figure out how to mix in some cardio into my weekly routine. I've loved getting in quick workouts in the evening, so I'd like to bring the same balance and convenience to things like running and skateboarding.

That's what I got today. Let's have a great year, everyone.