They Call It Stormy Monday*

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Tuesday’s just as bad.

Wednesday’s worse.

And Thursday’s also sad.

Photos from the parking lot at my apartments this morning, after a very rainy night. These muddy waters are silt washing down from the building just above us on the hill. The dirt is washing out and down a wall and down our drain.

This worries me.

And yet…it’s kind of pretty.

From the earth to the sewer

It’s like my own little Milky Way

The building’s not falling down the hill tomorrow. Or next week. But slowly and surely, the land is washing away.

Many years in the Bay Area and this still baffles me.

Photos Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page. Photos taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.

*Post inspired by a rainy day and the bluesman named Muddy Waters.

Born Under a Bad Sky

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This was what the sky looked like yesterday evening as I left work for the day at my company’s Sacramento office.

Was it just the high winds as they blew across the Sacramento valley that caused this look? Is it simply the jet stream of late fall?

Either way, as I got into the Jeep, I was humming a little Creedence Clearwater Revival.

“There’s a bad moon on the rise….”

(click for full size)

Photo by Karen Fayeth and Copyright 2011.

This morning I drove home to the Bay Area where creepy dappled clouds are replaced by solid gray dripping clouds.

Welcome to a cold, rainy weekend.


Think the cat will let me squeeze onto a corner of the heater vent?

Photo taken with my iPhone4s and the Camera+ app. Photo subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column of this page.

Hot Town, Summer in The City


Whooo, yesterday was the last day of July. Today’s the first day of August. Hot times, no? The dead of summer. Sun high in the sky. Shorts, flip flops, and sun tea.

Asphalt so hot you can’t stand on it cuz it’s melting.

Then around 4:00 the monsoons roll in and unleash the rain and hail. Finally the sun sets on a warm, beautiful night.

Right? Oh wait, that’s New Mexico.

Fourteen years in the Bay Area still hasn’t gotten me used to summers that look like this:

Copyright 2011 Rafael Monterrosa, and used with permission.

This beautiful photo was posted yesterday by my Twitter friend and San Francisco resident, Rafael Monterrosa. Sutro Tower is partially hidden in the background as the fog crawls over the hill, ready to lay down and blanket my City.

I swear to you, the fog is a living, breathing entity.

Summer mornings start out gray and overcast. By noon, the gray has burned off leaving beautifully warm blue sky days. THIS is the golden California they talk about. Just about the time I manage to sit back with a glass of iced tea and let the sun warm my bones, the fog rolls over the hill, the temperature drops twenty degrees, and the pants, long sleeves and hot beverages come out.

And ya’ll wonder why we crazy San Franciscians have a party for a glass. You have no idea how nice an Irish coffee is on a cold damp summer night in the Bay Area.

I guess for me, the ol’ “make hay while the sun shines” is in effect. I just took a nice long walk in the blue sky’d afternoon, eyeing the fog already peeking over the hills to the west, ready to smother the warm out of my day.

*sigh* No wonder my Vitamin D is so low. Frappin’ Marine Layer.

Stamp Out Business Speak


So when I wandered over the fun Theme Thursday page, I noted that this week’s theme word is: Cloud

Whenever I get the weekly word, I always take a moment to sit back and think about it. What are the first impressions that come to mind? What hits first?

So I did that this week. Cloud…cloud…what does that say to me….?

First thought: Freaking cloud! “In the Cloud” and “Cloud computing” and “it’s all about the cloud.”


I haaaaaaate the ubiquitous use of the word “cloud” in today’s technical jargon.

This concept isn’t new. It isn’t bold. It’s the same old bullsheet that’s been tried several times with mixed results.

Once upon a time they called it hosted software. And then they called it application service provider or the more hip ASP. Back in the really golden old days they called it a Key Server. Even older than that was the not-very-PC term “dumb terminals”.

It’s all essentially the same.

I think “the cloud” is a dumb topic. Damnit, it’s not new and it’s not anywhere near as cool as the marketing would have you believe.

Here’s what those cloud providers want you to do….they want you to save nothing on your own local machine. They want you to put every single dingle bit of your information on their servers. All of it. All your letters to gramma. All of your negative balance bank statements. Your high school diploma. That email to your doctor about the funny bump on your rump. ALL OF IT.

And in return they promise, cross my heart and hope to die, that they’ll keep ALL of your data safe, tidy and secure.

Umm hmm.

Here’s where my skepticism comes in. I’ve worked in data centers. I’ve been a part of some of the most sophisticated and well regarded data centers in the world. And you know what? Sh%t happens.

Here’s a real world example: Very big data center in a very well regarded Fortune 50 company. My team had racked and stacked a large number of servers and storage devices. We were providing a for pay service to our customers with extraordinarily high expectations and high SLA’s.

Some of the best and brightest database admins, network managers, technical support, and engineering minds maintained this environment to very tiny tolerances.

One evening, the cleaning crew was doing their work in the data center and they plugged their vacuum into the power strip carrying the very, very delicate power balance for that entire row.

And they blew the circuit.

Now, we’d engineered the environment to fail over, and it did….but it was about a week to get all of those servers and storage devices brought back up, data restored and back to running in the production environment.

I suggested we put baby proof socket covers on the power strips, and my suggestion was immediately adopted.

Then there was the time the maintenance crew pushed a cart down the aisle and knocked the Ethernet cable out of every machine at about three feet high level. It took us a LONG time to sort out what happened there.

And then one New Year’s Eve, a new security guard opened a wrong door and set off the alarm. In his haste to shut off the alarm, he hit a button by the door. The button was marked EPO. So he pushed it hard.

EPO means “emergency power off” used in the case of something catastrophic. An alarmed door is not catastrophic. The entire data center went dark and knocked a several million dollar a day online store to go off the air.


My point? If you entrust the cloud, back up your data locally. There are a million yabos in the world who can mess things up, even in the best of circumstances.

Down with the cloud!

Photo by username joegus74 and used royalty free from stock.xchng.