Dart pics

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Dash in “Digital” mode

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Dash in “Analog” mode

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Real rims – gonna do something to the calipers at some point.

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Officially the cleanest engine compartment I’ve ever seen. I feel like I should dust it once a week and apply a fresh coat of wax or something.


What planet are you?

You are not a planet.

You are a human being.

Human beings are not planets.


DRAC The maximum number of user sessions is reached.

Every so often when trying to troubleshoot Dell servers, you will need to get into the DRAC console.

Even less often, you might run into the error message, “The maximum number of user sessions is reached.”

Great – now what?

Simple – use putty (or other SSH client of your choosing) and open an SSH connection to the IP address of the DRAC card. Log in with your admin credentials and issue the following command:

racadm racreset

That’s all there is to it. Your SSH session will be disconnected while the DRAC card reboots itself. This takes about 60 seconds, and you should be able to log back in to the DRAC console.

Ta da.


Ten Actors Who Would Make a Better Batman than Ben Affleck (my picks)

Sitting around the office one morning – a little too much caffeine was ingested, and we started talking about who would make a better Batman than Ben Affleck.

Here is our list.

  1. Matt Damon
  2. Bradley Cooper
  3. Gerard Butler
  4. Jason Statham
  5. Bruce Willis
  6. Johnny Depp
  7. Hulk Hogan (Macho Man would have made a GREAT Robin…)
  8. Simon Pegg
  9. Larry the Cable Guy
  10. DUM-E from Iron Man

There you have it.


Adventures in Work – Pain in the Glass

During my younger years, I was semi-artistic. I liked to build things, paint, draw – I was CREATIVE, dagnabbit! I remember going to ceramics painting class with my mom and picking out little artsy items that I would then paint up – usually quite horribly.

I went through a period where I sketched imaginary spacecraft – I seem to remember them being pretty freakin’ sweet, but that was a long time ago and I don’t have the drawings anymore, so you’ll just have to take my word on it.

How I remember it

How I remember drawing it

How it probably looked to everyone else

How it probably looked to everyone else

It was during this time that I somehow learned of a pet store in need of a window painter. They had the “Turtle Lady” coming to their store to give turtle owners advice on caring for their “Friends in the Half Shell.” (No, they didn’t actually use that terminology – this was before TMNT came out…aaaaand now I feel old.)

Anyway, since my mom and I were being all artsy-fartsy, we had all kinds of paint lying around the house. We found some that was safe for glass and water soluble, and I sketched up a turtle, some information like the date and time, and headed down to the pet store. The owner said it looked fine, and told me to get work.

I first started doubting my creative ability when I looked at the size of the window compared to the rough sketch I had. Store windows are bigger than a sheet of paper.

It took me a few tries to get the arch of the shell to fit in the window the way I liked, and from there it was just a matter of filling in the details. Shell plating, feet, a head and face, tail…maybe this was going to be easier than I thought.

Then it came time to fill in the outline. That was the moment that I realized I hadn’t thought to bring a medium or large brush for filling in large areas. All I had were a bunch of small brushes. It was like trying to scoop mashed potatoes with a toothpick – sure, you’ll get there eventually…

The final mistake I made on this job was time management. Being a teenager, I rolled out of bed at the crack of noon or so that day. Add a couple hours or so and now we have the sun beating down on the window as I’m trying to paint. The brushes were so small that the paint would dry almost instantly when it touched the hot window. This made it hard to smear around and fill in the sections since the paint went from liquid to a syrup consistency in about 3 seconds. On top of that, I was getting baked by the sun. I distinctly remember thinking, “This must be how ants feel when they get cooked under a magnifying glass…”

I finally finished up and went I looked at it, I was mildly satisfied with the end result. It wasn’t a robot samurai cyborg turtle with lasers shooting out of its eyes, but it WAS obviously a turtle.

But then again, THIS is "obviously a turtle"...

But then again, THIS qualifies as  “obviously a turtle”…

The shop owner was pleased and even paid me. My mom went on and on about how good it was, as per her job description of being a mom.

The Takeaway

There are actually two lessons to be learned here.

1) Don’t oversell yourself: Know your limitations and operate within them.
2) PLAN PLAN PLAN: Go through the job in your head – do you have the right tools and enough time to use them?

These lessons have helped me avoid taking on jobs that would have been AWESOME for my career – if only I had the skillset to do the job to begin with. Google will only get you so far, the rest comes from experience and intuition. Also, it has taught me to make sure I take BOTH screwdrivers any time I am working under the hood of my car. Also – stuff happens. Your best efforts to stick to a time frame WILL be thwarted, so plan accordingly.

Otherwise, you may end up with nothing but a sunburn and a poorly drawn turtle to show for your efforts.


Adventures in Work – In The Beginning…

A few months ago, one of my co-workers mentioned that I always talked about the many different jobs I’ve had over the course of my life, and asked the question, “How many jobs have you had, ANYWAY?”

I didn’t know the exact count at the time, so I started listing them in Notepad. More interesting than the actual number of jobs was the variety of work. Some people start out in the restaurant business and seem to gravitate towards that industry for most of their life. Looking back, it seems like I have flitted around like a crack-addled butterfly searching for…whatever it is that a crack-addled butterfly looks for.

It occurred to me that all of these experiences have become part of me and shaped me into the person I am today, so let’s take a little stroll down Employment History Lane and see what I’ve learned.

Lawnmowers and the CraftSatan Trimmer

Mowing lawns. I’m sure that most young boys have seen this as a surefire way to earn some extra cash during the summer. After all, everyone has a lawn but no one wants to mow it. It’s tedious, boring, and hot. Why not pay someone younger, in better shape, and with more energy? Free market, baby!

While my friends were out building up a clientele, I decided to look for something a little easier. Something involving less face-to-face interaction with people. See, I was a horribly shy teenager. Something to do with having red hair, bad teeth, and just not generally fitting in with the rest of the world. I hated talking to strangers, especially if I had to try to sell them something.

How to overcome this? Simple – my dad was an outgoing friendly guy, and he somehow had a connection to a manager of some apartment buildings in our neighborhood. The guys regular lawn care tech (probably another teenager needing some cash) had bailed on him, and the lawn at the apartments was getting out of control. My dad basically acted as my agent and asked me how much I wanted to mow the lawns at the complex.

Now, I had ridden by the complex several times, but never really paid attention. I thought I knew the lay of the land and how much grass they had, so I told my dad to quote him $50.00 for the whole thing. (Remember, this was in the mid-80′s and $50.00 was a lot back then.)

To dad’s credit, he tried to talk into asking for $100.00. I told him that I didn’t want to price myself out of the opportunity, and stuck to my original price.  I still remember the look on dad’s face – it was a mixture of, “You’re passing up an easy hundred here…” and “…but the lesson you learn will be priceless.”

Two days later, I had the job. The guy would even provide the mower, trimmer, and gas. I laughed at all my sucka friends who had to bring their OWN tools to THEIR jobs. HA! I was going to show THEM!

I showed up for my first day on the job, comfortably dressed in shorts, a tank top, hat, and tennis shoes. No socks, I didn’t want to get them stained with grass…I was THINKING! I also had fresh batteries in my Walkman (If you’ve never heard of one, you haven’t lived and I pray for your soul…) and some bootleg legally purchased cassette ready to go.

This is how I imagined it would end up

This is how I imagined it would end up

The guy takes me to the shed where the tools were, gave me a quick lesson the gas trimmer (since I’d never operated one before) and then left me to work, with the understanding that I would get paid when I was done.

The first section was easy enough – some minor trimming, then just plow through the grass. The second section was a little tougher – there were some rocks to work around and couple of trees that slowed me down. But I was still under two hours for the whole thing. I figured that was about $25.00/hour, which was RIDICULOUS money…at least on a per hour basis.

I finished up what I THOUGHT was the final section, and put the tools away, proud of myself for all my hard work. I headed over to the office and told him I was done. He looked out his office window and said, “No – you missed some. In fact, you missed a LOT…come here.”

He proceeded to destroy my world. There were sections of grass that I hadn’t accounted for. Lots of them. So many areas around the complex. I don’t remember exactly how many. I figured, “Okay – this is my fault, I didn’t realize there was this much, but a deal is a deal.” I pulled the tools back out and started with the trimming.

I don’t know exactly how or why the trimmer became possessed. It may have been something I did or said. In any event, it decided at that moment to lose its mind and start unraveling ALL of the line. At once. Right across my unprotected shins. (Remember the shorts? Yeah…)

I will destroy you and everything you care about...

I will destroy you and everything you hold dear…

Foot after foot of spinning, twirling, lashing DEATH FIBER attacked my legs. Now before you say, “But Michael – just let go of the trigger!” let me just point out one thing…THAT WAS THE FIRST THING I DID! But being that this was now a CraftSatan trimmer, it didn’t care that I had release the trigger. The blasted thing kept running at full tilt. Drop it, you say? All fine and dandy except it wasn’t MY trimmer and I didn’t want to risk breaking it and losing my now pathetically small paycheck. After what felt like a half hour of being whipped by angry Leprechauns (it was probably 5-10 seconds tops…) I finally decided to shove the spinny part into the dirt. That seemed to at least slow down the onslaught, and finally the demon device sputtered to a stop.

So there I stand…sunburned (SUNSCREEN…that’s what I forgot this morning!), bleeding from my shins, tired, thirsty, and VERY disillusioned with this whole “earning a living” thing. I grudgingly finished mowing an area roughly the size of Nebraska, put the tools away, and stumbled over to collect my pay. At this point, I’d been out there for about six hours, and my hourly rate had dropped to $8.33. Still above minimum wage, but nowhere near what I THOUGHT it was going to be. The guy expressed some concern about the dried blood running down my legs, but I didn’t really want to talk about it. I just wanted to go home and sleep. I mumbled something about his trimmer not working right, I’m sorry I didn’t finish the trimming the way I wanted, etc. He seemed a little concerned as I shuffled off, soaked in blood, sweat and grass stains.

When my dad asked me how it went, I told him everything. I also told him to tell the guy that I was REALLY sorry, but I couldn’t do it again. Not even for more money. I just never wanted to cut grass again as long as I lived. I don’t remember if dad talked me into going back or not. I may have repressed those memories.

The Takeaway

So what did I learn from all this? What life lesson has stuck with me as a result of this experience? Always, always, always get clarification about the scope of a job.

What is expected of me? Where do my responsibilities end? Do I sufficiently understand the scope of this project, and am I being compensated enough for it? Remember, when negotiating on a project, it’s okay to price yourself out of the competition sometimes.

All projects involve scope creep, and you have to budget that in when you’re working on a project, but at the same time it is YOUR responsibility to make sure that you fully understand the project AND that your client fully understands what results you will deliver.

Otherwise, you open yourself up to attacks by possessed weed eaters.

This just about sums it up...

This just about sums it up…

 

Jobs so far: 1


YouTube Easter Egg

So it appears that the Google engineers have done it once again. While I may not understand the whole Harlem Shake phenomenon, I can appreciate the way it seems to be a trending fad.

The current Easter Egg involves searching YouTube for “do the Harlem Shake” – I won’t spoil the surprise for you – just click here.

As an added bonus, here are some actual Harlem residents reacting to the Harlem Shake.