News from Carcosa

I’ve posted this on my LJ and other social media, but I can’t forget my trusty Deep One blog. A little over 2 weeks ago my boss at Carcosa Corp called me to give me the news, they were going to make me an offer to come on perm where I am. Same duties for the most part, with the addition of being oncall and being responsive to alerts and work outside of core hours. Well today I had a call with the HR rep. Long story short, I accepted the offer. 19 PTO days a year, good benefits, and both a title change (adding a ‘Senior’ to my title) and the money that goes with it. Went and did the drug screen and filled out the info for my background check. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll come on board on December 12th. So happy. So is everyone I work with, I seem to be a popular fellow there. So yeah, things are going swimmingly. Now if only Carcosa Corp would open an office in Innsmouth, I’d be set. *wink*

Patching servers and stress

Well this week has been iffy. I slept for crap all last weekend, so come Monday I gave into the voices in my head and called in. And mostly spent the day sleeping or napping. I ended up making up the time this week, including a 15 hour day on Thursday for 4th quarter patch fest.

In Vulpinese, I’m what I call a burst worker. I rather do a large task in one shot, rather than break it up over multiple days. So even though we had today and yesterday to patch all the dev and stage servers, I wanted to it all on Thursday. But between working around the QA folks and developers, I was behind by the time it was after working hours. Worked from 08:30 to 23:30, and by the end I was loopy enough that I was making mistakes. And I still have a number of servers to work on, and I had a dev environment of many databases to get online. My original fix no longer brings the databases up correctly, and I was too fried to figure out the hunt and peck fix I did months ago. So I tried shutting it all down, and running them back up even slower to prevent race conditions…but it didn’t work as I came in with a number of stacks still offline. I also came into some dorked hosts. Yeah, I was having flashbacks to the Shoggoth Pit when I’d walk in after an extended shift to even more work.

We fixed the hosts, and I manually got the dev enthronement back online. Discussed the issues with my boss, and I think we have a better idea of time frames and scheduling. It will require more late nights, patching dev one night, and the two stage environments on separate nights, or at least making QC and Dev only work on one environment while the other is patched.

(interruption for the non geek. We run three environments. Development, where our dev group code stuff. Stage is where things are tested in as close to a clone of our production environment, which is what the customers talk to day to day. Aka, don’t touch prod until state has been tested like crazy. Lesson ends)

Speaking of production, we won’t be updating that til next Sunday evening. I’m hoping I’ll be working with the other admins on my team for that one, so it’s not so rushed. And speaking of Sunday, I’m going back into work this Sunday for that last 4 servers I couldn’t do today for reasons. Any time I work on Sunday will equal leaving early next week.

So yeah, today has not been the most fun. I was exhausted, stressed, and down on myself. On the plus side, no one was unprofessional or rude, far from it. Also, my fellow admins went out of their way to remind me they are really glad I work with them, and that I do a good job. Which I did really need to hear.

Came home a while ago, I’m majorly dragging. Watching ‘Event Horizon’ because I needed horror in space. I’m also thinking of watching ‘Prometheus’ because I enjoy it, and because no matter how bad you feel, you’re probably smarter than the scientists on that ship. Tomorrow I’m going to see ‘Doctor Strange’. Oh and hopefully sleep in.

The short answer, I am tired as hell, I’m kind of frazzled, but I’ll be ok. I have books, I have movies, and all will be well. Night all.

Sunday: running low on tentacles.

I tried to sleep in, kind of suceeded. Headed back to the Hollywood Theatre. Wandered around, talked to people, including a bookbinder who does custom books. I’ve wanted a custom edition of ‘Shadow Over Innsmouth’ so I asked him a few questions, and got details of what I need and what it would cost. Something I’ll be doing later this year. Went to a audio play version of ‘The Hound’, again by Stuart Gordon. Again, fun in a audience. I also went to the screening of ‘The Asphrx’. Old Hammer style horror flick, with some vague nods to a couple of HPL’s stories. I’ve seen it before, many years ago I rented it back in high school. Was fun, in that Hammer style that I love.

After the flicks I went to get some dinner. Per a friend’s recommendations I had the fish and chips, and it was wonderful. But after that I was really tired, so I said my goodbyes and headed back to the hotel to eat cookies and chill out. Slept well, got up and made it to the airport, and back home in one piece. Thus was my adventures at the HP Lovecraft Film Festival.

Saturday Cultist was soaked to the bone

Got up early, gathered books to be signed, and headed back out for the ‘Carbload for Cthulhu’. Free donuts and bagels and authors to sign stuff. Scott Jones, Kenneth Hite, Cody Goodfellow, S.T. Joshi, Wendy N. Wagner and more. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming, it became a thing, people finding out it was my first fest and being glad I finally made it. *cheer* Bought more books, and ran back to the hotel to drop them off and come back for the flicks.

Saturday’s first flick was ‘Bad Ass Monster Killers’. Imagine if HP Lovecraft lived until the 70’s and became a huge fan of Fred Williamson and Shaft movies. This would have been the screenplay he wrote. Cheese grande, hysterical and glorious. I bought a copy of the DVD, and another flick by the group that did it to inflict on my friends. Speaking of friends, I randomly joined into conversations and met people. *waves at Anders*

Hung around, wandered around the vendors. Met a number of people I’d only talked to online. Ann Koi, Sean Branney and Andrew Leman from the HPLHS, other people that we have friends in common. Everyone was as friendly as before. Spent monies on cool things, and shockingly…books. *wink* Then I got a front row seat for the HPLHS live performance of ‘Dagon: War of Worlds’. Was fun to watch/listen to, always good to support the HPLHS. Afterwards I went for sushi, a place I’d walked by and made note of. New tasty fishy for me, mackerel. Strong flavor, but enjoyable. I seem to like my sushi to have a strong flavor more often than not.

Then I watched the re-release of ‘From Beyond’ with Stuart Gordon. I’d never seen it with an audience beyond that of a few friends, and it was great. Need to see more classic movies in the theaters. Afterwards I was part of a small panel with Stuart Gordon, discussing movies and stories with him. Yes, I got to chitchat with one of my favorite directors twice during the fest. Also got my copy of ‘Dagon’ signed, because yes, I am a fanboy.

Afterwards I headed back to the hotel in the rain. Books made it safe, though I was a tad soaked. Crashed out and slept pretty good.

Friday night: The Creature Below and Downhill

Saw two movies Friday night. The first one was ‘The Creature Below’. A British monster flick with Lovecraftian bits. I’d been looking forward to seeing it since before I decided to go to the fest. So when they announced it was showing I did some happy dancing. The movie was good, not as good as I’d expected, but still good. Tentacles everywhere. And the love between a girl and her adopted octopus. 4 out of 5 tentacles.

The second movie was ‘Downhill” It tried very hard, but it wasn’t sure if it was an infection horror, a chased by crazies horror, or a cultists in the woods horror. Very well shot, and Chile is gorgeous, but it didn’t hold that well together. 2 out of 5 cultists to Shubby. That being said, I’d probably watch it again. Maybe it would hold together better on repeat viewing, and like I said it’s a very pretty movie.

AFter the two flicks I called it a night. All 3 nights there were after parties at local places, but consistently was out of tentacles by the time they rolled around, and hotel and bed seemed more appealing.

Last night

When last we spoke I’d been on the roof of the Gilman House. I decided to head out to get some dinner. And went the wrong way, repeatedly. Walked the wrong way, got on the wrong bus, finally gave up and hoofed it to a pub of some variety that had interesting looking cheeseburgers. I’m really starting to like Tillamook cheddar. Burger was good, nothing spectacular but just what I was in the mood for. Headed back to the hotel, missed my stop, got turned around and back. Oh, that physical compass I bought…it’s possessed. Utterly unhelpful. Oh well.

Hung out in my room for a while to decompress. Then got dressed up for the VIP party at the nearby Chinese Gardens. I didn’t get this dressed up for my last job interview. I even wore a tie (regular tie, not a fancy tentacle tie like I’d thought to do…ran out of time). Headed on out, the gardens were just a block away. Got checked in, got my badge for the weekend, then got taken on a tour of the Portland Shanghai tunnels. If you’re interested in crazy history, true crime, or the not so fun life of a sailor, read up on this place. Those who know me, know I dislike closed in places, especially if there’s no air moving. This was only a few degrees off what I’d consider hell, if I had to be stuck there. I pity anyone over my 5′ 7″, as I was ducking under pipes and low arches. And critiquing the ethernet cable runs I saw. (real businesses still use the tunnels for piping and wiring). It’s rumored to be haunted, but I didn’t see or feel anything too weird, besides thinking that someone could use the tunnels to film an awesome adaptation of ‘Pickman’s Model’. Tour lasted about an hour, our tour guide could really spin some good yarns. Need to look up some material on the archeology of the tunnels, my history geek was letting itself be known.

After the tunnel was the reception back at the gardens. One of the organizers recognized me from Facebook, we’d actually met years ago at Texas Frightmare Weekend, she sold me one of my first EoD shirts. But other than that, I knew no one. So I meandered, trying to fight the urge to wallflower…then I saw Ross, the editor of Word Horde, who I’ve been online pals with for years. So I centered my courage and said hello. The miracle of the interwebs, we chatted for a bit about the Fest and how it was my first one, and I got told that I was in for a great time. Which became the theme for the night. They started with some readings of HPL’s poetry, which got me talking to a random gentleman, who used to live in Texas, and I was assured I would have a blast. Then I met one of the original founders of the Fest, who wanted to know how I’d found this fest, and made me feel really welcome. Oh yes, and I’d have a blast. Wanted around some more, found the tea house in the gardens, where 4-5 people were sitting around talking movies. I joined it, no self consciousness, just yay fellow geeks. The other in joke was I kept meeting people who’d lived in Texas. One was from Austin, and another had lived in San Angelo as a kid (poor guy). The one lady was from the Seattle area, no Texas links. All were repeat attenders, and we talked geek, and movies, and Vikings, and Dr Who. Then we started discussing Stuart Gordon’s movies, and well…speak of the director and he shall appear…

Yes gang, Stuart Gordon, of Reanimator, From Beyond and DAGON!!! fame, walked in. And sat down with us and we talked movies and theater stuff. Mostly I just listened, somewhat star struck, and somewhat just wanting to hear his opinions. (I now need to do a rewatch of early Cronenberg stuff, and I’m told that the recent kids movie BFG has some creep moments, may give that a look.) I did tell him about showing From Beyond to some friends, and how I got the ‘Dear gods Vulpine, what the hell was that ?’ from said friends. Got a good laugh on that. Things finally ended about 11, so I said my goodbyes, wandered the gardens thinking I might be lost…found the exit, headed back to the Gilman House and crashed. I will freely admit to walking on air on the way back, I’d not only been social with people I didn’t know, and talked somewhat sanely to one of my favorite directors, but I never really felt anxious. At most I felt unsure of what to do. Major difference.

And with that I’m going to call this a post. Going to head over to where the Theater is for the offical start of the Fest. Time to get my movies on 🙂

First post from Innsmouth West

Well I survived the flight. Security theater was pretty simple, other than my hair got a rather involved pat down. I realized that as long and thick as it ism I probably could hide a small machete in it. Flight was nice, Alaska Air does a good job. My only complaint was the kids traveling alone behind me, they were rather loud and hyper. And occasionally creepy. Singing Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe through the Tulips’ gave me flashbacks to ‘Insidious’. But luckily, no Darth Maul demon was summoned.

Landed, had my luggage within 15 min. Found the lightrail, got on the train and saw my first Northwestern Hipster in the wild. The whole nine yards, plaid jacket, fancy jeans, hiking boots and a sardonic ‘Trump’ hat. Found my hotel, got checked in and got my room. Check in was supposed to be at 4pm, but they had available rooms so I could drop my stuff off..

The Gilman House, as I’ve dubbed it, is nifty. Quirky decorating in the lobby, and my room is exactly as advertised. Tiny, shared bathroom down the hall, and it (pleasantly) reeks of history. My only complaint is a distinct lack of shelves or desk or such. But that’s minor, honestly it’s what I’d want in a bedroom…a place to sleep. The Ancient Romans would approve of my cubiculum. Oh yeah, and I have a lovely view, of a brick wall. Reminds me of agnate sibling’s apartment in Soho oh so many many years ago. *giggle* Rent here is probably cheaper that that was back in the 70’s. Since I’d been up since before 2am PDT, I tried taking a nap, but I was too wired, and I rarely nap well at the best of times. So I got up, got dressed, and promptly lost my room key. I have no idea where it went. My magic gift to be able to lose something that was literally in my hand 10 seconds before. Oh well, the hotel staff are extra nice and replaced it without snickering.

Went to Powell’s City of Books. Or Heaven, you choose. Oh my biblophilic gods. I found books on everything. So much so I had to set a mental rule of only one book per subject or author. That being said I came out with a basketfull. Luckily for my luggage, they ship Media Mail. $12.50 to ship my loot back to DFW. I also went into the Holy of Holies, the Rare Book Room. Sadly no Necronomicon or Cthaat Aquadingen, but there was some gorgeous old books that I could have made homes for…not even sure what some of them where about, just that the binding was gorgeous. Books, so many books. If I don’t come home, I’m probably hiding out there. Don’t try to find me 😉

Took the bus back (walked to Powells), stopped in the local corner store for water and caffeine (yes I’m off the wagon, at least for today). Came back, went to the rooftop deck of the Gilman, and wow…what a view. Hills, some funky old building, a couple of kind of ugly modern skyscrapers, lots of green stuff. My sinuses are loving it here. Too bad my sweat glands think we’re drowning. Same thing as when I went to NYC last year, it’s humid enough that when I’m inside without lots of flowing air, I sweat like a shoggoth in the desert. I guess I’m somewhat adapted to Texas life. Ugg.

Oh, and yet more proof I may need a keeper. I managed to lock myself out of my room. I went back down to grab my tablet and keyboard to write this, went to go to the bathroom and realized that I’d left the room key on the bed. Twice I’ve failed at room keys and I’ve only been here 4 hours. Luckily housekeeping was understanding and let me in. So I came up to the deck, and realized…

I’d forgotten to grab my stand for the tablet, and I’d forgotten to pee. *facetentacle*

Really, I don’t need TODO lists, I need smart ink tattoos of the next 5 steps in my planned activity. I’d say keep the key in my wallet, but I bought a new RFID blocking wallet and well…room keys have issues with that. Trying a plan B later. Or I’m going to buy a lanyard and a holder…along with a ‘If found lost deliver to the Esoteric Order of Dagon, Portland Chapter’.

So yeah, I’m hanging out on the roof, listening to the sounds of the city (police sirens at the moment), and writing this post. I’ve also found the place where the meet, greet and honor Great Cthulhu gather happens tonight…I can see it from the roof. Downtown Portland is kind of small that way.

I think I’m going to wrap this up, because it’s starting to rain. Ooops. Via con queso everyone.

I’m leaving, on a shoggoth…

Well, by this time tomorrow I’ll be in Portland, Oregon for the HPLFF. I’m mostly excited, a little nervous about the travel and security theater and stuff. I’ll be getting up tomorrow around 4am to get to the airport. Everything (minus a couple of last minute items) is packed. So going to make tonight a simple night of taking care of myself, and going to bed way early. Woohoo.

I’m not bringing my laptop to Portland, though I do have a keyboard for my tablet, so I should be making some degree of commentary on it. Probably more on Facebook than on LJ, but we’ll see. I’m also bringing a camera, but I won’t be posting pics (unless I use my cell camera instead) because I don’t have a gadget to go from camera to tablet. So, be patient fellow cultists.

Besides the HPLFF, I’ll be wandering Portland Thursday and Friday days, museums and Powell’s books and new and interesting foods. Monday AM I’ll be flying back, be back home mid afternoon DFW time. I took the day after off so I can decompress.

So that’s it from here at Carcosa Corp. Wish me luck, calmness, and that Great Cthulhu inspires me to new levels of cultic behavior. *waves tentacle*

A year ago

Today is the one year anniversary of my first day of freedom from The Shoggoth Pit. (my last day was Sept 11th…but I didn’t want to write this yesterday). A lot of things have changed in a year. I found an old offline journal entry with my wishes for my post pit life. A job where I’d have bosses who didn’t try to stress me out for yucks and giggles, where work had challenges, but I also had support in meeting said challenges. And I got that here at Carcosa Corp, in spades. I also got a much nicer paycheck, and I have coworkers who I can count on to be professional, and at the same time, can be silly with. The only negative is that it is contract, so I cannot say that a year from now I’ll still be in the same boat. But it’s given me hope that yes, I deserve a job where credit is given, and I’m worth what I’m paid.

Outside of the work stuff, the last year I’ve done other stuff. I’ve finally made it outside of Texas, and made it back home to NYC for a fun week. I’m going to Portland in a little under a month for my first Lovecraft festival. I’m sleeping better, though I am having more anxiety dreams about parents than I was. I’m social, and my friends are much less worried about me (sorry gang). I did up my meds this year for depression, but that I felt like I could try to do something to help sounds like positive stuff to me. I’ve also quit caffeine, and cut way down on sugar, and have started to lose weight. Eating a little healthier. Reading more, generally most everything is swinging up at least a little.

Still have anxiety and depression issues. I’m still reacting to things like I’m back at the Shoggoth Pit, meetings make me anxious, new projects cause worries, etc. But I’m catching myself when I start that, and it’s lessening. Day by day, bit by bit, I’m getting better.

So that’s the state of the Vulpine, anniversary edition. Hopefully things keep swinging up through the next year, and that this time in 2017 I’m no longer thinking about the past or being bothered by it.

Weekend Computer Foo

And now we talk about computer foo. last night and today has been more geekery than I’ve done in a while. Dagon’s new monitor is much of the shiny. I’ve switched to using multiple virtual desktops, scattering various apps that I can reach with with key combos. Here are the desktops and what they’re used for.

  • Primus: Web browser and terminal windows, with Alpine (mail), CenterIM5 (IM client), one terminal with a screen session linked to every VM and physical box here at Château Innsmouth, and one for text editing (like this entry).
  • Secondus: Five larger terminal windows in a pattern. Good for sysadmin or coding or stuff. Larger = less eye strain.
  • Teritus: VirtualBox and VMs. This is the problem child, as I start working on a desktop VM, and forget about it with flipping back and forth.
  • Quartus: Misc stuff.

    As I said, it’s easy to lose stuff in this setup, but I’m thinking I’ll get used to it over time. The new video card in Dagon can support 2 of the big monitors, and I can double up on those cards, so I could upgrade to a 3 monitor rig in the future. Also, Hydra has DP ports as well, so I could split it, 2 on Dagon, 1 on Hydra. Doubt I’ll do that anytime soon though, both for cost and the fact the Desk of Doom ™ isn’t sturdy or large enough. So, in the future. Maybe after I pay off the trip to Portland.

    Besides getting things updated and rebooted all the systems. Tried to upgrade Dagon to the latest stable kernel, but no dice, I couldn’t make the new monitor play nice, and after 3 or 4 reboots and driver swaps I gave up for now. Hydra and Nyogtha came up fine after general maintenance and reboots, so did the VMs. I then turned my attention to my mini server Shoggoth, which has been offline for a week or so. On advice from my IT guy (yes I have a friend that does most of my hardware foo. I can do it soso, or he can do it right, and he’s worth every cent. If you’re in DFW, and need a geek, let me know) I popped out the drive, tried to see if it would get past the weird lock. It did. So I put the drive back in, and it booted fine. So I updated it, rebooted, came up fine. So, thinking the SSHD drive in Shoggoth might be flaking, I enabled SMARTD to monitor the drive. So we’ll see if it was a fluke or a drive giving up the ghost.

    Now I’m updating the assorted desktop VMs, and fiddling around with other stuff. Been a productive day geekwise. But soon it will be time to wind down and head to bed.