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One Province, Two Countries, Nine States, 18 flights, -40 degrees, 16500 miles

Just to give you an idea of what my job entails, its my duty to help get the hardware ready for the customer.  This entails installing/removing hardware components, operating systems loading, installing applications, racking and unracking hardware.  In 2009 I just happened to be racking equipment in New York City, Los Angeles and Calgary.  2009 was a busy year to say the least.  All were for business except the trip to Portland Oregon.  Here is a graphic showing all the flights I took in 2009, as the bird flies, it was about 16500 miles of air travel.  And boy are my arms tired.

In February I went to setup a small environment for my company.  Its a pretty standard setup, a switch, couple of firewalls, KVM, hand full of  servers and a NAS (Network Attached Storage).  I went back in March to move some equipment that we had located in another data center that we were moving to our new location.  First time I went I stayed out by the La Guardia Airport in Queens.  It was about an hour subway ride to the data center in downtown Manhattan.  When I went back the second time they put me up in The Hudson, it was about a block away from Central Park.  It was pretty nice but the room was tiny.  In the hotel room mini bar, you could by not only liquor but also candy bars, gummy bears and iPod chargers.  One thing I did like about NYC was the street food.  From the assorted roasted nuts, pretzels, pizza and hot dogs to what I think was some kind of Middle Eastern/Indian food (that was delicious).  The smells of these foods helped drown out the not so good smells of the city.

Next on my flight plan was a trip to Portland Oregon to my cousins wedding.  It was a somewhat last minute decision to go, but I needed a few days off work so I scoured the nets to find flights and hotel rooms.  After a night of itinerary planning I settled on one.  The next day I received a call from the booking agency (Travelocity if I remember correctly) telling me that they were unable to book the flights that I had purchased.  After about an hour on the phone with them the only thing they could find was twice as much as the previous package.  Ended up canceling everything, at one point we were on a three way call with my credit card company removing the charges.  Looked a couple of days later and found something for about the same price as before but had to fly through Houston for part of the flight.  Not that big of a deal just makes for long traveling times.  The wedding was actually in Washington just across the Columbia River, about 30 miles east of Portland Oregon at a place called The Skamania Lodge.  It was a small wedding as both sides of the family lived pretty far away.  His side mostly from Kansas and her side, just a little bit farther, from Taiwan.  It was a beautiful location and ceremony, if you like mountains, trees and water.

Next up was a leisurely visit to sunny Los Angeles.  And when I say leisurely I mean most unequivocally not at all.  I stayed in downtown LA at the Westin Bonaventure and even had a view of the Hollywood sign from my room.  Fun Fact: It is the hotel that Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the movie True Lies,  rides up an elevator on a horse!  I arrived at the data center at 9am, the racking and cabling of our equipment only took a couple of hours.  A similar environment was installed in LA to that which was put in NYC.  But that was only part of the fun.  We had taken over management of an existing environment of about 20 or 30 servers and networking equipment spread over three racks.  It was my job to completely re-cable and organize the networking and power cables, be hands and feet for our guys back in KC that were helping transition over to a new subnet.  Finally finished cabling and testing at 6am, it was a long day.  Spent the next day or two tidying up cables and tying up loose ends.  Didn’t get much of a chance to explore Downtown LA except 5 block route from my hotel to the data center.  They say that New York is the city that never sleeps, I would have to agree with that.  Not sure what LA would be then, when I was heading back to my hotel around 1am on a Saturday night (Sunday morning) there was almost nobody driving or walking around downtown LA.  It was sort of creepy.  After I got up from sleeping off my 20 or so hour day I ate at an Asian place in the hotel and got a bowl of noodles about the size of my head.  It felt like I had a hangover from being in the data center with 65 degree air blowing on me and standing up for 20 hours.  The spicy noodles and pork helped clear my head.  The bottom 4 floors of my hotel was sort of like a shopping mall.  There were shops, lots of places to eat, fancy restaurants, a liquor store, night club, jewelry store, and even a brewery (yes, I even had a few of their beers).  In fact I did all my eating and shopping in my hotel which was nice since I didn’t have a car.

To be continued… ahy

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