DevOpsDays Boston 2014

Just a quick post for this picture.


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Better late than never!

It’s been a long day.  Up at 4am US Eastern, it’s now 6:00pm US Pacific.  I just had dinner at the Hopyard, and now I’m back in my room trying to stay awake to adjust to the local time zone a bit.

I just flew in from Albany, and boy are my arms tired!

Ok, I’m done with the bad jokes, at least for now.

I wish I had more substance, but this is just going to be one of those days where I simply meet the bare minimum requirement of a Blaugust post.  I’m exhausted, to put it lightly.  Cross country flights really take it out of you.  I was about to post my short story, but…still saving that one for a truly rainy day.

I hope everyone had a great evening, and I will do my best to make up for this short post in the next day or two.


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I believe I can fly…

The day before traveling is always an odd one for me.

I love to fly, and aviation in general, so there’s excitement.  There’s the dread of having to deal with airlines, people, cramped quarters, delays, and every other irritant, large and small, that comes with flying.

I’ve pretty much got security figured out, in that I make sure I’m squared away before walking through that detector.  It’s really not that hard.  Of course, now that I’ve said that, I’ll probably be “randomly” selected for some screening or another, but it won’t be because I’ve got to go through the scanner 15 times because of, “Oh, that’s just my phone in my pocket, I have to take that out too?” idiocy that I see all too frequently.

The Residence Inn I like to stay at is an 8 minute walk to the office, and a 3 minute walk to The Hopyard, which I really enjoyed the last time I went (good food, good beer), so the sting of being away from home is lessened a bit by that bit of happiness.

The second part of this trip, I’ll be in downtown San Francisco for Chef training.  Note, I”m not learning too cook.  Well, I am, but not food.

Then it’s a Friday night red eye flight to get home Saturday morning, spend the day with the family, and then it’s off to a conference in Boston for a few days.

So back to today.  I’ve got a blog post to wrap up, packing to do, grass that needs to be mowed, a BBQ to attend, then home early so I can just sit and recharge a bit before launching into the upcoming week and a half.

Dear United Airlines, what is up with the seat selection fuckery?  When I booked my flights almost a month ago, and selected my seats, the only ones you showed available were, of course, the Economy Plus seats that cost extra.  So, I picked one of them, I didn’t exactly have a choice.  I’ve got my travel confirmation email from my work travel department clearly showing my seat assignment.

Then I go to check in this morning, and of course, I have no seat assigned for this flight.  I swear, if I don’t get an aisle seat…

So I click to pick out a seat, again, and of course, this time, there are now 4 seats available in regular economy (my previously selected seat is showing as available, and ONLY an additional $42 for a flight of less than an hour).  So I select my economy seat, as that is all that I can reimburse, and at least I still have an aisle seat, which is really the only thing I wanted.

I’d be a bit ticked if all that was left was middle.



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Random Thoughts

I’ve got nothing really inspiring a post today, so it’s…


Last night, my awesome wife took me to Browns Brewing for dinner (and my free birthday flight of beer samples), and then afterward we went downstairs to the Malt Room.

Let me just say, if you enjoy a good craft beer, and have never had a cask unconditioned ale, you MUST make the effort to go try one.  Last night I had the Porter with Toasted Applewood.  It was amazing.

My latest adventure in Eve is progressing nicely.  I’ve never before had to do so many logistical things before accepting an invitation to a guild/corporation.  Just another indication of how different Eve is.

It’s also amusing to note that it appears that killing myself (after taking the proper steps to prepare, of course) is the quickest and easiest way to join my new Corporation in their home location.

I keep seeing the latest brouhaha over Facebook Messenger in my feed.  Everyone should be up in arms over this, but the fact is, if you’re this upset about Facebook Messenger, then you need to go through your phone and other devices, and take just as close a look at those as well, because Facebook isn’t the only one requesting these permissions, it’s only the most visible.

As usual, Snopes seems to have the most comprehensive take on the whole thing.



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This one time, at band camp…

I love Band Camp.

Ok, it’s not that kind of band camp.  There’s this completely awesome, totally amazing, stunningly attractive rock/pop duo, Rich and Melanie, who call themselves Sirsy, and they make some phenomenal music.  They are also two of the most amazing people you’d ever want to meet.  Friendly, outgoing, and welcoming, you can tell that they genuinely LOVE their fans.

Every once in a while, they put on a band camp, where you can sign up to go to their place, along with 16-20 other people, and make a video of one of their songs.  It’s a couple hours of learning and rehearsing, culminating in a couple complete playthroughs of the song, between which the final cut is put on a video for everyone to enjoy.

There have been two band camps so far, with more on the way.  I fully intend to make it to every one, they’re just that much fun.

Sirsy Band Camp 1 – Killer

Sirsy Band Camp 2 – Revolution

Now, Sirsy is local to the Albany, NY area, but they are truly working musicians.  They do this for a living.  They are almost always on the road, and have even gone to SXSW and fully across the country to play.  I can’t recommend these two enough.  Check out their music, please, they’re on iTunes and Google Music, for sure, and probably other music services as well.  If they end up playing near you, go see them!

Keep up to date with Sirsy on their site, @sirsy on Twitter, and their Facebook page.

Keeping with todays theme of music, I’m a metal head.  I grew up in the heyday of 80′s Heavy Metal (you’re damned right I capitalize that).  Ever since my mom bought me Ozzy’s Bark at the Moon for Christmas in 1983, I’ve been hooked on metal.  For as long as I can remember now, any time the subject of favorite bands come up, my litany of greatness is always “Ozzy,  PriestMaiden“.

A few years later, I picked up a guitar for the first time, and I was hooked.

Long story short (for now), I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I have 2 guitars, a Marshall half stack, and gear that I could only dream of owning when I was a teen.  Yet, I sit here, and stare at them just hanging on the wall.


Look, I’ve never considered myself good.  I can hold a decent rhythm, but I”ve never been able to play fast (or shred).  I can’t figure out what I’m missing that makes me not pick them up when I’m sitting here thinking, I want to play…

It’s as easy as lifting my ass out of the chair, walking over, picking up either one (although the white one needs to be set up again), plugging it in, and turning it on.  They’re 10 feet away from me right now.  Yet I haven’t touched either one since the last Sirsy Band Camp.




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I love good beer.

This hasn’t always been the case.  I used to be the guy who went to the store, and grabbed the 30 pack cans of Coors Light for $18.  Then, unless I had someone over for beer and pizza one weekend, it would last a month and a half.  When it ran out, I’d go without any beer in the fridge for a while, unless I had a reason to get some.  It would take a while for me to get to the point where I’d think to buy more.

Then there was the craft beer boom.  It happened at about the same time as that I discovered that I really enjoyed *good* beers.  It started with Browns Brewing and their Cherry-Raz Ale.  It is awesome.  It’s my birthday routine, now.  Browns Brewing, a free, birthday flight of 6 samplers, all with Cherry-Raz (although this year I may switch the flight up), and then the hickory burger, with the Cherry-Raz BBQ.  I’m getting hungry thinking about it.  Another change for my birthday this year, I plan on going downstairs to the Browns Malt Room, where they serve unconditioned cask ales.  I had their Oatmeal Stout there once, and while I love the regular version, the cask version was amazing.  The only way I can think to describe it, it tasted just like you’d expect, except even better.

Now, I”ve tried so many different styles from so many different breweries.  I have the Untappd app on my phone, and I try to keep up with using it, although sometimes I forget.  I have discovered a love for the dark beers, especially whiskey/bourbon barrel stouts and porters.  Another amazing beer that kicks you in the mouth when you take a sip (seriously, I could only drink one as a dessert after my meal) is the Adirondack Brewery and Pub Double Mashed Oatmeal Stout.  Seriously…liquid dessert you had to sip, but the explosion of flavors…amazing.  I can’t find it on their site, so it must be somewhat rare.

I’ve seen references to Beer Camp on the internet.  A 12 pack put together by Sierra Nevada that contains 12 different beers from 12 different breweries.  Apparently, it was in high demand.  I had tried to find it around here, and had no luck.  Until yesterday.

I’m still debating on how to drink these beers.  They’re definitely going to wait until after my upcoming trip for work.

On Sunday, I’m headed out to San Ramon, CA for work again.  Next to the hotel where I’m staying, there is The Hopyard.  I’ve eaten there on previous visits to San Ramon, and the food was very good, and they have a large beer selection.  I’m looking forward to returning on this visit.

Speaking of traveling for work, I’ll be in San Ramon, CA from Sun – Wed, then downtown San Francisco for training Thurs – Fri.  I’m catching a red-eye Friday night back to NY, home for a day, then back on a plane that Sunday for Boston, returning home that Wed.

I intend to do my absolute best to post while I’m traveling, and I’m going to do some drafts ahead of time, especially for the travel days.  It’s going to be a tough week and a half, though.


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Blending In

Tuesday, August 5, 2014.  It’s day 5 of Blaugust.  So far, the natives have not reacted to my presence, and seem to have accepted me as one of their own.  This tribe of bloggers is quite friendly, and some have openly welcomed me in the manner that they prefer, by putting comments here in my own journal.   Their own writing has affected me already as well.  Right off the bat on day one, MissyMojo wrote a post that immediately struck a cord in me.  In commenting back to her, I feel like I already made a connection to someone.  Because of this, my own writing is becoming easier, and I’m finding thoughts to type much easier than I thought I would.

My only regret is that I don’t have near enough time to read all the blog entries from everyone.


In new gaming news, thank you Seanxxp for your post that triggered my Eve withdrawals.  I have resubbed my Eve account, killed my alts as unnecessary distractions, and am trying to work through the career agents again to get back up to speed, prior to applying to join BraveNewbies, which I hope to do soon.

I’ve tried Eve a couple times, and it is a game that I want to love.  Except, I’ve never really played it the way it MUST be played, which always resulted in me getting bored, and quitting.  You can’t play Eve like another MMO.  In most MMO’s (and games in general) death is something to be avoided at all costs.  It’s the ultimate penalty for not playing well.  In Eve, you must embrace death (the loss of your ship, and possibly your clone).  Accept it, and you will be set free.  Don’t fly what you can’t afford, and fly what you do buy like you stole it, and bonus points if you did steal it!

This is the mindset I’m trying to find in it.  The good thing is, everything is familiar enough that, when I do have some time to run through the beginner missions, I’m tearing through them fairly quickly as everything comes back to me.


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Press 1P to Start

I’ve been a gamer for a long time.  I’ve usually kept my gaming persona separate from my real life internet presence, and to an extent, I’ll continue to do so. While I’m blogging under my real name, it’s not difficult to backtrack these to figure out my gaming name (which I’ve been using consistently since the original Team Fortress Quake mod came out in 1996).

Even before that, though, I started on the BBS scene back in 1993.  My first computer was a Packard Bell 486SX (the “SX” stands for sucks) with a 2400 baud modem.  My early gaming consisted mainly of the games on Prodigy and AOL.  On AOL, the “gaming” I found was just basic chat room word games.

And then…there was DooM.

I remember downloading the shareware release from a local BBS the moment they put it up for download (and I could get through, of course).  From that moment on, gaming was changed forever.  Not just for me, but for everyone who liked to play computer games.

And then came Quake.

This really was the beginning for me.  Another amazing game.  While Doom had the ability for players to create content, and they did, Quake was the first game in which it really took off.  I believe a lot had to do with the timing.  The internet was growing quickly beyond the walled gardens of the Prodigys’ and Compuserves’ of the time.  People were getting true, unfettered internet access, discovering just how much was on the other side of those walls, and learning how to game.

The Quake mod that turned me into a gamer forever was Quake Team Fortress.  The first red vs. blue team shooter with objectives, rotating maps, and a scorecard at the end of each match.  I couldn’t get enough.  I LOVED playing TF.  Everything about it was compelling.  The different classes, the different maps, just being on a server with 15 other people, 8 of which were trying to kill you and take your flag as you tried to kill them and take your flag, and it was all happening in true 3D.

It’s only natural that, from that, teams (clans) and leagues formed.  For me, this was the heyday of gaming.  Nothing has ever approached the purity of Team Fortress since.  I made many friends playing in a few different clans, Phoenix (split from Demolition Squad), Iron, and The Taken, and once organized, played in the Iron Glove League.  A core group of us still hang out together on IRC.

I received positive comments on my short story post idea.  I typed up one real quick, pretty much off the top of my head, on Friday.  So now I need to let it sit for a few more days, before I go back and read it again, but it exists, and I think I’m going to save it for an, “Oh shit I forgot to post and I’m about to miss a day of Blaugust!” moment.


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Cranking Them Out

Day by day, I am conquering Blaugust!

Day three.  It’s a weekend, Sunday, the hardest day of the week to find the inclination, much less time, to sit down long enough to bang something like a blog post out.  If a Saturday post is flirting with the minimum requirements of a valid Blaugust post, then Sunday posts are going to ride that line one handed while letting loose a banshee wail that could wake the dead.

Hell, that’s all of 4 sentences there, and with this one, I’m only halfway through.

Ok, but I don’t want to give the impression of cheating my way through Blaugust, even on a Sunday, so let’s see what I can dredge up here.

I’ve often thought that I’d like to write, as in, an author of fiction.  The tools available to use for writing are countless these days, with numerous software packages, both free and paid, to choose from.

Would an attempt at a (very) short story count as a post?


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Insert coin to continue…

This is my current gaming state.

To explain, all the games I’ve tried lately, I’ve dropped my initial coin in, played a bit, and now I need to drop another coin to keep playing (the monthly subscription), and suddenly, no matter how much or little time I’ve spent playing that game, any desire to log in disappears.

I’ve got a few of the free to play MMO’s still installed, and I keep them installed, telling myself that I can log in anytime I want and play. Which is true, of course. Now, I just need to find the desire to play them.

I think I might simply be done with MMO’s. It’s been too long of a ride, and I think I simply just can’t get into a game that requires that much of a commitment, both in time and money.

Here’s my recent MMO history:

Didn’t even make it through the initial month.  Cancelled even before the free month ended.

This seemed promising, but I felt like I hit the mid-level slog at about level 12 on every character I tried. I tried every class, and each one, it was the same thing. I hit the 12-15 level range, and there was nothing about any character, story line, or…anything, that inspired me to return.  Paid for first month after the free month expired, now deactivated, and expires 8/17.

After a while of not playing, I turned this account on for a month, and spent a little time here again. Started out ok, in that when I didn’t have time to play, I occasionally wished I had the time. Lately though, this too has fallen off my radar.  Deactivated again, and expires 8/4.

Nothing ever lasted as long as original Everquest.


I got some great deals in the Steam Summer Sale. I picked up enough games that, at my current rate of play, I’m probably set until next years Summer Sale. Still, not even my single player and non-MMO multiplayer games are immune from my lack of desire to game. I look at my Steam Library most days, and I simply don’t feel inspired to play.

Even worse, more and more games that I pick up, I’ll start, and then never finish. I’ll look at the game in my Library, and for whatever reason, I simply can’t bring myself to start it. Next thing I know, it’s a month later, and I haven’t touched it once.

So, long story short, I expect my posts to have the least gaming related content of those participating in Blaugust.

Now, all THAT being said…last night I was skimming through the other Blaugust entries, and after reading this post from Seanxxp, I watched A Tale of Internet Spaceships, and now I have the urge to re-install Eve.  The last time I logged into that was when Incarna was released.  Eve is that game where the idea of it is amazing, but so far, I never found my niche in that universe, and kept ending up bored.  Maybe this time, it could be different?



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