As is obvious, I have been pretty tied down with work, my doctoral program, family, etc. for some time. I am hoping to defend in the next couple of months. Then, I think, "maybe I'll... try some of that life Tony was telling [Steve] to get."
Hikes in Santaquin and Payson Canyon have been sanity-savers for me this year.
Adobe gives a sabbatical month after 5 years of service, which I passed a couple of years ago, so I had to use it before I lost it.
I have always wanted to go to Europe, and now that my kids are grown, I was able to go there with my wife. We flew to London in late May, then went on a 7-day cruise on the Sapphire Princess, which took us to Belgium (Zeebruge and Ghent), Denmark (Copenhagen and Roskilde), Sweden (Helsingborg) and Norway (Oslo)--all of which were amazing. After the cruise, we stayed in Windsor for 2 days, then in a hotel in Slough for 3, from which we visited London and Oxford. It was amazing, and physically challenging for this computer-desk-bound geek: nearly every day, we walked for most of the day, and when we weren't walking, the sitting was causing my muscles to lock up. A small price to pay, in my opinion, for a great opportunity to visit places I had long dreamed about.
True to form, I am still working through the small mountain of photos that I took. Here are a few (getting me up to Helsingborg). I'll have to post more later. (And I'll post a bunch to Flickr, etc.).
A couple of days ago, I noticed that the lighting outside was amazing...and the found that it came from an amazing sunset. It was a quick scramble to find a good foreground, and even with that most of the color had faded. But it still turned out a nice image. And I like the embedded symbolism with that dark and foreboding sky looming behind the spire rising like a sort of spiritual lighthouse.
I was able to sneak in a short hike after my SysAdmin class earlier this week--just up Rock Canyon in Provo (nice and close to BYU). The colors are really becoming beautiful, both in the mountains and in the valley.
I start two research classes for my own PhD this coming week, so hiking time will probably be in short supply. In fact, I'm thinking that both sleeping time and breathing time are going to be in kind of short supply. <sigh> It's self-inflicted, so I can't complain too much. (But I'll be really happy when it's all done in a year or two.)
I always hope that if I'm busy enough, I won't have time to get into trouble. It does help, but I seem to have the ability to get into trouble anyway--though usually for different things.
On a tangentially-related note, I learned (well, learned more thoroughly) last quarter that qualitative research is very cool, and that many of the possible research questions floating around in my mind may be best approached with various qualitative techniques. Since my current classes are related to research methodologies, I'm quite excited to explore this space a bit more thoroughly.
Out of curiosity tonight, I searched for my old elementary school, Lynn Lane Elementary, which was torn down some years ago. I ran across a site with a set of sad "abandoned building" photos of the school's permanent structures. I shared some of my thoughts on that site, which I will repost here.
The site is http://www.abandonedok.com/lynn-lane-school/ . Not only were the photos interesting, but other people's postings were as well.
I'm quite late to this party, but just saw the site.
I went to first through 5th grade at Lynn Lane Elementary (1972 through 1977--the last couple of years they'd migrated most students out). I have wonderful childhood memories of the place. It's sad to see it in such a state, but buildings do not last forever. Even in their poor state, these photos brought out a lot of memories for me, things I have not thought about in decades.
I only remember a few of my teachers' names, but they had a profound effect on me, as children's teachers will. Mr. Petcoff was the principle--he was a kind man, and I have always looked up to, and liked him. I also liked Mr. Davis, the PE teacher, who taught square dancing as well as the standard dodgeball, tetherball, baseball, etc. I recall a few other teachers, but will control the urge to go on here, and just focus on the school.
When I was there, we had 5 portable buildings, from (as I was told) re-purposed WWII barracks. Those were long gone before these pictures were taken. They were for kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades, 3rd grade, 4th and 5th grade, and the cafeteria and the library.
From south to north in the south building, I remember the rooms being (when I was there): art (on the south end), music (with a small stage where we did our childhood plays), 4th grade science, a multi-purpose room where they had the nurse's station, etc., and the principal's and secretary's offices and copy room (the mimeograph machine with its odd purple output). .
The north building was, when I was there, the gymnasium (though I'd heard it had previously been the cafeteria as well). We did a lot of PE outside, but when we were inside, we would use the mats for tumbling, or we would square dance, or play some games with a parachute (my favorite), or some long bamboo sticks.
The storm shelter was always a place of intrigue to me as a child. It was small, so not many classes could fit down there, but I recall going down there once or twice with my class, either for drills or for actual tornado warnings. I recall that a few times, it was full of water, though I don’t know why it filled up (bad rain storms, maybe?).
I too remember the wild onions, honeysuckle and wildflowers around the edges of the property—many of the children in my class were quite taken with the onions, which made the rooms stink at some times of the year. The brook and its bridge were magical, and having all that room to run and play on across the stream was amazing as a child. I discovered books and SRA cards in the library and media center. I remember the big fans in the windows at the beginning of the school year, as there was no air conditioning, and the one big space heater in the gymnasium that kicked on every so often, and the crack in the east wall at the southeast corner of the gym between the cinder blocks (big enough to see through).
The school was reused as a charter school or something in the 1980's for a bit, before being closed down completely. I walked around the grounds for a few minutes, reminiscing, after I found it had been torn down completely.
Seeing these photos reminds me that a school is far more than just a set of buildings, and that the impact of an elementary school is profound, deep, and long-lasting.
(I hope the owners of the site don't mind me posting one of their photos, as these buildings are long gone.)
I decided to try playing with some star photos. It's a little cold for spending a lot of time out doors, but the sky is beautiful this time of year. I somehow slipped in before a couple of days of fog. This shot was taken on the south sore of Utah Lake, but looking away from the city, towards the southeast. This will be a fun type of photography to explore.
I purchased a new camera this Fall, and the weather was beautifully agreeable, so I've been posting photos to Flickr, Google+ and Twitter. Here are a few more that I have not posted there.
I have been fairly busy this summer, with finishing up a class on IT Governance in early June, Youth Conference in mid-June, the Velocity 2016 conference in late June, Girl's Camp in early July, Scout Camp in mid-July, and several hikes sprinkled in. The more time I spend in the mountains, the better am able to bounce back from work, school and other stresses.
Here are a set of photos from some of those adventures (in no particular order).
A few weeks ago, I was able to attend the O'Reilly Velocity Conference. It was my first time at this particular conference, and I was very impressed with the breadth of coverage. As with all conferences, some sessions were much better than others. I rarely enjoy the infomercial-style sessions, of the "we need to change our culture" whining sessions. But here were several excellent technical sessions, and a few great sleepers (e.g. the one on anxiety in IT ops).
I put together a tl;dr list for my team:
Slides and videos can be found (at the moment) at http://conferences.oreilly.com/velocity/devops-web-performance-ca/public/schedule/proceedings
Russel is a mid-career IT guy with an academic interest in log and data analysis, a professional interest in monitoring and management systems and programming languages, and personal interests in family, photography, reading and the outdoors.