Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nashville, Day 2: Back To School

Monday morning I woke up at 6:30 AM CST, 4:30 AM PST. Ugh. Note to self: the body needs more sleep.

I head to the VMWare training. It's a cold morning, and the Pontiac Lingam is chilly. The VMWare training turns out to be really interesting. It assumes that the student knows very little. I'm surrounded by systems administrators and network engineers, but the class is designed well enough for me to keep up. Actually, my lack of knowledge is kind of a blessing, as I can ask the questions no one else wants to ask, since it's hard for me to make myself look more ignorant than I am. I'm nerdily surprised at how other students will let confusing or contradictory information go without questioning it. Yeah, that's right: I'm that guy: "Excuse me, John. Excuse me? Yes. I have another question. Thank you." John: "(Sigh)"

My partner for the class's lab work is Jared. He's really good at answering all my questions about networking, storage, and Nashville. Also (super bonus) is able to say "I don't know. Let's go see what Wikipedia says."

At lunch, to prevent the same level of cabin fever that I suffered two years ago on-site at VISA, I dashed out after lunch for a drive in the twenty minutes left before class. Blue skies, cold, wisps of white cirrus. Cute neighborhoods -- no fences, bricked houses, deciduous trees. I serendipitously passed a liquor store at my turn-around point, so I went in to see if I could find a good bourbon I hadn't heard of before. The ladies behind the counter were so funny, so ready to pontificate about the best bourbon to be had. They recommended "Bullitt", which I have heard of, and am a bit wary of since it seems so heavily marketed. "No, really, we're fancy bourbon. Don't let the taste fool you -- just look at the price tag for proof." However, in the spirit of cross-Mississippi comradery, I bought a bottle. We'll try a taste test tonight and get back to you with the results.

After the full day of training, I get back to the hotel. I put on my running clothes and head downstairs. As I'm getting out of the elevator, who do I see but our two VMWare instructors, enjoying the free booze at the Embassy Suite's complementary happy hour. Now, I know for a fact that they're not rooming here, they're staying down the road at the Marriott. It's like these savvy road warriors / Zen masters have unasked the question of "What does it mean to be guests of a hotel?" or "Who really owns beer?". They have much to teach. I am humbled.

So, back to running. You've heard of the tourism slogan "Virginia is for lovers"? They should have a similar slogan for Tennessee, but it would likely say something like "Tennessee is not for runners" or "Tennessee: Have a Death Wish?" Running last night was total suicide. First off, it's bleeding cold, and I've forgotten my gloves. Half way in to the run my dignity was overruled by my better judgment and I took off my wet and stinky socks, and put them over my frozen hands like gloves, and put my bare feet back in my shoes. I had to be extra careful not to wipe my nose with my hands -- once was enough to learn me. Second, there are no sidewalks anywhere and very few street lights. So, it's pitch black, freezing, stinky socks on my hands, and every few seconds I have to jump off the roadway into some bushes to avoid being killed by passing cars. What a great way to relax after a long day, yeah?

So, I cut the run short and drove to Backyard Burger, which a local had recommended: "It's just like a burger you'd make at home." I was, as always, skeptical but receptive to this potentially life-changing experience. At the drive through, I had to wait five minutes for an order for the car in front me to be processed. My order took seven minutes. Seriously. They should have a slogan, "Backyard Burger: I hope you're not in a rush." However, it was just fine because (a) I wasn't in class, (b) I wasn't freezing cold any more, (c) my hands no longer had smelly socks on them, and (d) I was listening to some great XM stations in my Pontiac Phallus.

My Backyard Burger was simply outstanding. I actually had to take a photo of the burger before I ate it since I wanted to have proof to back up my claim that it was the only fast-food burger I've had that looked its stupid picture on the menu. If it takes twelve minutes to have it prepared, so be it. It was delicious, and I was very, very happy. Sadly I left my camera's USB cable at home, so you won't be able to see the deliciousness.

So, full of burger, I headed downstairs for a little pool-time before bed. I relaxed with a book in the spa and took a few laps in the pool. I had the place to myself. Back in the spa, these two young women in string bikinis got in the spa. They turn on the comically-strong jets and started discussing high heels. Now, it probably says something about both my rock-solid fidelity and, sadly, the crotchetiness of my advancing age, but I got annoyed and headed upstairs. "I'm trying to read, here, people!"

Then, the testing of "Bullitt". It is tasty and smooth, but way too high proof for the flavor (90 proof) -- it burns the nose. I must shamefully admit that I had to add a little water to cut it. Now I know I'm getting older.

A call to Ashleigh reveals that Erin is anxious to start moving. She's on her hands, belly, and knees, rocking back and forth. Lordy, I'm gone a single day, and I'm already missing Erin excitement. I talk it over with Erin, and ask her to hold off a few more days until I return. Let's hope she ignores me.


Caroline said...

MMM, Backyard Burger: the South's answer to In-n-out! definitely beats grits at the Waffle House! I haven't had a Backyard Burger in 10 years!

try Rebel Yell bourbon. or maybe it's Tennessee whiskey. either way, just fine sippin'.

John Judy said...

Bullitt finishes a bit hot for my tastes, but I know I lot of folks that like it. I lean towards Basil Hayden and the like. Meh, some folks like moonshine, some folks like whiskey.

Do they seriously teach classes in VMWare? I dunno, but from what I've seen and run in my home lab, it's pretty much sysadmin 101 type of stuff. Watch your partitions, page files, cluster size, yadda, yadda, yadda. Ones and zeros, to quote Mr. Kelso.

Brian said...

Yeah, I hope to hit up Waffle House tomorrow morning if the snow clears.

As for VMWare classes, yeah, it's probably basic stuff for the other student, but there's a lot of best practices around the management of multiple VMs, storage, and networking which they seem to find valuable, even though they already manage many virtualized machines.

Ms. A said...

Enough shop talk! Let's talk more about whiskey! Did someone mention nothin says valentine's day like a good shot of moonshine ..... 'cause Backyard Burgers probably won't keep for the ride back home.