Wednesday, January 12 2022

dog agility, a kvm switch, and tornados

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Wednesday. Outside it looks like winter, but this morning when I stepped outside in my bathroom and sandals to warm up the car for Marissa and Rodney, I wasn't met with the typical bone chilling cold. Today is a weirdly balmy day for early January, but I'll take what I can get.

Not to brag, but free pre-commute car warm-ups are just one of the services I provide in my deluxe morning package. The short walk to the car in my bathrobe and flip-flops feels kind of invigorating. It's like a cup of coffee that precedes the real cup of coffee. Speaking of which, grab your coffee and let's have a toast to Wendesday.

Sip. I'm in a good mood today, and I have all kinds of reasons to be feeling good. My on-call shift ends, and not only do I have a day off this Friday, but I forgot about our good friend Martin Luther King Junior which we celebrate on Monday. We've got a long holiday weekend on the horizon - a small break from work to reward us for bravely facing the first few weeks of the new year.

What are you going to do during the holiday weekend? Rodney, Miles, and I may be attending Ollie's next agility trial. Ollie is only one double qualifying run away from achieving his first championship title, so long as he really turns the gas on. Marissa explained to me that he needs one more mistake-free run, and he also needs to earn twenty-six points, which are calculated from the time it takes him to finish the run. "He usually gets about twenty-three points from a run, but sometimes he hustles and gets more."

The Preferred Agility Champion (abbreviated PACH) marks 750 total points and 20 total double qualifying runs. Marissa and Ollie have been working at this since he was a puppy, and how do you celebrate such an accomplishment?

"So what's next?" I asked, feeling like a dog agility beat reporter. "Retirement? A break? Another title?" Only time will tell, for now Ollie is just focused on bringing the PACH home to Madison this weekend.

I may also use the long holiday weekend to begin rebuilding my perfect datacenter. I put in a request to the family treasury for the first piece of new equipment - a KVM switch and a miniature 10 inch LCD monitor. So far, when I've needed to troubleshoot a server, I've made due with yanking the family computer monitor off the wall, digging out my only working VGA cable from my parts bin, and wrestling the cable into place, asking forgiveness for all the profanities uttered in between. But a KVM switch allows you to hook up multiple computers to a single monitor and keyboard, letting you switch between machines at will - a huge improvement in ease and efficiency.

I spent $28 on a new KVM switch, and it arrived yesterday. But the solid construction and high quality black steel made me feel like something was amiss. I checked the listing again and sure enough, amazon had goofed on the price. The machine I bought was changed to $288 dollars. I've heard a few stories of people capitalizing off a misplaced decimal point on an Amazon listing, but I'd never thought I'd be that lucky myself.

And not only was the price wrong, but they sent me the wrong item as well. The machine I ordered supported connections to eight different servers. The machine I took out of the box had sixteen ports in the back - an absolute monster.


Surely this has to be some kind of sign. This type of luck with the first purchase of the new build tells me the perfect server rack is possible, now go follow your dreams. Maybe this is the universe telling me I need to think about running sixteen different servers.

We had better change topics before I talk about computers for the rest of this entry. Let's talk about kids, and what Rodney is up to. Lately, he's become fixated on tornados. He asked Marissa about them the other night before bed. She wisely comforted him and brushed the scary topic aside. "You don't have to worry about them, we never get them here," she said.

Rodney asked me a few days later before bed. "Oh, definitely dude," I said. "Check this out." Needless to say, I didn't pick up on his fear and anxiety around the topic. I honestly thought he was just interested in tornados strictly as a meteorological phenomenon. If I knew he was scared, I certainly wouldn't have let him watch twenty minutes of Storm Chasers on my phone just before bed.

Unsurprisingly, Rodney had all kinds of questions.

"What if the tornado breaks our car?" he asked.

"Well, that happens sometimes. We'd have to go get a new car," I replied.

"Do they have places with new cars where they keep them safe?" he asked.

I went on to tell him about the time I saw a tornado from a distance while driving on the highway. "The sky was yellow, can you imagine that?" I asked. Rodney stared back at me, unblinking, too scared to shake his head.

I tried to quell his worries by informing him that not all tornados are a big deal. "Sometimes there are small ones that you don't have to worry about," I said. But Rodney's imagination went running again, and he mistook the idea of small tornados for ones that can sneak into your house through open windows or the cracks around doors.

Since I petrified him, the topic of tornados has come up a few more times. Marissa tells me that Rodney was wondering how we'd be able to get all the dogs into the basement, and how we would keep them there. It seems like once Rodney learns about a new type of danger, he carries the burden of preparedness in the way only an oldest child would. "Hey, you're just a kid, dude," I reminded him. "You don't have to figure any of this out. If a tornado happens, just do what we tell you."

Following my suggestion, Marissa doodled a googly eyed smiling tornado on his lunch napkin. We wondered if we could add some whimsy to his fascination, but instead we just found ourselves laughing in the kitchen picturing him at school finding a small tornado in his lunch. Marissa crumpled up the napkin and drew a friendly dog instead.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by today, have a great Wednesday, everybody.