Doing Work

Sometimes our most fun is when we’re working the hardest. These two videos are Evan and I working on getting some of our basic skateboarding skills down better. It’s hard, but in the end it’s really rewarding.

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It’s all broken.

The TV was destroyed by a raging four year old and Wii remote.

My phone isn’t receiving iMessages over cell.

The lone PC in the house was (on purpose) upgraded to Windows 10.

My RAID DAS is flashing red just two days after I copied all of my data to it.

Bacteria has invaded my sinuses and lungs.

On the plus side, I’ve got a wonderful wife and family. I’ve got a job to go to tomorrow. I got a sweet new Santa Cruz patch from Ollie Crate and today I installed Grafana and InfluxDB … so I guess it’s not all bad.

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Change Everything

Change everything.

That’s what I seem to do. On this day, one year ago, Mary and I were preparing for the arrival of our baby. I had taken one week off of work and would go back to a new job once that leave was over.

Everything changed.

I was done having kids. Until this one. I quit a job I had been at for over eleven years. It was scary. It was exciting. These were the best decisions I ever made.

This year I’m doing something similar. Mary and I just married on the 17th and on the 23rd I’ll be leaving the best job I’ve had. It is scary. It is exciting. These may be the best decisions I ever make.

After eleven years at one job things become boring. Some of the job was so rote that I was starting to make stupid mistakes. I wasn’t performing as well as I knew I could or should. I’m also at the age where technical proficiency is coming to its last gasp. I knew if I didn’t start to push myself, I would fall behind.

Taking the job at the National Weather Service pushed me. I knew going in that I didn’t have some of the required skills. I’d never worked on a high traffic website. I’d never worked with some of the networking gear we used. More than that, I’d never worked at such a large organization.

The department I was in was mercifully small and it felt like a small dot-com. The learning curve was dramatic as. I was hired in as the Sr. System Administrator and the previous Sys Admin was gone except for on-call. There was Jr. Admin who was difficult to work with. This was a puzzle.

I had around two hours total with the previous Admin. He sketched out the main pieces. Networks. What servers did what. The basics.

Those first few months were some of the hardest but most rewarding months of my life. Put into the sink-or-swim position, I knew I had to swim.

Learning the networks. Learning to tune Apache and Memcached. Learning to work with developers using agile methods. These were phenomenal experiences.

After a few months there was some reorganization. The little dot-com was swallowed up by a larger piece of the organization. The fast, light, agile methods were replaced with meetings, forms, and authorizations. Release cycles were delayed. Changes were carefully worded so as not to fall under certain controls. It was an exercise in frustration

Tools that should make the life of a Sys Admin easier were implemented in a way that didn’t fit with a modern website. So I found something else and quit.

I’m sad. The mission was noble. The people were great. But I was feeling ineffective. Time was spent mulling over how to get changes made, not making changes.

I’m moving on. I’ll be facing a whole new slew of technologies that I’m rusty on. There will be challenges. There will be legacy systems. There will be resistance.

There will also be learning. Staying relevant in a field that changes fast. New relationships. New contacts.

My last round of “change everything” was driven by a new life. A baby that I needed to support. This change everything is driven my a completion of that family. Marriage, kids, step-kids. All driving me forward. Without them I wouldn’t have made this move. I’ll be forever thankful.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 11.41.36 AM

Quick Access to Forecast on Weather.Gov

You can quickly get your forecast by going to zip code. For Blue Springs, I go to and it takes me right to the forecast page.

Another nicety, uses adaptive design so the page elements arrange themselves to fit your device. The “mobile version” is the desktop version, the things are just rearranged to fit better.

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Archer Likes It

Labor day weekend. Up early on Sunday. All the boys at the skatepark.

Archer Likes it!

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Use them. I have to remind myself of this constantly. Dander of the mind building little dust bunnies that end up clogging up the whole works. Time to knock the dust off.

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Never Too Old to Skate

Jim and I skated a LOT through high school. Pretty much every day we were driving from spot to spot, getting hassled by police, and basically having a ton of fun. Recently, we’ve re-connected and have been skating more. It’s good to skate without a bunch of little kids (sorry guys) or teenagers that are actually good. When we’re skating together, it’s at our own pace and style and it feel awful good.

Here’s a quick edit from a few little tricks today. Jim hitting a fakie to nose slide, me ollieing a 3 stair, Jim doing a 50/50, and me … on the 3 stair again.

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The Cure on the Jukebox

I always loved going to the record distributor with Grandpa. It was weird, just a big room with makeshift tables and 45s in paper sleeves. We’d get a list of what was popular and Grandpa would pick some of those along with some of what he knew the regulars at the bar would like.

One of those popular 45s was “Fascination Street” by The Cure. Grandpa got it and put it in the jukebox. In his rural Missouri honky-tonk it definitely wasn’t a big player. I would often be skateboarding around town and go into the bar and grab a Dr. Pepper and get a red painted quarter (those were for the family to play games with) and pop it in the Rockola and play that song.

On Sundays we’d look at the play count on the jukebox and count the quarters. One week, he said he was going to take that record out. I said a simple, “I like that one.” Not thinking anything of it.

Grandpa left that 45 in the jukebox for a few more months. Eventually, I quit playing it knowing that something could go there that would get more quarters.

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Accidental Rifle or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the AR-15

I went in to Shooters Mart to by some .22 shorts for the kids to shoot through Grandma’s Ruger Single Six. After finding the ammo I inquired about the lever guns they had on hand.

I’d been casually shopping for a good ole lever action rifle for years. I’ve weighed the benefits of 30-30 vs. .357 Magnum. I’ve looked at every permutation in those calibers. I’ve shot Marlins in 30-30 and a 45-70. Every time the lever gun put a smile on my face.

While talking with the proprietor I start asking some questions.

“Should I really get a bolt gun?”

“I want to learn iron sights first, I don’t have much rifle experience.”

“Maybe I should get another .22.”

I think he sensed my avoidance of the AR-15 and said, “you’ve never looked at ARs have you?”

I hadn’t. And I didn’t really have a great reason other than the massive popularity of them. I didn’t think they were evil or anything like that (all guns are dangerous). I just plain didn’t like them. If I were to buy a semi-auto rifle I swore I’d get an AK47 because they looked better and they weren’t as fetishized as the AR-15.

S&W M&P 15, Ruger LCP, CZ 75 D PCR
S&W M&P 15, Ruger LCP, CZ 75 D PCR

He hands me a Smith and Wesson M&P 15 Sport. I start fiddling with it. Work the charging handle. Extend the stock. Look through the sights. This thing feels good. It’s still kind of ugly, like all ARs, but it’s clean. The sides are smooth, the finish is nice.

We start to talk about the good and bad. What features each one has. I try a few different brands out and keep coming back to that M&P Sport. It’s “missing” the forward assist button and the dust cover. I ask why that matters.

I understand the existence of those features, but they are not applicable to me or my use of a rifle. So I ask him, “why are these better.”

The curt response I got was great. “Well, if you’re around a bunch of AR guys and you show up without those features they’ll probably think it’s not a real AR. But, you don’t need them with what you want to do and they add weight and complexity.”

I’m 95% sold on this exact gun, but I know I need to do my due diligence and try an AK. They look evil (which is good) and they feel … sloppy. I’m sure it would function with 8 lbs. of sand in it, but it felt old and tired. If I were going for old and tired I’d start looking at the lever guns again.

I kept trying a few of the different ARs he had on hand but kept coming back to the Smith. It had the shortest pull of all of them and Dylan and Evan could both shoulder it with the stock fully collapsed. They looked at me with the “please buy it” eyes … and I did.

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Haircut Day

I’ve been going to Courtney Brothers for a bit over a year to take care of my hair. I’ve started dragging my mop topped kids along with me!

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