The Heat Wave Is Finally Over

I’m thankful that the heat wave is finally over—at least, in my part of California—now that it decided to leave the state to torment the Midwest. Nothing worse than getting up in the morning to look like you just got done at the gym with a sweaty workout, your deodorant committing suicide before you put it on and your cologne desperately wants to go on a pig. It was that bad.

The only break I got last week was seeing the Michael McDonald and Steely Dan concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, where the cold breeze from the nearby San Francisco bay cooled things down. Since the last few days were cooler than normal, I’m now sick with the cold. My ability to suffer in so many ways has been unrelenting this summer.

Weird things can happen during a heat wave.

I saw a help desk ticket at work come through for a broken sprinkler head next to an outside entrance that was attracting a swarm of hornets. My co-workers and I debated on whether to send a technician can of a can of Raid or a laptop with the latest anti-virus definitions to remove the bugs from the big blue room with the yellow light. Anyway, facilities got the ticket and called the plumber to deal with the hornets. No sense in exposing a PC technician to the big blue room without sunglasses when it’s not air-conditioned.

The Neighborhood Power Transformer Went Kablooey

This morning was interesting for being more than too hot. I woke up to a loud “ka-POP” noise at 6:30AM. It sounded like a left over firecracker from Fourth of July. The filter in my 25-gallon fish tank started gurgling. The three UPSes for my computers sounded a three-alarm beep that the power was out. Trying to sleep through that racket and the heat was not possible. The overhead lights had power but there wasn’t enough juice for anything else plugged into the wall sockets.

After checking the circuit breakers and turning everything off, I took a cold shower in the dark and went to the gym. The other buildings in my apartment complex didn’t fare any better. Some emergency lights had power at full brightness, some were flickering on battery power, and a few had no power at all. When I got back 90 minutes later, the electric company was checking out the ground-level power transformer at the end of my apartment building.

The electricity returned to normal after a while. I had to reset the power strip on my 10-gallon fish tank, power-cycled the network switches, and the computers came back up without any problem. If a power transformer blew up on the street, I don’t know where. Last year, at a different apartment complex, a nearby power transformer blew up and the neighbors saw blue flames shooting up and down the lines. Summer is here now.

A Sleepless Fourth of July

I didn’t get much sleep last night with the Fourth of July celebrations going on in the neighborhood. I live two miles away from the fireworks show in downtown San Jose, where the loud air cannons thumped fireworks into the air. After the fireworks show was over at 10:00PM, the neighborhood kids—and some adults who haven’t grown up—got into the act by exploding their own illegal stash of fireworks until midnight. No fireworks celebration would be complete without tossing firecrackers into every dumpster in the apartment complex. I never did like fireworks.

The Late New Year’s Rant

My roommate and I moved to a new place at the end of January. Shortly thereafter he got engaged. We talked about getting a third roommate for the longest time, but most of the potential roommates couldn’t pass a basic credit check. I didn’t mind him getting married and her moving in. That’s like how “Shaun of The Dead” ended with the newlyweds in the house and the zombie roommate out in the shed. No problem, right?

After he got married six months later, I had to move into my own place.

I always had roommates since moving out from my parents’ place in 1993. Now that I’m living by myself for the first time in a studio apartment near San Jose City College, I’m surprised that I have enough worldly possessions to fill out the place to make it look like a home.

The only new furniture I bought was a 20-inch TV and a DVD player. After I set up my 25-gallon fish tank, I got a firemouth cichlid, a pictus catfish, half-dozen tiger barbs, and some hornwort plants. Three bookcases with all my books create a library in one corner of the room. I’m finally the master of my kitchen with all my appliances neatly organized, including a free microwave I got for signing a one-year lease. As one of my friends told me when I moved in, I would enjoy living by myself and I most certainly do.

A month later I started a help desk job at a Fortune 500 company in Mountain View. The similarities between being a lead video game tester (last job) and a help desk support specialist (current job) aren’t that great. I’m still troubleshooting for problems as they come in, talking to people, attending meetings, and trying to get things done as quickly possible. The only major difference is I’m working 40 hours a week and making the same amount of money when I worked 80 hours a week in the video game industry. I’m less stressed out about work these days as I’m no longer sacrificing my personal life at the altar of the video game gods anymore.

I had high expectations for the new year, and, so far, it’s been a mixed year.

I failed the Windows Server 2003 Environment (70-290) certification exam in January. I’m planning to take the Windows Server 2003 Network (70-291) certification exam in a few months. Microsoft is having a special promotion to retake the exam for free if you fail it the first time. I’ll retake the other one later on to complete the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certification.

I had originally planned to take four classes at SJCC in the spring semester, three in computer programming (assembly language, C# and database design) and statistics math. The entire computer department had low enrollments that all of my classes got cancelled. I’m trying to find out from the dean if he will let me graduate since I’m short of three classes. Statistics math is pretty cool and keeping me busy for this semester.