28 September, 2008

It seems I have upset someone.  I upset her because I wanted to break up.  I was not happy with the relationship.  I clearly laid out what I was dissatisfied with in the relationship, and how I wanted to see it resolved.  When it became clear to me that it was not going to change, I set one last deadline.
In the past, I have always given more and more chances.  I swear to god I feel like Charlie Brown.
And she would apologize profusely while I lay there and felt like the dumbest son-of-a-bitch to ever walk the earth.
Because I knew better.  I really did.
And she would swear that next time it would be different.
And I WANTED it to be different.
I wanted to believe the dream; the fantasy.
And so, though I knew better, I would make another run at the football.
For the longest time, though, I haven’t even really tried to believe.  I had some belief left in me, but I didn’t cultivate it.  I just let her keep promising to make it better.  And I didn’t really expect her to change.  I was never surprised when the same shit happened over and over again.  It didn’t even really upset me any more.  I just let my hope wither and die.

But it upset me was that she wanted to always talk about it, and I had long ago said everything I needed to say about it.  I had already heard everything I needed to hear.  I didn’t need to hear any more reasons why I should wait longer.  It didn’t matter if they were excuses, reasons, or outright lies.
All that mattered to me was that the situation was intolerable and it wasn’t changing.  What is to talk about?  I hate the fucking phone.
She won’t let me get off the phone.  She won’t say good-bye.  So I say, "I am going to hang up now, good-bye" and still she won’t say good-bye.  So I hang up.  So she calls me back and bitches at me for hanging up on her.
Which provokes another hangup, of course.  Yeah, there’s nothing mature about either side of it at that point.  All I can do is not answer the phone or else I am forced to hang up on her.
And still she insists on calling me incessantly over and over again.  I don’t want to talk on the phone, I said.  If you want to talk, come over and we can talk face to face.
She never shows up.  And that is the crux of what I have issues with.  I need a woman who is with me, not one that just promises to be with me.
When I won’t talk she calls over and over again, hijacking my phone so I can’t use it.
I made the mistake once of giving her my work phone number.  She was driving cross country, and my cell was dying, so I wanted her to be able to call me.
Now she does the same thing to me when I am at work.  She called maybe fifty times today.  I told her it was inappropriate.  She threatened to call my boss, and told me it was my fault she was acting the way she acts.
I have made it clear that I want to break up.  Her response?  "No, that is unacceptable to me"  Holy shit it is almost laughable.  Each day I come home and have to check for dead bunnies on my stove.
I should never have let it go on this long.
I should never have rewarded her tenacity in the first place.  In the past I have always acquiesced to her insistence psychosis.  I can’t do that any more.  I went ahead and bit the bullet and talked to my boss.  The very last time I gave in it was because she threatened to harass me at work.  I was shamed into giving her another chance because I didn’t want her to cause a scene at work.
I see now that there is no way she is going out with some dignity.
Today my work e-mail address got flooded with confirmation e-mails from gay porn sites asking me to confirm my subscription.
Classy, eh?
Anybody have any suggestions how I can get it through her head that it is over?
I am tired of the petty jealousies.  I am really sick to death of all the phone calls.  I am tired of waiting for something to happen that I have been pretty certain would never happen for a long time.   It’s never gonna change.  And I am not gonna waste another minute waiting on it to change. 
I feel like a loser and an addict.  I would rather be alone than be in this relationship.  And I hate being alone.  That is how toxic the relationship is.  I walked away from my dysfunctional family.  Now I just want to walk away from this codependent relationship.  And she keeps trying to drag me back.  And I keep letting her.
I am more tired of that than anything I have ever been tired of in my life.  I have to stop letting her

I will eviscerate you in text. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for all eternity.
   -Geoffrey Chaucer A Knights Tale
I wanna walk but I run back to you, that’s why
I hate myself for loving you .
I think of you ev’ry night and day.
You took my heart, then you took my pride away.
I hate myself for loving you .
   –Joan Jett

27 September, 2008

Big Spring Jam Weekend

Every fall Huntsville puts on a music festival called Big Spring Jam.  It is called a spring jam even though it happens in the fall because it takes place at Big Spring park, the place that has the drum circles.
Adtran was a sponsor this year, and they needed volunteers to man their booth.  It came with free admission to the shows on the day we worked.  I don’t really have much of a life outside of work, so I decided to volunteer.
On the day we were to have our meeting, last Thursday, I lost track of time debugging my program, and I missed the meeting.  I showed up right as the organizers were getting ready to leave.
They accepted my profuse apologies, gave me a t-shirt and a pass, and told me where to find the booth.  I don’t know a lot about the company, yet, but they didn’t mind.  All I would be doing is handing out free giveaways and answering any questions I could answer.  The fact that I was just a co-op was actually a good thing, because a lot of their new hires start out as co-ops while they are still in school. 
They also reminded me that I wasn’t ‘just a co-op’ but that I was a valuable member of the team.  It may just be toeing the party line, but it still made me feel good.
I volunteered for an extra night (Friday) because they needed one more person to work the late shift, and it gave me a chance to see Saving Abel and Shinedown Friday night.
I went and saw the bands.  I stayed back a ways so I didn’t have to mosh.  There was crowd surfing and other rock and roll antics, but I am too crotchety to get into a mosh pit any more.   But I worked my way up close enough to see the guitar work, which was quite impressive. 
I left a little before my shift so I could work my way back and stopped by a stage to watch a cover band who was singing some Blink 182 songs.  They got this little kid (12 or 13?) up on stage from the crowd to help them out in the last part of the All the Small Things and he rocked the house.   He even pointed the mic at the crowd so we could sing na na nana nana nanana.  It was awesome.
I showed up for my shift and introduced myself to everyone.  Then I got up front and started talking to the people that came by.  It was pretty fun.  We were handing out chapstick and flashlights and hand sanitizers.  Some people asked what they had to do with what we did.  Usually I said something banal like pointing out they were just giveaways, but sometimes I would quip that it was just too expensive to hand out computer equipment, and once I said the chapstick came in handy because we were always kissing up to AT&T.  That got a good laugh.
I answered a lot of questions from college students and other people who came up to talk.  I used to do stuff like this when I was a recruiter, but I hated that job.  This is a lot better, because I have absolutely no qualms with Adtran or what it does.  Also because there was absolutely no hard selling like they wanted me to do in recruiting.  I didn’t have to convince people they should join Adtran.  I just talked.
And you might not know this but I can run like the wind, because I am so deathly shy, but sometimes I can be very charming.  I think I was flirted with quite a bit, but I did not want to flirt back, not only because I was a representative of Adtran but also because I am still in a (long distance?) relationship with someone.  I hate long distance, but I still respect the boundaries, even though she thinks I don’t.
But it made me realize that the relationship really needed to evolve.  I’ve been lonely too long.
And Kenny Rogers singing in the background didn’t help.

Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases.
~Theodor Billroth
Every gambler knows that the secret to survive is
Knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep

The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

**Friday they had Styx, last night they had Kansas and .38 Special.  Tonight they have Loving Spoonful and Three Dog Night.  It’s like a time warp!   (But, sadly, no Meatloaf) 
(Cookies and milk to any who get the reference…)

26 September, 2008


This has been a relatively good week, if I take everything into perspective.  The sun rose and I woke up every day.  That is much better than the alternative, I think.*
I have had many opportunities this week to feel less than adequate, mentally.  It is always hard for me.  I am not going to say that people have made me feel stupid, because I know only I can do that, but there are some personalities that I seem to clash with.
I work with one man from whom I must ask instructions often, and he is always very curt and gruff with me.  I try to repeat back to him what I think he has said so I can be sure I understand the procedure (active listening, right?) and he seems to snap at me; interrupting me to tell me how wrong I am instead of letting me finish to see if I have understood anything at all.  It makes me feel like he thinks I don’t understand anything and that he has to repeat everything from the beginning.  It is insulting and not an efficient method of instruction.
I have been in a class in which we were learning how to do some things with a command line interface which most of my coworkers have been doing with a GUI for quite some time.  The speed with which the information was presented made it somewhat difficult for me to follow, not because I couldn’t understand the terminology, but because I don’t yet have a good grasp of the big picture.  I always find it difficult to process details until I have a bird’s eye view of the problem.  I like to do the frame first when I build a jigsaw.  And I refer to the picture on the box often.
So, though I understand why it wasn’t clicking with me, it still left me feeling a little slow.  Though I know that Lloyd is like that with everyone, it still left me feeling like he thought I was stupid.
It is hard for me to feel stupid.  My ability to think and learn and communicate are the last things I have that I could point at and at which  I could say that I was consistently above average.  It helped me stave off the feelings of failure that I have accumulated in much of the rest of my life. 
I did make some breakthroughs in the things I was doing.  I had enough brilliant moments to be able to remember that I wasn’t stupid; I did enough good things to remember I wasn’t a failure.  I am not sure why this week felt harder than normal.  I am not sure why I dislike myself more or why I feel this futility.
I just know that I do.  And I find myself staring at it like some sort of alien life form that has infested my biosphere, because I know that it does not belong in my heart.  It is not natural. 
Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan: I don’t want to be the sexy science lady.Special Agent Seeley Booth: And I don’t want to be the sexy FBI guy, Bones.  But we can’t change who we are.
–Booth, Bones
How could you let them spy on me?
Well they were clever Leonard.  They exploited my complete lack of interest in what you were doing.
–Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory

And you run and you run
To catch up with the sun
But it’s sinking

Time, Pink Floyd
*The thought of not waking up does not bother me.  Death holds no sting for me.  I figure there is more to my existence after this life.  I look forward to the next chapter.  Not so much that I want to skip ahead, mind you, but I won’t lament it when it comes. 
And, if I am wrong, and this life is all there is, then I will have no conscience with which to form regrets for the things I have not done, will I? 
Regrets come when we contemplate our mortality, not when we experience it.

Week Six

Lloyd showed me how to build a mesh, but I had trouble getting upstream to work. 
Put ADSL cards where combo cards would go if we had combo cards that worked.  The combo cards code is still broken, and we don’t know when it will be fixed.
Pam is working mostly on the TA 3000, so I get to run with the TA5000 for a bit.
Continued working the PPPoE emulations; got them all to establish and ran traffic (minus ones and twos) acrosss all ports
TCL class with Thom from Agilent; very brief intro to TCL, and then API specific.  Hard for me to follow a lot of it, since I can’t really visuallize what the GUI would do with the CLI arguments.  I’ll have to have them both open while I test my scrips so I can see what is going on.
TCL class with Thom from Agilent.  Scripting is sort of a dirty way to code, it seems.  I kept wanting to get a good flowchart of my program before I started coding, and they all just started coding.  I am pretty sure it is because they have built so many with the GUI before that they don’t need to pre-plan what they would do; I know I would miss many steps if I didn’t pre-plan my attack.
Started working on a script that ties all the DHCP scripts together and establishes only the emulations and streams for which we have DHCP. 
Thom showed me that in order to get upstream to work, I had to edit the stream group properties and enable Stream IDS.
A lot of the ports are not binding / establishing now, for some reason.  Thom had said in class that sometimes the GUI gets bloated over time.  I will write my script to establish a new session each time or at least reset the old session.
Added Vlan and Ctag start and end data for PPPoE and DHCP to the spreadsheet to reference while writing the code so I wouldn’t have to keep doing math while I was trying to script.
Had trouble passing variables to other scripts when I called them.  I am trying to establish the session and configure all the N2X ports as well as constants (traffic packet length, number of clients per port, etc) in a parent script, and then call child scripts to configure just the card specific data (starting port, MAC address, et al) but cannot get the child script to read the variables I am trying to pass regarding client and server ports.  Talked at length with Mike and he taught me a bit about building namespaces and exporting procedures in TCL.  Did some research, learned about uplevel and upvar.
I think I need to rewrite the base scripts, though, to make them far more modular.  The start date has been pushed back til the end of October, so there is time.

20 September, 2008

The Republicans have long insisted that the existence of regulations and oversight, not the lack there-of, was the albatross around the neck of the economy.  The deregulation of industry has long been touted as the backbone of lasseiz faire capitalism. 
Even after the the debacle of Enron (a Texas based company, while GW was Governor of that state…), they insisted this.  Even after the cankered practices of these plunderbunds caused a devastating energy crisis in California, they shouted ‘hands off the economy.’ 
Even when it was shown how the Enron traders were laughing about the poor old ladies trying to pay their electric bill, they shouted that the market could police itself.  Even after the CEOs of these corrupt organizations took huge exit bonuses while their workers saw millions of dollars in pensions go down the drain, Republicans worked to deregulate even more.
I think the invisible hand of the market was inside these guys’ pants, jerking them off.
Capitalism doesn’t work right any more.  But that is for another rant. 
I will not blame this on banks for giving bad loans to the little guy.  If they want to take risks with their money, so be it.  I will not defend the masses for trying to live an inflated lifestyle.  This country is decadent in its desire to live above its means, and Madison Avenue tries its best to keep it that way.  The banks and credit card companies have long since made their money on late fees.  The practices feed on each other.  Everyone in the country knew that we were extended, both as individuals and corporations. 
The problem happened when they started trading these risky loans as though they were not risky. 

19 September, 2008

Minor activism rewarded

It is such a little thing, really, but it is still rewarding to see something happen that I suggested.  It makes me feel a little less powerless in this world of big business in bed with corrupt politics.
I am often struck by little things that can make a product or an experience a little better.  I usually don’t do anything with them, though sometimes I do.  I like writing letters of gratitude and suggestion much better than the strongly worded letter of a disgruntled customer.  But I have had better responses from my negative letters than from my suggestions.
I thought of individually brewed coffee bags when I was in Desert Storm; colored car wax when I was shining my boots in Texas in the 80s; I thought of digital picture frames when no one thought it would ever not be cost prohibitive.  The things I think of are nothing new, just minor or different ways to use things that already exist.
It is why I like tweaking my computer so much.  Default values are for pussies.  Things can always be better, more personalized.
So when I think of things that will make my life easier but that I can’t do myself, I write a letter.  I wrote Lee Iacoca once asking for a variable manual transmission that could act like an automatic for the first few gears.  I love driving a stick, but being in stop and go traffic sucks, and wears on the clutch.  Lee never answered me.
But Kroger did.
You know how when you are shopping in th produce section all the fruit is kept looking fresh by an occasional burst of water from a sprinkler system?  I have always liked that, but I never liked the fact it happened without warning.  I don’t want my sleeve getting drenched because I happened to be reaching for a rutabaga
So, I wrote a letter to my supermarket, explaining my desire to have some sort of a warning system installed; just a little beep to let us know to keep hands an feet inside the cart for a short time.
Today when I was shopping I hear sounds of thunder, and I looked up.  It was a little speaker above the produce section; it also had a flashing light for those who might not hear so well.  And of course it was followed by the spritzer.
I am sure I am not the only one who might have thought of it.  There have been lots of ideas I have had that made it to market even though I never took action so, unless I want to think they are stealing my dreams at night, my little improvements are not so spectacular that I alone could think of them.
But it is nice to see them come to fruition, even if it is minor.
It is much nicer than when I look at a product and think, "Damn, I thought of that."

EDIT:   I am being told that most stores have been doing this for a long time.  Maybe where I shopped was just behind the times.  Like I said, I don’t figure my ideas are so brilliant that I am the only one to think of them.   And maybe the letter I wrote didn’t count at all.  But I still feel rewarded

Diver Down

Sunlight beats down on the water; the reflection
skitters across my face with the ungainly
gait of a geek at his first dance.
The hum of the outboard lulls me; the boat breaking
the waves sends spray splashing over the port bow,
raining down on the radio; drops glistening.
Jimmy Buffet sings about a trip to Paris; one that
I’ll never make; but at least this I don’t regret.
Today I have no questions.
I try to leave my worries behind to make room as I
wriggle into the wetsuit; tight and uncomfortable, like a hug
from Grandma when she’s had too much to drink.
The pressure in the tank is less than the
pressure in my heart; I think; I have no gage.
Which will wind down first?  I wonder.
Not all pressure increases with depth.
Set the flag and don the mask; bite down
on the respirator, so eager to breathe for me
if I just let it; give up control.
Over the edge and down, letting the lead drag me under
Deeper and deeper; my ears hurt as the light fades,
I give the vest a short, shot of air.  All stop.
I hang motionless, my body one big goosebump
as I get used to the cold and the fact that I am
not at the top of the food chain down here.
I let the current take me; I only make
minor corrections as I drift along.  Life has
never seemed so. . . effortless.

17 September, 2008

Doesn't need a lot

Today I isolated the DNA from a strawberry and stored it in a small vial of ethanol.  I am pretty sure I couldn’t clone a strawberry to save my life, but actually extracting the DNA was amazingly simple.
Adtran offers something they call ‘Lunch and Learn’ twice a month.  They provide a box lunch and some interesting and useful information.  Often it is computer related; Microsoft Office power user stuff; I like tweaks, so I will go to pretty much all of them.    But today was about biotechnology, and they had a representative of a nearby firm come in and give us a presentation on genomology.
He gave a good talk about DNA and what was going on in the field relating to genetic modifications.  He talked about his organization, which is a place that brings scientists and industry together and tries to get their creativity working together. 
Huntsville isn’t known for pure research.  They want to make stuff with what they learn.  I concur.
I am not against gathering knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but applied research is more exciting.  I like to know what it is, but I am even more interested in what it does and how I can use it to make life better.
I have some issues with genetic manipulation, but I am not dead set against it.  Either way, I should understand it before I disagree with it.

Week five

Tried to bring up a 5006 and console into it to configure an SM for ATM; had no luck. Made sure all the cards were using compatible versions of code; Mike was a huge help, but couldn’t figure out why the card was not allowing itself to be configured.
Spoke to Thom about how to adapt the script to account for the new MAC scheme. After a few trial and errors, we got the script to work right.
Continued trouble binding DHCP streams. Loaded an old version (dated 9-11). Tested the script against the 5 streams on 1-15; test successful. Can not find a difference between the two saved sessions, but will use the archive and delete the new saves.
Noticed some ADSL cards were again misidentifying themselves. Was told the ADSL cards were supposed to be at 118 instead of 122. Could not get the tftp server to work. Kenny loaded the necessary files onto his server so I could both troubleshoot the upgrade as well as downgrade to 118.
Had seen some loss of provisioning on cards that I know I had provisioned. Did not know what the cause was. We had done hard reboots of all the cards to fix a CAM table (?) problem, so could not be sure if it was a power issue or if it happened when we upgraded to 122.
We disconnected some cards, and saw no loss of provisioning. I downgraded and saw no loss of provisioning. Updated a single card and saw no loss of provisioning.
Verified that every card was provisioned correctly.
Pam updated the system as a whole and it appears there is no loss of provisioning.
Ken said that perhaps the RPOTS or the VG card were conflicting, so we pulled the VG and RPOTS cards.
Made SCA update on both servers: TA5K_4.1_ADSL_DONE_V118_091708_JM
Built scripts for all cards.
Verified that all VLANs went sequentially across ADSL cards.
Verified that it was ok to have the same VLAN on two different cards.
Still not bonding on the other shelves
I checked again to ensure the ports were configured for IPOE or auto; they were
I checked the VLAN IDs again. It appears that the 2nd (server) VLAN id is incrementing (see 2-11-32 server) , even if there isn’t supposed to be one. This shouldn’t affect the emulations with a C-tag, though, and may be incidental.
I couldn’t find any obvious errors so, per Lloyd, I sent some traffic across and then physically checked the modem. I sent traffic across 3-7, and then checked modem 3-64 (port 32). No traffic was evident
Lloyd said that then it must be a physical layer problem and he showed me where I could check via N2X
Lo and behold, all the links are bad on shelf 3. I then checked the other session. All the links were bad on every shelf. This would explain the problem, I think….
No one in the lab to help me trace, so I will do it tomorrow.
Discovered a problem with the port setup that fixes the linkage.  The phys layer configuration has to be set to SFP and the Link layer has to have ARP disabled under Ethernet and NDP disabled under EthIPv6.  This would explain why no bonding is occurring on any of the shelves that I had added.
I was right that there should be no VLANID2 at all if there is no Ctag, but the script is causing it to be created.  I can either go and manually delete each and every Ctag for those emulations or I can rewrite the script to comment out everything about VLANid2 and rerun the script
Found out that for single tags there should only be one server.  After deleting all the other servers, only one port was binding, and no one could tell why.  Figured out that the script was restricting the IP address pool to just 8 (because we used to have one server for one client with 8 MAC addresses).  After bumping the pool up to 256, it seemed to work.  Have not yet tried to stream traffic across it.
Started working on the PPPoE emulations for that card, and noticed that the starting source MAC addresses were identical across two different cards.  Talked to Lloyd and he suggested that they should all be discrete.  Not sure if it will have an adverse effect, but better safe than sorry.  Will have to go back and bring those back into line with the MAC addressing scheme we devised for the DHCP.  Luckily I have only built 8×27 + 8×14 emuilations before I reallized it was happening.
For PPPoE, I may need, instead of 8 servers with 14 clients, go with 1 server with 8 clients, or some other scheme; if my original config doesn’t work, this should be my first check.
PPPoE is not connecting over 3-1 it seems.  Traffic is flowing, (verified by modem check) but connections are not being made.  It might be the MAC scheme, but doesn’t seem likely given that I never fixed the 1-19 scheme and they connected

12 September, 2008

(Don’t Just) Follow the Worms

Hermann Göring, for those of you who don’t study history, was the creator of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany.  He was a paragon of the jack-booted thug who would likely have found a happy home in the Bush administration.  Now, I realize that comparing anyone to the Nazis is proof of Godwin’s Law, but please note that Godwin never said that the comparison would necessarily be false, only that it was likely to occur.
I lost a lot of faith in the American people when they allowed a war to be rammed down their throats.  They didn’t see how the most base of the human emotions, fear and the desire for revenge, were being manipulated.  And the few who dared protest it were ridiculed and denounced as unpatriotic cowards.   The French were derided so much that Congress felt it of the utmost importance to change the names of certain foods in the Congressional cafeteria. 
It needs to be said that they did this instead of performing their solemn duty to provide a check on Executive power.  There is a reason our founding fathers placed the burden of declaring war on Congress instead of just one man.  But Congress was afraid to say that the Emperor was naked, because they didn’t want to appear unpatriotic. 
For those of you who are not students of history, shame on you.  Because you are doomed to repeat it.  And, since this is a democracy, if enough people choose to have their heads in the sand I am forced to repeat it also.  I had been a soldier for over half my life when all of this took place, and really had no say at all.  And, sadly, I had misplaced my trust in the judgement of my countrymen.  For those of you who are not students of history, this is what Hermann had to say about war:
Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
It has been said that for evil to triumph all that it requires is for good men to do nothing.  I agree.  There is nothing patriotic about sitting by and letting your leaders do whatever the hell they want with your country.  There is nothing civil about being passive in the face of overwhelming corruption.  There is nothing noble in behaving as lambs to the slaughter.
Yes, it is difficult to get good information.  The media does not do its job.  Or, rather, they do the job they are supposed to do and not what we expect.  The news media are corporate entities.  There is an overt attempt to control the things that you know.  They want to sell you Happy Meals and Hondas as well as war and corruption.  The methods are the same.
Noam Chomsky says it far more eloquently than I shall ever be able.  But you can educate yourself.  You have to sift through a lot of statistics and raw data.  You have to apply those critical thinking skills they taught you in school.  You have to make up your own mind.
In the run up to the war, there were only a few people in Congress that had the balls to stand up and say there was not enough evidence for a preemptive strike.  (And, take heed, it was not just a bad decision based on faulty intelligence.  It was a concerted effort to sell something, that had an enormous amount of intelligence to the contrary, as if it were open-and-shut.)  There were only a few people who had the courage to shoulder the derision of the entire nation in order to speak their mind.
One of them was Joe Wilson, whose wife’s cover was blown as punishment for his speaking out.  Blowing the cover of an intelligent agent not only puts their life in danger but also every source they had cultivated.  This is a time when our HumInt resources were pitiful to begin with.  It is treasonous to do such a thing.  For years the speculation that it had come directly from the administration was called ludicrous by the talking heads.  When Scooter Libby was found guilty of all they had denied so vociferously, it should have been grounds for an impeachment.
Instead, Scooter was pardoned by the very office that promised retribution to the culprit.  No other example of corruption need be given to show how very evil I think this administration is.  Unfortunately, I have many, many examples.
One other man who had the courage to denounce a useless, illegal, and futile war was Barak Obama.  Even if he had not proven himself in so many other ways in the last 26 months he had already shown me, then, he was a man of character.  That is why I support him in this election.
But don’t take my word for it.  Do your own research.  Get your hands dirty.  Learn about the candidates.  Decide for yourself the direction you want this country to go.  Don’t be fooled to think you have no choice.  Don’t be pressured to think your only choice is either continued corruption or letting the terrorist win.  We make our fate, as people and as a nation.  Take responsibility for your future.
And when the time comes, vote.

An American will cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.
— Bill Vaughan
She came to me one morning
One lonely sunday morning
Her long hair flowing
In the midwinter wind
I know not how she found me
For in darkness I was walking
And destruction lay around me
From a fight I could not win
Lady in Black, Uriah Heep

Caveat Emptor

It has been brought to my attention that I am not as strong and gallant as I apparently make myself out to be in the way I write. I thought it would be evident in my words that I do not think I am either of those things.  I try to focus on the positive, but that doesn’t mean I am not weak.  That doesn’t mean I don’t whine.  That doesn’t mean I have never been dishonorable.
I am far from perfect.  I make a lot of mistakes.  I get pissed off.  I have even been known to be mean and say hateful things to those I care about.
I have lived a lifetime filled with foolish mistakes.  Worse, yet, are the things I did that I knew were wrong, or at least should have known.  I have hurt and abandoned people who counted on me.  I have burned most every bridge I have ever walked across and let the ones I did not char fall into disrepair through wilful negligence. 
I thought I had made this clear often enough.  I hope I am not coming across as someone who is trying to convince others that I am a great man, for I am not a great man.
I am human.  I am far from the best human.  Ghandi, Lincoln, Siddhartha, Einstein.  All these men were far greater than me.
However, these men are dead, and I am still alive, and so I shall try to live my life better tomorrow than I did yesterday.  I may never be as great as they in my future, but I don’t have to be as pitiful as I was in my past.  I am filled with remorse, bitterness and anger at my past, but I feel that I had embraced those emotions adequately in my early writing.  I no longer choose to do so.
I am certain that there is a bit of self affirmation occuring in my writing.  I am sure that I do use it to remind myself that I am not a worthless chunk of carbon that has no business still taking air.  I use it to counterbalance my self loathing.  I use it to fuel my drive to be better tomorrow.
Therefor, if I have inadvertently fooled anyone into thinking that I was (or that I felt I was) even close to perfect, I do apologize.  I do not think I am. 
But I do aspire to be.
The truth is that there is nothing noble in being superior to somebody else. The only real nobility is in being superior to your former self.
—Whitney Young
 I’m caught in a cross fire
 That I don’t understand
 But there’s one thing I know for sure girl
 I don’t give a damn
 For the same old played out scenes
 I don’t give a damn
 For just the in betweens
 Honey, I want the heart, I want the soul
 I want control right now
 Talk about a dream
 Try to make it real
 You wake up in the night
 With a fear so real
 Spend your life waiting
 For a moment that just don’t come
 Well, don’t waste your time waiting

Badlands, Bruce Springsteen 

Week Four

I feel like I am at the top of my game right now, as far as it could be expected.  I have taught myself far more than I think they had expected me to learn in the short time I was there.  I also brought to the table a lot of organization tips and tricks I used when I was an operations sergeant.  A process is a process, and many have things in common, and so some things work no matter what the project is.
For a while I felt a little constrained, and it was starting to frustrate me.  I didn’t feel like I was getting taught as much as I wanted to learn.  Sometimes I wish they would just get out of my way and let me work.  Some of them spend a lot of time griping about things that have to be done or changes to which we must adapt.  It’s telecommunications.  If I wanted stability I would do something else.
I like the challenge of having to constantly stay abreast of new requirements.  I like having to keep everything well documented.  I like challenging assignments.  I like feeling swamped.
There is nothing, nothing at all, that feels better than when, at the end of the day, I know that I rose above expectations.  Although this is dangerous, as Murphy pointed out:
#25.  "If you take more than your fair share of objectives you will be given more than your fair share to take."
But I still live for the thrill of supermassive accomplishments.  I love feeling like I have accomplished something difficult through my own efforts and mental capabilities.
There are a lot of patterns in the things I am doing, and I am good at picking up patterns.  I am excellent at finding breaks in the pattern, once I know what the pattern is supposed to look like.  I have had the most success in troubleshooting stream errors in the last few days.  Our addressing scheme was all screwed up, and I found it.  The way we were iterating our MAC tables was conflicting, because IPoE and DHCP emulations are built differently.  I caught it. 
It is exhilarating to look at a large sequence of numbers and be able to interpolate on the fly what the trend is and then translate that to a break in a physical system.  I feel like SuperNerd.  Except in this instance I put away my cape and tights and put on my spectacles and business suit.
I am not dumb at all.  I am well worthy of this job. 
I am still having trouble decrypting a TCL script that we use to populate the DHCP emulations.  I needed to change the MAC schemes so that there would be no conflicts.  MAC schemes are rather arbitrary but, since this iteration we are running multiple encapsulation protocols on a single card, we ran into problems. 
On each card there are 32 ports.  On each of those 32 ports we are assigning 8 MAC addresses for a total of 256 MACS per card.  Then we have 10 cards per shelf and four shelfs in the system.  It’s a lot of MAC addresses.  Having a script that populates the DHCP encapsulated ports takes a lot of work off my hands, but only if it works.
The problem is that PPPoE emulations are populated by MAC, and then laterally increment the ports.  DHCP emulations are populated by port and then laterally increment the MACS.  In other words, a card full of PPPoE streams would have 8 rows of MACs with 32 ports.  A card full of DHCP stream would have 32 rows of ports, each with 8 MACs.  They had designed their MAC scheme to be useful only on those individual cards.  It didn’t work once the cards became mixed.  The MAC addresses were stepping on each other.  But they couldn’t figure out why the traffic wasn’t getting through.
I was frustrated because at the beginning of the week I didn’t know enough to troubleshoot a damn thing.  And the person who was supposed to be teaching me seemed more interested in commiserating with others about how difficult it all was.  I empathized, but I always find it more rewarding to look back on how difficult it was after achieving it than to look forward to how hard it is going to be.
So I leaned forward in the foxhole and started sifting through the code myself.   And I found it.  And not only that I came up with a solution and I proved my solution.  I even wrote a small script that would automatically populate our MAC scheme based on the table entries for shelf, slot, port, and MAC sequence. 
Now the only problem is that the TCL script that the Agilent guy wrote for them before I got here was designed to increment MAC addresses and ports for the old scheme.  Now I want to iterate the 5th octet for the port and the 6th I want to use for the MAC.  I know how to do it manually in the program we use to test, but not how to write a code that interfaces with the program, yet. 
All I can do is to try and deduce how the original script is operating and make alterations to that.  I thought I had it figured out, but the changes I made to it didn’t affect it the way I had thought.  So I must not fully understand the code.  But, I have a copy of it here with me and a reference book for the TCL language.  I have coffee, and 56 hours before I have to go back to work.
I’ll figure it out.

06 September, 2008

Week Three

This week the design process commenced in full swing.  Over the long weekend I had developed icons for all the equipment in Visio and made the shelf snappable making it easy to arrange the card icons when we designed.  It came in pretty handy.
I still want to find a more efficient way to label the patch panels on the diagram; the way it is done now takes up a lot of real estate for just that little bit of information.
We had to make room for two new kinds of cards but we only had an influx of one new set of modems, so we had to divert one of the streams from the last configuration.  That was done easily with a cable solution I had devised last week which adapted the WK cable to be used with the Combo cards.  I still have orphaned modems, but that cannot be avoided.
A lot of time was spent trying to discover a physical solution to the VDSL problem.  The WK cables break out three 32 port streams in to 4 24 port streams.  We have only 96 VDSL modems, but we have 4 cards with 32 ports.  The techs and I are still trying to find a way to orphan the ports as far upstream as possible.  We don’t want to order new modems because a new version is coming out at the end of the test cycle, and we don’t want to buy obsolete equipment.
To top it all off, the VDSL cards are not ported like normal cards are (in parallel) instead they are ported in series.  Luckily, upstairs had already prototyped a crossover cable that will allow us to adapt to our current configuration.
It did take some explaining to get them to understand the crossover cable had nothing to do with my cable solution for the combo cards.  A lot of questions were asked about pin diagrams as though the world hinged on them, when in reality everything was already thought through and was copacetic. 
But I’m a n00b, so it didn’t bother me that they were double checking my solution.  They will figure out that I can differentiate between the statement ‘This will work" and the question "Will this work?"   I have already done my homework before I propose my solution.
I got a crash course in MSPL architecture from both Jennifer and Alan.  I got a crash course in encapsulation protocols from Alex. 
There were some hurried meetings about whether or not we were going to turn our system into ATM fed or not.  That would require a ton of reconfiguring, and if they want us to do that, they need to say so like last month.
I learned how to provision the ports of each card using the network interface module and to populate the streams using the N2X interface.  I devised a visual scheme with which we could design our encapsulation and easily ensure all requirements were met, as well as make changes on the fly.  Pam thinks I am very organized.  I told her I just prefer to have stuff where I can see it instead of in my brain.  I am a visual person.
I provisioned all of the ADSL cards, but I couldn’t get the PPOE ports to bond.  I am not sure if I am supposed to manually populate a MAC table for the PPOE ports or if I did something wrong.  This took place  Friday afternoon, after Pam had left, so I just left it for Monday morning.  I finished out my week by installing all the new cards that have arrived into the system and updating my diagram.


05 September, 2008

Prince Charming

I forgot where I read this, but I am certain I read it on a lady’s diary somewhere and I copied it to remind me that there is love in the world.
Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep… wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you’re just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky his is to have you…. The one who turns to his friends and says, ‘that’s her.
I thought it was very well put.  I don’t have anything to say about love right now, so I thought I would use someone else's words.

Time to iterate

It has been a while since I have done any serious writing.   Last time was really as I was redefining myself as a civilian from the time I r...