Full-throttle Halloween (or Halloween Balls to the Wall)

So, I sorta hinted that I’d write this on a FB post. I’d like to say it’s just another article, but it’s the first I’ve posted here in nearly a decade (conveniently corresponding with my new job nearly a decade (!!) ago…). Since no one has had a problem with my prolific FB posts in that time, it’s probably safe to make a new blog post, especially since it has zero relation to my job, and the subsequent publication requirements/review for anything job-related…

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Life in the WiFi Fast Lane

Fuzzy WiFi problem
credit: “Fuzzy WiFi problem” by Major Clanger

I’ve been living in a crowded wasteland. The over-crowded 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g WiFi spectrum, to be exact. It used to be the only people using WiFi were the geeks and techies out there. Sometimes one would set up friends and family to be able to work wirelessly, too. But not anymore. You can’t walk down the street in most neighborhoods without discovering at least a few WiFi hot spots. And this is what poses a problem, especially in more densely-packed residential neighborhoods, such as townhouse communities, apartment building, and the like.

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Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian chili
credit: “Vegetarian chili” by Michael Gurski (that’s me!)

This recipe is a bit of a departure for me. I’m an unabashed, unapologetic carnivorous omnivore. However, it’s currently Lent, and my wife is a sometimes-practicing Catholic, and with it being Friday, we needed something that didn’t have red meat, at least for her. Last week I steamed up some Old Bay with a shrimp seasoning. ((Really, 2lbs of shrimp, and I swear there was more Old Bay than that. I like my steamed shrimp and of course crabs really heavily seasoned.)) But doing seafood regularly can get expensive if I want to prep everything myself, instead of going with processed mystery fish. Additionally, we have a lacto-vegetarian friend we want to have over for dinner, so this was a double whammy of an experiment. An experiment, I might add, that far exceeded my expectations.

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Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Apple Glaze, and Steamed Broccoli

Pork tenderloin, balsamic apple glaze
credit: “Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Apple Glaze …” by Michael Gurski (that’s me!)

Wow! Another pork recipe! I’ve got to admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for pork tenderloin. It’s significantly more affordable than beef tenderloin, but can pretty much be prepared the same way, in my experience. This isn’t one of those ways, though I may attempt a similar treatment of beef tenderloin at some point… The inspiration for this was “pork tenderloin, apple jelly”, and I let that simmer in the back of my mind for a day or two. After such a short time thinking about it (it’s supposed to be a weeknight meal, after all), I pretty much came up with a decent recipe, I hope…

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Pork Chops with Balsamic Citrus Reduction, Wilted Arugula Salad

Balsamic citrus glazed pork chop, wilted arugula salad, and asparagus
credit: “Balsamic citrus glazed pork …” by Michael Gurski (that’s me!)

This is the dinner I’d planned to make on Friday night, but was just too tired to attempt after a longish week with nights of poor sleep. It started life last weekend with the kernel of an idea that was simply “pork medallions”. I left it alone for a few days, trying to think of what that would mean, how I’d prepare them, what to serve with them. Would I try to find a small pork tenderloin and try to do the piggy equivalent of filet mignon? That was tempting, I’ll admit. But soon I started thinking “orange juice reduction”, too. And that didn’t really seem to mesh well with the whole porky filet idea.

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Improvised Sausage & Peppers Rustico

Sausage & Peppers 3
credit: “Sausage & Peppers 3” by Michael Gurski (that’s me!)

So Thursday night, I decided I wanted to do something different with sausage. Earlier in the week, I’d taken a kielbasa out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge, forgetting that we had other meals planned for the next few nights already. So, it sat in the fridge for a few days, and I was rather reluctant to refreeze it. I didn’t want to cook it in a pan of water, though that usually turns out well. It’s too cold to grill, and we’re rather low on propane anyway, so that was a moot point. So… what to make that would fit in with my new drive to stop always cooking the same dishes every week? What would be spectacular and different? Sausage & peppers, of course, served over pasta.

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Being “appropriately lazy”

Now that it looks like it will really happen, I think I can post about it…

credit: “LAZY DOG” by paddynapper

A little over a week ago, one of the directors where I work asked to talk to me. During the course of the discussion, he told me he wanted me to work primarily on sysadmin projects for his group. The reasoning? He told me that it was because I was “appropriately lazy”. He’d prefaced this statement with a disclaimer that what he was going to say was intended as a compliment. Upon hearing it, I assured him there was no way I could take the statement as anything other than a compliment. Here’s why…
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A Yummy Marinade

credit: “Pig” by Boston Public Library

This is a marinade that I concocted last week for some pork chops. To the best of my knowledge, this is wholly an original recipe, as everything I googled for my basic idea of “lemon basil soy” only came up with lemon-basil recipes which were breaded, while this is a marinde/dipping sauce (assuming you reserve some before marinating it).

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Automatic Monitoring with Puppet and Nagios

Part of my current push at work right now is trying to get some sort of configuration management system in place, and in a usable state. Part of the reason for wanting to do this is consistency of common configuration among the many systems and virtual machines I manage, especially when several serve essentially the same function (such as webserver VMs). Since I’m a fallible human being, it’s easier for me to get one webserver configured so that the non-content part of the setup always passes our security scans, and then replicated that to all the other webservers. This not only saves me time, and makes me more efficient, but helps when we do system audits, as I can easily prove that all N systems I manage that serve the same role have identical configurations.

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Getting back in the habit

So, in the past couple weeks, with prodding from the wife, I’ve gotten back into a highly addictive and potentially expensive habit. It’s one that requires specialized lighting, heating, and fertilizers, but probably not what some may be thinking. No worries about DEA raids, RICO seizures, or failed random drug tests here, the habit is…

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