This morning I found
four grey hairs upon my chest
old age closes in
This morning I found
four grey hairs upon my chest
old age closes in
With the click of the shutter I was no longer looking at my baby, the one who toddles about the house singing to herself, the little girl who calls my mother Mam-Mam. Rather time slipped forward, lurching heavy and fast, and she was some sixteen years older and about to step out of the house and into those first tentative moments of adulthood. Sadness and joy wrapped about me and I was unsure if I should laugh or cry. I do not want a moment of our life together to go unaccounted.
A couple of weekends ago as Management and I slowly shuffled through a Target we passed by the videogames section only to be brought up short. For months I had been breezing by this section with the hope of spotting a Wii and on this day sat three in the display case. Three available for purchase. We stopped and stared.
“Just buy it!,” exclaimed Management with an edge of irritation in her voice, “For months you have bemoaned the lack of stock, extolled the virtues of its games, and basically acted like a whiny twelve-year old. So just buy the damn thing!”
Shifting from foot to foot I hesitated. I stepped forward only to rock back on my heel. Why did I want this again? When was the last time I actually played the consoles we already own? Making a quick calculation, scrunching my face up at Management I attempt to come up with the last time I fired up a game: fourteen months. Gaming has not happened in any shape or form in over a year. We have a Gamecube gathering dust, an Xbox which has been unplugged since before Gabriella was born, and a GBA which goes everywhere with me yet is never turned on and used.
So I stood there with my wife slowly rocking the baby in the carriage. I thought back on why I jumped into gaming in my late twenties and how it ended so abruptly. It was an escape when I needed it the most and like most escapist pursuits evaporates when the impetus moves on. Gaming kept my sanity during grad school but shortly after finishing I found myself playing less and for shorter periods of time. The first usurper was Linux when I decided to go full-time with Ubuntu 4.10, then it was the house, followed by the dog, the baby, then photography, and work. Life pressed in and squeezed things out leaving only the essentials, the people and things I love the most: family, reading, Linux, and learning.
The cliche is true: life presents choices but at times it forces the choice. My choice of Vi over Emacs is just that, a forced choice. Having been a longtime Nano user–its learning curve is like steep downward slope–I was never motivated to learn anything else as I could always pull it into something like Gedit or Bluefish to do something crazy like search and replace. My new job eschews a windowed environment and I found Nano’s quaint limitations to be powerful frustrations. My decision of Vi over Emacs was simple: crontab -e launches Vi. The decision was handed to me.
Like passing over Emacs not gaming doesn’t leave me wondering what I am missing. Standing in Gamestop with my brother-in-law yesterday while he bought a copy of Gears of War I pursued the collection of DS games. There were many that seemed fascinating and certianly looked fun but I found myself questioning when I would play them and how the cost of a DS and a handful of games would put a dent in my lens budget I walked back to wait in line with him.
When we got back to his house he hustled to the livingroom to play the game while I sat outside on his deck in the cooling evening. With my daughter on my knee I talked with my in-laws and the kid who lives next door about first jobs, first loves, and simple pleasures. My wife leaned over and asked I would rather go inside and play a few levels. No, I replied, I’m happy right here and now.
One of the things I’ve realized with this new position is that I am my own worst taskmaster, driving myself to work longer hours in tightly focused stretches of time rarely punctuated by breaks. I suppose on some level that I feel like I need to be even more productive because of the absence of “face-time”, that there is no boss leaning over me making sure that I at least have the appearance of being busy. In contrast, though, I really am enjoying the work and the challenge that it presents, so I often feel that itch in the back of my brain to tray and solve the puzzle before I go to bed.
What have I been working on? Well, half the week was spent training Monit to play nice with Mongrel and I am decently confident that it works as advertised in the test environment. This afternoon we did a test deploy with Capistrano nesting it between Monit stop and start statements and everything appeared to work without a hitch. The challenge we faced with Monit in our environment was that we are unable to actually issue Mongrel starts and stops inside the config file. The solution was to take those statements and drop them into bash scripts, so at the moment I have an kludgey but operational method of fourteen scripts for seven mongrels (one start and one stop). When I get a moment, I plan on cleaning them up and making a single one that executes with variables, ie $ monit-mongrel stop 8001 but at the moment I am epically lazy. If I have the time I would like to figure out what exactly it is about the environment that doesn’t like mongrels being started or stopped inside Monit.
Half of yesterday and all of today I have been pounding my head against a nail studded board trying to get secure replication rolling inside EC2 for our MySQL boxen. The masters and slaves (yes, the developers on the crew with a more PC sensibility have chided me saying that the correct terms are primary and secondary. Fine we can meet in the middle with boss and underling) fire up fine and do what they are supposed to except actually perform replication of any shape, form, or fashion. To pipe them together I went the Stunnel route–could not for the life of me get SSL in MySQL to actually do anything–and I know that something is happening because the moment I issue a SLAVE START; command this shows up in the stunnel logs on the master: 2007.08.03 15:46:10 LOG5[13077:3083316112]: localhost.3306 connected from xx.xx.xx.xx:36769. I’m thinking that possibly it is how I set up the replication account permissions on the master, GRANT REPLICATION SLAVE ON *.* TO ‘replicantsarepeopletoo’@'%.mydomain.com’ IDENTIFIED BY ‘s3KrEtpa5Sw0rd’;. Taking shot in the dark, since I am tunneling the traffic it likely should just be ‘replicantsarepeopletoo’@'localhost’ so when I’m feeling a little less punchy I’m going to take a look at that again but after twelve hours I pretty much hate MySQL and EC2 at the moment.
What I haven’t been doing is taking pictures, writing, reading something other than man pages and long-winded newsgroup threads, and really listening to some of the new albums I just picked up (Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – Keep Reachin’ Up and Red Bumb Ball: Rare and Unreleased Rocksteady (1966-1968) are fucking amazing albums though). Hopefully, I’ll find my stride soon and build a sort of groove where I’m not pushing myself so hard that I’m dreaming about how the company abandons it current market focus and I’m forced to look into re-architecting the mongrel cluster for their plans to launch a fried chicken franchise. Yeah, I do need more sleep.