atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6952: This is going to rule

So, today I got something I have wanted to buy for a very long time. Wednesday I looked at them on Amazon, talked to Mrs. Fungus, and pulled the trigger, because I have been looking wistfully at them every time I went into a department store and happened to be in the appliances section.

And just in case that link dies, a picture:

A KitchenAid stand mixer.

My Mom used to have a stand mixer (a Sunbeam) that she'd inherited either from her mother or her mother-in-law, and it made baking very easy, but it broke years ago. I am going to be baking cookies for the holiday, and I wanted this to save my wrists.

Every time I've been in a Kohl's or a Target or a what-the-hell-ever, I've looked at them and drooled over them thinking about the most recent time I made chocolate chip cookies and how it made my wrists hurt. How many things that I mix and stir and blend while I'm cooking stuff!

But the price--the base model runs about $300-$380 most places, and there's no way in hell I was going to pay three hundred dollars for a mixer, no matter what kind of reputation it has.

Amazon, though. Amazon had it for two hundred bucks and that was low enough for me. I had to ask Mrs. Fungus, but her response was "Do it!!!" because she knows that if it's easier for me to bake cookies and stuff, I'll do it more often.

And yes, I know that there are all kinds of attachments you can get for it. A meat grinder (which can also be used to make sausages), ice cream maker, pasta rollers, juicer--you can even get a grain mill for it, to make your own damned flour!

So I plugged it in and turned it on for a couple seconds, and smiled to myself. Now I need to figure out what I'm going to make first.

Maybe oatmeal cookies.

* * *

Meanwhile, this week has been something of a nut-buster. Wednesday evening I was scheduled to work an extra two hours to rack a server.

See: the site had servers and switches and things, but they were all arranged on a wire shelf. My task on Wednesday was to shut them down, clear out the room, move the rack in, rack all the components, and then start up the system again.

Two hours was hopelessly optimistic. I had help, but it still took an hour just to dismantle and untangle everything prior to bringing in the new rack. And it did not help that the guy who was helping me claimed superior experience (having put together some "forty" racks) but I constantly had to correct him when he kept trying to put component rails in upside down or to mount things backwards or-or-or. Worse, I'd ask him to do something, he'd do it, and then without saying anything to me he'd go sit down and pull out his smartphone. I'm trying to run cables, I'm tripping over packing material, and he's fapping around on his cell phone rather than, you know, cleaning up. And I had to show him how to dispose of the packing material, because he tried to stack the intact boxes in the cardboard bin. *sigh* It would have been at least a three-hour job even if I'd had someone who actually knew what he was doing--and probably four hours.

I left the building at 1:00 AM.

Mind you, I overslept Wednesday--which is the first time that's happened to me this year--so I got to work at 9:30; even with that, and after subtracting my lunch break, I ended up with 14.5 hours on the clock!

I secured permission to arrive late to work Thursday--and it's good that I did, because I ended up having to go back to the site to help the network guys reimage the firmware in one of the switches. That took hours and I ended up being there until 8:30, which made Thursday a 7.5 hour day!

Then, after I'm home, I get a call from the guy overseeing the project saying that the users at the site can't access their printers or their network shares. So I said I'd get there as close to 7 AM as possible on Friday morning and went to bed early.

As it happened, there was one cable that was out of place. It was not the cable that I'd thought was out of place. And it wasn't quite as bad as this:

...but nonetheless it's naturally confusing. Especially when you're given instructions which are incomplete, and the guy giving them to you is the same one that labeled the cables as "1, 2, 3, 4" when the ports they go to are "0, 1, 2, 3". And so what happened is that while I was trying to get VMNIC0 (which is labeled "NIC 1") plugged into port 5 on switch 01, at 7:30 PM after a long day of sitting and waiting for things to happen--more on that in a second--in my fatigued state I made a mistake and moved a wrong cable. Mind you, the network was still up, and mission-critical functions (like the badge reader that allows access to the building) were still working, as was the Internet and the authentication servers. It was just that if there was anything stored on their G:\ drive, they couldn't get at it, and they couldn't print.

One cable. One.

The switch had to be configured, and it wasn't working, and because of how the routers are built--and for security purposes--you can't just log into the router and start changing port mappings and so forth. No, you have to be physically present, plug a computer into the thing, and then use Telnet or some kind of terminal program to access the thing.

Well, someone has to be physically present.

So most of my job on Thursday was to plug a cable into a laptop, plug the other end into the router, start up a terminal program and get it connected to the router, then start a remote control session, and then a guy from the Server team would remote into my laptop and configure the router.

...except that the laptop WOULD NOT talk to the router. The router has a little Mini-USB connector on it, and if you hook that to a USB port on your computer, it looks like a COM port. But unfortunately Cisco is apparently not very good at the USB-to-Serial bit, so it worked like shit. No matter what I did, I could not get the fucking thing to connect...until suddenly it did. At 9,600 baud, no faster.

Connected at terminal speeds last seen in 1992, using XMODEM to transfer the file--it was like hearkening back to the old hacker days, let me tell you. But not in a good way. Dude had to transfer a 1.8 MB file to the switch. Do you know how long that takes at 9,600 baud? I left the site and went back to my office to pick up a couple things and get something to eat. One of the things was a dedicated USB-to-Serial convertor, which was good, because when I got back to the site the terminal window was displaying gibberish and the transfer had failed.

With the dedicated convertor--eschewing the useless Cisco built-in crap entirely--a connect speed of 115200 was available, and it took maybe 40 minutes to transfer that file. About ten times faster.

But even so, I spent at least two, three hours just sitting there trying not to fall asleep, and fighting fatigue always makes me even more tired. I closed the server room door so that no one would see me just sitting there, arms folded, head drooping, and let myself doze off a bit here and there, because there was absolutely nothing else I could do until that switch was back up.

They got it going and I ran cables, and--in my torpor--made the mistake I mentioned earlier.

--so today, after correcting the mistake that I'd made last night, I left the site and headed back to the office. Made some progress on some tickets, got lunch--and by the time lunch was over, the guy overseeing the project contacted me and complained that he couldn't ping one of the VMNICs.

So I had to go back and quadruple-check all the cables that I'd double- and triple-checked that very morning, knowing all along that I'd followed his instructions to the letter and that all the cabling was 100% correct. Had to wait 15 minutes for a stopped train, too.

And I went inside with my cable tester, and I checked each and every cable connected to those two servers, and they were 100% correct (as expected).

"It was working," he said in chat, "and now it's not."

Me: Fucking spiffy.

Unplugged it, checked it again, plugged it back in. Port VMNIC02 on the server, cable labeled NIC3, to port 5 on switch 01.

"What'd you do? It was working!"

On a hunch I unplugged the cable and sent a message telling him to ping it now--and as I expected, it worked fine with the cable unplugged.

Me, typing: "Okay, there is another device on the network with that IP address and it's causing a collision."

Did he accept that? Oh no, of course not. We had to go around and around for another five, ten minutes, while I verified again and again that the cables were all routed correctly and that the port wouldn't answer ping when the cable was connected but would without.

Finally he ended up twigging to the fact that there was an IP collision taking place.

Anyway, it was obvious that it was a server configuration issue and not my fault. Eventually I was able to return to the office, but it was 3:30 by the time I got back. Because I went to work an hour early, I left an hour early (I left that call up to my boss, but she said it was fine).

And so I racked up a 46.75 hour week. But at least that damned server room looks like a server room, and not some hacker's hodgepodge of salvaged equipment.

One thing that irritates me, though, is that all the cables (all of them) are black, and they're all 15-foot cables. The rack is barely taller than I am. Given my druthers I would have ordered colored cables for specific purposes, and shorter lengths to boot.

So, it's as neat as I could get it, given what I had. *sigh*

* * *

Too much technology. Time for another post for the politics.

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