January 8, 2019

Back to the Grind

It's rather nice when Christmas falls on a Tuesday or Friday.  Typically, boss man gives us Christmas Eve off, then add in Christmas Day, Saturday, and Sunday, and you've got yourself a nice 4 day weekend. 

Even better, New Year's Day is the same, so we get to do the same 4 day weekend the following week.

The down side, of course, is that you've only got 3 days to take care of your workload, and getting five days worth of work done in three days is... well, challenging... but the spirit of the holidays usually helps, as folks know and understand that we're not going to be working on Christmas. 

Had a bit of a scare this year, however: On Friday, 21 December, around 4:30 pm, the Hyper-V Host server at one of our bigger clients decided to shut down.  And by shut down, I mean "Shut down like someone pulled both power cords from the back of the server" shut down. 

Not a graceful shutdown.  No sir... Just *bam* you're powered off. 

They have the 24/7 Four Hour Support contract on this server, so if it requires parts or a vendor-certified technician, we have that going for us. 

So, after opening a support ticket with the vendor, I called the customer and made some arrangements with her to meet me at the office the next morning.  On Saturday, I went on site and followed the instructions from vendor support: Remove both power cables, press and release the power button ten times, and on the eleventh push, hold it in for 30 seconds (I held it for 35 seconds, because I'm a rebel).  Then connect the power cables and turn it on. 

To my amazement, that actually worked, and the server powered back up. 

Both Hyper-V guest servers came back on line, and all was well with the world... No longer have to get parts and work on Sunday, or Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day rebuilding the thing.  It's a Festivus Miracle!

The strange thing is that all diagnostics came back clean, and that means I have no idea what caused the crash.  That sorta bothers me.

At any rate, those 4 day weekends are done, and now it's back to the normal 8-5, Mon-Fri grind. 

December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas to All

From me and mine, to you and yours, I wish a very Merry Christmas to you all.

Today has been pleasant, actually, for flying solo on Christmas day.  The Hounds actually let me sleep in late, until 0715 or thereabouts.  I let them out, made myself a pot of coffee using some really nice beans I picked up on Sunday at a local coffee shop.  Most days it's just Folger's, but Christmas morning calls for something better. 

Once the coffee kicked in, I cooked a breakfast of ham, eggs, hash browns, and toast, with orange juice and more coffee.

Took the dogs for a walk, and now I'm settled in with my book, some jazz in the background (never have been a big fan of Christmas music 24-7 during the holiday season... I don't mind it now and then, but it's all I've heard for WEEKS now, and I'm over it), and I suspect a nap is in order soon.

May the new year bring you love, peace, joy, and prosperity.

December 18, 2018

Things That Are NOT Going to Happen

Assorted requests from customers at work the past few days:

"We want to use this software, and here are the system requirements." 

OK... let's see.... 8 GB of RAM, that's no problem.  At least 500 GB hard drive, again no worries.  FTP access with port 22 open on the firewall?  Yeah, that's NOT going to happen.

"I'm having trouble getting remote access to a computer at another office.  I want you to give me the login information for the router so I can make changes."

Let me think about that.... No.

"Our staff doesn't want to have to enter a password for the staff WiFi, so just disable that and let us connect without a password."

How about no?

"Can you make me a domain administrator so I can install this cute font that I found on a website on all computers?"

Can I?  Yes, I can.  Will I?  Nope. 

"Just make my password something simple, like 123456."

Why, because you're not smart enough to remember a proper password?


Good lord, sometimes I hate working in this field.

December 6, 2018


Sorry for the lack of content.  Been busier than heck with work stuff.

Go read folks on the sidebar.  They write better stuff anyway.

November 21, 2018

A Fine Weekend in Texas

Last Saturday, I took the dogs to the kennel and hit the road to DEN for a flight.

Since, oh, 2005 or so, I've been a fairly regular speaker at the Texas EMS Conference, which rotates between Austin, Fort Worth, and Dallas (the first two being the most frequent).  I'm fortunate to count among my friends two members of the conference staff, and they've made it known, if not in so many words, that if I "submit something interesting, it will be selected". 

So then, the challenge is on me: Come up with something new and interesting. 

At any rate, I've been avoiding submitting for the past 5 years or so... I have been out of clinical medicine for so long, I don't feel like I have the credibility to speak on clinical topics.  Plus, in the years past, any spare money I happened to have was given to the wife for child raising expenses, and coughing up a spare thousand dollars or so to go to the conference simply was not going to happen.

But this year, I send in a couple proposals, and was selected for one of them: "Data Security in EMS". 

Thus, on Saturday, I caught a flight from DEN to DFW.  We were delayed getting airborne due to some freezing rain that was falling, necessitating the plane getting de-iced.  But eventually we took off, landed without incident 2 hours later, and my close friend Brian picked me up at the airport.  He offered to let me stay at his place on Saturday, so in return I picked up the tab for some sushi dinner and a couple beers.  We sat up somewhat late, catching up, shooting the bull, etc. 

Sunday, Brian dropped me off at a local cafe on his way to work, and I had a late breakfast (brunch, really) and then caught an Uber ride to DFW to meet friends Larry and his wife Kris, where we all three shared another Uber ride to the Fort Worth Hilton.  Here we met up with Gary, Jules, Donn, Kelly, the Other Gary, Stu, and a slew of other friends.  Got checked into the hotel, went over to get our conference credentials, did a short walk around the exhibit hall, and found a quiet spot for a few pints.  Donn was set up in the JFK Suite -- The Fort Worth Hilton is where President Kennedy spent his last night before he was assassinated, and Donn had reserved the Presidential Suite for the duration of the conference, so we all used that as a base camp for socializing. 

Sunday evening found us at The Capital Grille, a rather upscale place just adjacent to the hotel, and we feasted on some amazing food.  I had an appetizer of prosciutto wrapped mozzarella served with crostini bread, a porcini rubbed one in ribeye with 15 year aged balsamic, grilled asparagus with lemon mosto, and a couple glasses of wine. 

I saw the prices on the menu, and while I knew this was going to blow my food budget out of the water, the simple fact was that I did not care. 

This steak was DIVINE. 

Y'all, I was able to cut it with my fork. 

So, yeah, that dinner set me back about $140 all said and done, but sometimes a man has to treat himself. 

Turned in early Sunday, and got up Monday to give my presentation.  It went well, and I had some good audience interaction/participation -- from the few folks that showed up.  I estimated around 35 people, which was disappointing, but IT and Data Security isn't exactly an exciting topic, and we are talking about high-speed low-drag adrenaline junkies here, right? 

After my session ended, I grabbed some lunch, watched a few presentations from other friends, and we eventually found ourselves back at the JFK Suite for drinks.  Most of us went to Riscky's for barbecue, which was acceptable (decent, not great, but it was affordable and in walking distance), and then a handful of us went to Pete's Dueling Piano Bar for some singalong fun and last beers. 

Tuesday, the rest of my crew had classes to give or attend, but I had to head home.  I called for yet another Uber car, made it to DFW, and hopped a flight home.  After getting to DEN and collecting my bag, was but a short drive back home, where I got my dogs, unpacked, and fell asleep around 9pm, totally wiped out. 

It was a good time, and it's always nice to see my people. 

Thank you to the Texas EMS Conference for having me, and thanks to the wonderful City of Fort Worth for hosting us.  See ya next year.

November 8, 2018

Remember This Name

Sgt. Ron Helus (End of Watch, 11/8/2018). 

Remember his name. Not the shit-bag shooter.

Remember the name of the man who went TOWARD the danger, his gun in hand, trying to save the lives of innocent people.

Sgt. Ron Helus...

Remember his name.

November 6, 2018

Get Your Arse to the Polls

I'd never be so bold as to try to tell you for whom you should cast your ballot.  That's a level of arrogance even I can't reach.

But I will tell you that you should vote.  I don't want to hear excuses, or how it's a waste of your time, or that your vote doesn't matter.

Some of this country's finest men and women have died to protect your right to make your voice heard in our elections.  Make damn sure you honor their sacrifice by getting to the polling place and casting your ballot. 

To do less is to spit on the graves of the dead. 


October 26, 2018

Homeowner: 1 Thief: 0

I always like hearing stories like this.

An Oregon homeowner held a burglar at gunpoint last week after she caught him attempting to leave her house with stolen items, police said 
Authorities in Clackamas County responded to a burglary report at a home in Happy Valley, around 2:50 p.m. Oct. 18, Portland's Fox 12 Oregon reported. 
Responding officers found homeowner Dawn Lisa-DesVoigne holding the burglar at gunpoint. 

Another victory for responsible firearm ownership.

October 18, 2018

Red Wine and Cranberry Braised Short Ribs

This year at Blogorado, Farm Mom gave me a whack of beef from her stores as mentioned in the previous post.  I decided to thaw out some short ribs and have a go at them. 

Take the short ribs, and ensure they are thawed completely.  I left mine in the fridge for 4 days, and that was adequate. 

Bring them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature.  Salt and pepper the ribs liberally.  While that's going on, heat a couple tablespoons of oil in your cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. 

In a bowl, mix a can of cranberry sauce, a cup of red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon), and a beef bouillon cube.  Stir, and pop it into the microwave for a couple minutes so the cranberry sauce is no longer a solid, but rather mixes easily into the wine, making a liquid.  Add a can of sliced mushrooms.   

Turn on the oven to 325 F. 

Sear the beef short ribs in the skillet on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.  You'll likely have to hold them in place with some tongs to get all the sides seared.  That's fine, just don't squeeze them too hard. 

Once seared, pour the wine/cranberry mixture over the ribs, add a fairly generous shake or three of Rosemary and Thyme.  Put the lid on the cast iron skillet, and pop it into the oven. 

Find a way to spend the next 2.5 hours... Maybe go play 9 holes of golf, or take a quick trip to the range, burn through a couple boxes of ammo. 

After 2.5 hours, remove the skillet, turn the short ribs over, and put back into the oven for another 30 minutes. 

Serve with a side dish of your choice (I went with long grain wild rice), and drink the rest of the bottle of wine.