punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Machines, Parties, and Ex-bosses

Man, I ate too late last night, now I'm up at 4:00am with indigestion. My life isn't all a Lewis Black rant-a-thon, though. I thought I'd use some of this time for the Kaopectate to settle to write that some good stuff does happen to me.

Recently, I got some new stuff. At Evecon, I got a Cisco 2514 Router (it's really Bruce's, but he's letting me borrow it), some T1 CSU box, a Dell GX110 (P2/450), and the final icing on the cake, a 1987, slightly modified, Compaq Personal III "luggable" computer. It's a pre-laptop era blazing 12mhz 286 chip with 2.5mb RAM and an amber monochrome plasma gas screen (pictured on the left). And it works! Well, it did when I fixed it. The proprietary attached keyboard didn't work well, so I took it apart with the new Leatherman Wave I got for Christmas, and cleaned some of the white corrosion off the key contacts on the circuit board. That's when the guy who ended up with it gave it to me. Hee! After I took it home, I cleaned it up, formatted and fixed the hard drive (20mb... oooh...), put MS-DOS 6.22 on it, and it works great. I got a guy on Ebay to sell me a parallel port => CAT5 LAN, so now maybe I can network it. It already has a 1200bps modem, but no thanks! I wouldn't even know what drivers work with it. This is such a geek toy, I love getting old computers to work. The glowing orange plasma screen is so retro!

I used The CPIII to reprogram the router (I have my own Cisco serial to console adapter), which thanks to my Cisco training, I knew how to bypass the password using console break, command mode, the 0x2012 register, and just wiping what was there. I do plan on getting my CCNA, but not until after Katsucon.

The GX110 was in bad shape. It was in a place where there was a lot of coal dust, and the video card was pretty wonky. So bad, in fact, I had to whack it a few times to get it to work. So I put in an old one I had, and viola! It worked. Then I put Mandrake Linux on it, because somebody borrowed my Red Hat CDs and never returned them. I could burn more, but Red Hat is getting ready to release 8.1 soon, so I am going to wait. Then the RAM went bad, but I had some spare RAM, and now it works great. That's the system that got the 60mb Hard drive I was whining about. It has errors. :( The e2fsck utility states it has 15 bad blocks, and I am not sure what I can do to fix them. IBM has a utility, so I will try that. The drive went bad after a corrupted OS install, and even though I have done a total format, it's still wonky.

Later today, we're having a party. A bunch of friends are coming over and playing Cranium. One of the great things about this house is that it's huge, and can hold bigger parties. Now we have decent furniture downstairs, so people can sit around in a wrap-around environment, conducive to conversation. Before, everything was in a straight line, so you had to lean forward and turn to your left or right to speak to anyone. We'll get a fire going, it will be cool. I know Missie, Dave, and Roberta are coming.

I tried to invite some old friends, Gretchen and Mike, both fellow ex-managers of the furntiure chain we used to work for. I saw Gretchen at the Best Buy in Fairfax, and it was awesome to see her again. She was one of the best bosses I ever had, and she was only 18 at the time! Mike was the Uber-manager of the chain, he had been around since its opening. Gretchen finally quit, and we lost touch, while Mike was let go because his boss was ... nuts. He is now working for Matress Discounters in their corporate offices as some high muckety muck. Gretchen gave me their contact info, and we invited them to the party, but we haven't heard back.

Gretchen was an odd one, but in a good way. She ate Mexican cuisine when she got sick, so you'd hear her say, "Ugh... I feel like I am going to throw up... let me go get a burritto..." And she'd actually feel better after eating it. She also used to dance to Tag Team's "Whoop, There It Is!" all the time. I hope her music selection has expanded.

Mike... always struck me as that guy you always see at bull riding rodeos, silent, alone, watching, and pretty innocuous. But once you got to know him, he was very funny, with a wide smile, and a side of wit. One weird trait about him was that no one ever saw him eat. At work, he'd bring a huge thermos of coffee and sip that all day. One assistant he was training got nervous, because when he saw Mike did not eat, he assumed this job didn't include lunch breaks. It took him two days to gain the courage to ask for one. Mike also taught me the killer interview, with questions like, "Give me three reasons not to hire you," and "See this stuff we just got in? This is CRAP! What do you think?"

Mike taught Gretchen, and Gretchen later taught me. I learned GREAT management stuff from them. For a while, they were an item and dated, but then split up. Now they live together again, so I am not sure if they got back togather, or it's platonic. But either way, they sure are cool.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000014.html
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