DING! Time for potty.

Benjamin has a friend who taught their dog to ring a bellhop bell that sits by the door when the dog needs to go to the bathroom. He was so impressed by this that B wanted to try it with Riley. Ever since we got Riley, when we take him outside to use the bathroom we take his paw and ring the bell once or twice before we head out. After three weeks he still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it, but he’s no longer afraid of the bell at least so I think we’re making progress.

Last night B and I were sitting at the bar working over move logistics when we hear a bell ring. We look at each other in confusion followed quickly by astonishment. Yes, Riley rang the bell all on his own. We quickly took him outside and he did indeed use the bathroom. The praise was quite effusive.

I expect he’ll get it down completely just before we move to Seattle only to confuse him with the new apartment layout.

October fill-up

I’m about 2 weeks later than usual for the fill-up this month, but that makes sense given that I was out of town for 2 weeks in RTP for work.

Date Miles Gallons Cost $/mile Dashboard MPG Actual MPG
2010-08-05 500.7 10.104 $26.42 $0.053 50.7 49.55
2010-09-08 467.6 10.309 $29.47 $0.063 50.7 45.36
2010-10-25 571.0 11.588 $31.28 $0.055 51.0 49.28

Seattle Apartment

Benjamin and I now have a place to live in Seattle. We rented a unit at the Axis Apartments at 123 2nd Ave North, just 4 blocks from my new office and one block from the Space Needle. We’re just blocks from the core of downtown and the downtown hotels where we’re hoping B gets a job. It’s a work/live loft configuration with two entrances, one from the street and one from the inside of the access-controlled building, In many ways it reminds us of the loft we had in downtown Denver — except instead of being 100 years old, the building is only 2 years old.

It’s going to be another drastic change from a 2 bedroom house with basement back down to a 934 sq ft apartment, but we’ve done it before. And once again we’re mostly starting fresh with furniture. We won’t have a spare bedroom but folks are welcome to come visit if you don’t mind an air mattress!

Pictures after the cut.

Introducing Riley

On Saturday while I was still in Raleigh, Benjamin went and picked up the newest member of our household, Riley:

Riley is a 10-week old black miniature schnauzer we purchased from a breeder in Brush, CO. So far he has a very low-key personality, doesn’t bark unless he needs attention (food, potty, etc), and is already the apple of Benjamin’s eye.

Introducing Seregil, my new MacBook Pro

Yesterday I received my new 15″ MacBook Pro from FedEx and I’m sure I’ll be spending the next several evenings getting it all set up. I’ve christened it Seregil from the character of Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series. (I always name my computers from characters in books — usually those I’m reading or have read recently.) It is spec’d out thusly:

  • MacBook Pro
  • 15″ high-density anti-glare screen
  • i5 2.4GHz CPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB SSD

For the past 4 years I’ve used Linux systems exclusively and when it came to purchase a new computer I decided to jump to Mac. Moving to Linux from Windows was the most productivity-enhancing change I’ve ever made and I’m hoping the swap to Mac doesn’t set me back. What appeals to me so much about Macs is that they have the classic unix underpinnings with an elegant GUI.

Currently I have a Windows VM which I use solely to put music on my iPhone. That’s going straight to /dev/null. Instead I’ll be creating a Fedora 13 (14?) VM as a backup for those things that just need a Linux touch to them. For instance, I’m going to give Apple Mail a chance, but if it just doesn’t pan out, I’ll run Evolution on the VM using VMware Fusion with Unity. I’m interested to see if The Gimp, Inkscape, and other X-Windows dependent apps behave better running in the VM rather than directly on the OS X X-server. While they function well, they just aren’t really integrated into the OS X UI.

I already have Adium, Unison, Moneydance, LibreOffice (aka: OpenOffice), and Chrome installed and configured. My iPhone library is moved over and correctly synching with my phone thanks to a bit of work getting the Library IDs sync’d between the two. Now to get VMware Fusion installed and that Linux VM created.

“No, you’re not [gay]. Trust me, I would know if you were.”

Today is National Coming Out Day and I thought I’d share one of my funnier coming out stories.

About 8 9 or so years ago I was in an internal tools team within Tivoli. My friend and teammate Jenny was most insistent about setting me up with her best friend Jan. She thought we would be a perfect match and kept after me to ask Jan out on a date. I always declined saying that while Jan was a wonderful woman, I just wasn’t interested in dating right now.

One day after work Jenny, Heath (another teammate), and myself were having drinks at Trudy’s North (well, they were having drinks and I was having a Roy Rogers). We were sitting there at the table when Jenny once again goes into her spiel about how I should ask Jan out for a date. Fed up with things, the following conversation ensues:

Me: Jenny, I’m not interested in dating Jan. I’m gay.
Jenny: <laughter> No you’re not. Trust me, I would know if you were.
Me: No, really – I’m gay.
Jenny: <looks at Heath, grinning> Can you believe this guy?
Heath: <serious face>
Jenny: <looks back at me> Really?
Me: <serious face>
Jenny: <suddenly gets it> Oh my god. Oh my god! You’re serious!
Me: <nod>
Jenny: <short pause> So, any cute guys at the office you have your eye on? Anyone I should set up you up with?

She went from trying to set me up with Jan, to disbelief, acceptance, and then trying to set me up with a guy in about 60 seconds flat. And true to form, neither Jenny or Heath ever did blink at me being gay — it was entirely a non-issue for them.

Obviously I never did date Jan, but she and I did become fast friends after all.

Last day at IBM: November 15

Yesterday I gave notice to my manager that my last day at IBM would be November 15th. I’ve accepted a job with Isilon in Seattle and start on November 16th.

It was a hard choice leaving IBM. My manager, Woody, is wonderful, professional and personable. The entire ITIM team, from management, architects, development, test, support, services, and sales are all a real class act and I’ve enjoyed working with every one of them. But after ~7 years working on ITIM and ~10.5 years at IBM, it’s time to move on to something else.

I’ve seen ITIM grow from a blue-washed acquisition that didn’t scale all that well to a robust enterprise-level product that easily supports millions of users. IBM and the ITIM team allowed me to craft my own job description (my title has always been “Performance Peon” to anyone who asked) and in essence do whatever it is that I thought needed to be done. I’ve been empowered to work with customers both directly and indirectly through L2/L3 support. I’ve influenced ITIM product architecture and design goals. I’ve published, with virtually no supervision, a performance tuning document that is the first line of defense for our customers when performance issues arise. (According to the stats, the tuning guide in its various editions and versions was downloaded 1043 times last month and 26,216 times total since the first release in June 2006!) Heck, I’ve even sweet-talked developers into fixing bad grammar in configuration file comments!

It’s been a fun ride but it’s time to play in a different amusement park.

More details and ramblings about this to follow.

Youth Suicide: It Gets Better when We Give a Damn

Growing up I never could figure out why anyone would attempt suicide. What could possibly be so bad that you’d end your life? The concept itself was competely foreign to me.

Flash forward to sometime in 2000 when I was struggling with accepting who I was. At the time I felt like my very soul was being torn apart. I grew up knowing that gay people were bad, evil even, and obviously outside God’s will. Yet I knew I was undeniably gay and it wasn’t something I had chosen. I was crushed between two contradictory facts, each of which I believed in my core. I felt very alone. I was terrified of telling anyone I loved for fear of getting pushed farther away — knowing that such rejection might result in me doing something stupid. It was at that very lowest point of my life that I understood why some people consider suicide. I’d like to think that it was the realization of where I was, the meta-cognitition of why some people kill themselves, rather than any self-destructive thoughts of my own, that forced me to turn the corner — but perhaps that’s splitting hairs.

Regardless, the very next day I went to my doctor, told him what I was struggling with, and he started me on anti-depressants. He was the first person I ever told I was gay. Eventually I started telling the people I loved starting with my friend Meg. I still recall the day I told her — and receiving her immediate acceptance and unequivical support. Over the next few months I told others — waiting for the right moment before putting that little bit of myself out there and hoping for the best. To my surprise, most everyone was supportive. Sure there were a few that weren’t so supportive, my parents among them, but some of them have come around in time.

To anyone who is struggling with being gay: it gets better. Others have been through it before and there are people who can help you where you’re at. Don’t go through it alone and don’t give up.

To everyone else: lets all give a damn.