I’ve spent the last 10 days up here in Buffalo New York. I’m putting a Lustre cluster together for a cancer research institute.

The trip started out on a sad note. Gandalf was not happy with me when he saw me packing my bag. He wouldn’t even look at me. The hardest part about getting ready to leave is disappointing my pup. Go figure.

I miss the guy. He loves hanging out with me in the mornings. Sitting on the porch. I’m drinking my coffee, he has his head out between the railings watching the world go by.

 

Here is a statue I’m seeing a lot lately. I remember when I flew out the first time to interview with Sandia Labs and seeing this statue. I thought it was pretty neat. Now I walk by and half the time I don’t even look up. I think that’s pretty sad. We should always try and notice the world around us.

Buffalo is an interesting place. It reminds me of a cold Seattle. Overcast, grey, etc. You can tell there is a history of manufacturing here. Row houses, old shut down plants, abandoned factories, etc. Just the feel of some of the neighborhoods.

Downtown was pretty neat. It’s a fairly modern city in that regards. Definitely shuts down at night though. Almost nothing was open.

I also found a place with a Marilyn Monroe statue. A local underground bar. Any place with a Marilyn statue is a happy place. 🙂

On Saturday I took a Lyft up to Niagara Falls. It was raining and chilly, but definitely worth the visit. Not sure when I’ll get another chance.

 

This is me being soaked and waiting for the bus back into Buffalo. Yep, I took the bus for grins. I love to adventure when I’m in a new town. See the sites, experience the place.  By the time I got back to the hotel I was literally soaked. 

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With the good comes the not so good. Last night at about 11pm I hear the kids holler “a pipe broke!”. Oh crap! Well, it turns out it wasn’t a pipe but rather the septic system backing up into the downstairs bathroom and over flowing the toilet.

I run outside and pop the top off one of the clean outs and drain the sewer water into the gravel instead of the house.

Next morning I call the septic guy.

We then have to dig up the access cover to the septic tank effluent filter. Yes, it was buried.

We finally get the tank pumped out.

The effluent filter cleaned

And life is good again. I have learned more about septic systems in the last 24 hours than I thought I would ever learn. Turns out it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid of.

So. I had a thought this morning while driving to the customers data center.  I’m currently traveling around the country for Hewlett-Packard Enterprises. I don’t know how long I’ll be doing this, if it’s short term or long. However, while I’m doing it, I’m seeing some parts of the country that I’ve never been. It might be nice to make comments and write about what it’s like in each area. That’s my thought at least.

So. Right now I’m in Woburn, MA.  Just outside of Boston. I’m here putting a Cloudera cluster together for a customer. I’m part time out in Lowell, MA and part time downtown.

So. This morning. I woke up after a long day of travel from Albuquerque, NM. We had a medical emergency on the flight and had to return to the ABQ terminal. Fingers crossed the guy who had the heart attack survived. It didn’t look good, but the paramedics are the best. So, fingers crossed. Because of that I missed my connecting flight in Atlanta. Which means I finally got into Boston late at night.

I think Google Maps has a personality. Because I pissed it off. Coming out of Boston Logan Airport I missed a turn and google ended up taking me through some pretty sketchy neighborhoods and a seriously round about path to my hotel. I’ve seen more industrial areas of Boston than I knew existed.

This morning I woke up feeling pretty icky. Sinus’s were stuffed, head ache, moving slow, no coordination. Way too many people at breakfast. If they went left I went the same way, etc. headed to the car to drive to the Lowell data center. I still felt pretty crappy. Just couldn’t get motivated.

Then I noticed the trees. The trees here are starting to change colors. The air was cold, almost frosty breath cold. It felt like a pre-winter day in Seattle. A humid, cold day. With orange, red, green trees.  Then I noticed, the traffic wasn’t really that bad. I was moving along okay. In fact, I decided to get off the turnpike and take some back roads. Google Maps bitched a bit, but gave me directions anyways.

I passed houses right out of the revolution. Any one of which could have been the home of some famous revolutionary at the beginning of America. It dawned on me that I was driving over old cart paths that took our founding fathers around. Literally.

I know my friends in the UK are going “#$% traitors!”. 🙂 It’s history my friends. For good or ill. And looking at our current president, well, it’s really a debate. So, think the Queen will take us back? Kind of like rebellious teenagers? We’ve learned out lesson.

As an American who grew up in the west. Well, this is pretty cool stuff. I am literally walking in the footsteps of our founding fathers.  In fact, this weekend I plan on following Freedom Trail.  Either that or drive down to New York city to have a Manhattan in Manhattan. 🙂 I’ll try to post my adventures later.

Back to my impressions of Boston. So far, it’s been a pretty good experience. I really like how the houses make me think of the 1700’s. The roads are mainly 2 lane back-roads with freeways/turnpikes as main thoroughfares. The people have been friendly. Even if the speak funny. “I pahked my kah in tha pahkin loht.”

Tomorrow is my first day in downtown Boston. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Doing some work on Black Betty, my new Toyota Tacoma.

So far I’ve replaced some interior lights, replaced the radio, added floor mats, etc.

Now I’m putting sound deadiner in the doors and on the back wall.

Here is the before.

And here is the after.

And the passenger door.

Next is the back wall, then the floor. Then new speakers, amp, bass, etc.

I had a lot of fun up in Telluride Colorado last weekend. I went up for the Blues and Brews Festival. Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood, plus a ton of others.

Got a bit cold sleeping in the tent, but still fun.

I’m in Florida for almost two weeks, so I did a drive over the weekend.

Drove through the Everglades on, what the locals, call Gator Alley.

Up to Port Charlotte to visit with Bubba and Tammi. My friend John’s brother and sister in law. We had a good visit.

Then up to just south of Orlando to see Jeff and Inga. Jeff gave me the best gift, and a sad one.

Then down along Lake Okeechobee back to Miami. Sadly, I didn’t realize that the lake is surrounded by an embankment. Here’s my less than exciting view.

And back to Miami to finish up and leave, hopefully, before Irma makes landfall.

Florida can be a fun place.

Hanging out in Miami for a week. Putting a couple of Big Data systems together for TracFone. Hot and muggy.

I’m going to try and make a run down to Key West on Saturday and then up to the Bradenton area to see John’s family and have a beer with Jeff. It’s been a long time.

Here’s my home away from home this week.

About a 25% chance I’ll be headed for Buenos Aires in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed.

One neat thing about Chicago is all of the different murals and misc art works.

I decided to upgrade my primary remote work from home system. It is definitely time.

Let’s see. I went with the AMD Ryzen 5 processor. It has been a long time since I’ve used an AMD. Time to see how they compare to the Intel chips.

I then went with a motherboard based on the X370 chipset. This will help future proof the build.

Throw on a 500gb m.2 ssd drive for smoking fast boot and gaming plus a 4tb spinning disk for storage. Add on an Nvidia GTX 1070 video card and I’ll be good to go.

On our way back from Seattle we hit torrential rains, flooded roads, wildfires, and a downdraft strong enough to rip the roof off the hotel across the street. No one was hurt thankfully. 

Made us wonder if heading back home was what we should be doing.

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