Once again I awoke a bit too early. I recognized it immediately. I also chose to ignore it. Even if I had somehow managed to tune into problems on some quantum frequency, I instantly started work on a new theorem that goes like this: since I’m quantumly aware of the need for my presence somewhere, for some reason, if I look the need straight in the eye, inform it that it is simply wrong (as if staring it down), the need will start to question its own resolve and wonder if perhaps it got the wrong number, leaving me the hell alone until time to get up proper.

So much for that idea.

Another one not impressed by any theory that involves me leaving the house is Marshall, the dog. The only thing worse than me leaving the house is Marshall’s mommy leaving the house. Since we were out yesterday he became extra clingy, more needy, and hyper-neurotic. My wife had to keep removing him from her person (usually the honor of having to be removed from her person belongs to me). At one point she said he attempted to climb into her pajama top (Marshall – if I’m not going there, you certainly aren’t either). We may be on Countdown to Puppy Prozac. Although neurosis is in the cocker breed standard, our dogs have tended to be specialists.

Leaving early again, I proceeded to work with very little traffic again. I noticed the network room door open again and did that little cartoon-like about face to get my posterior into that room and face whatever isn’t working during this five minute period. Have I ever mentioned that we can go months between any failures at all?

A fellow with a clue from another department was attempting to reboot the firewall. I took over, completed the task, and went to my desk to see what else would happen. Work never disappoints… the firewall fellow called to thank me for rebooting and by the way, the mail server appeared to be down again.

Back to the server room. Exchange is randomly locking up, possible just out of spite. I’m not sure why – I don’t even think of replacing it, no less mention it. I never say `linux’ in front of it. I barely even curse, lest I anger the Exchange Gods. Yet here it is, totally locked to the extent that we can’t get KVM.


I eventually get the $*%#er rebooted and the mail is flowing again (like a quick trip to Taco Bell) .

“Make sure you get those BTU figures,” the first email tells me. Oh yeah, I have to fudge.. I mean I have to put together the total BTU requirements for all of our equipment in the server room. Fortunately Dell found me a BTU converter that used watts as the input.

This was further disturbed by having to have The Talk with the Boss. No, not that talk. The `do we spend six grand for a pair of UPSes or a bit more for a larger unit’? Talk. We don’t get two sentences into it when one of the Power People comes by to ask us to speak a bit in the Manglement Meeting that’s taking place right now, by some happy coincidence.

Bless him, my boss knew to take the bullet while I took the BTUs.

But thoughts of being happily allowed to sit at my desk and calculate BTUs were almost immediately dashed because we got dragged into a meeting. And who is in the meeting? The Big Boss, who starts asking all sorts of questions about the recent network outages. We escaped by telling the truth and blaming the weather.

A little bird tells me that my boss got chewed out because one of the Head Manglers couldn’t access her email, which she was monitoring for a personal reason that had nothing at all to do with work.

When I got hired, they told me one of the perks was not having to deal with politics. I suspect what they meant is that I’d be locked in a closet and ignored, hence not important enough to deal with politics.

And then there was the small matter of the Redundant Firewall that Wasn’t. They’re configured for failover but we’re waiting for another output for the router before we can fully hook them up. Firewall A somehow became convinced it had suffered some sort of blackout so Firewall B jumped up and took over (presumably while Firewall C did CPR). The only fly in the ointment was that Firewall B had no input because we’re still waiting for the router part. Hence no internet. Are we having fun yet? Good thing they’re redundant – so if one goes down, the other will go down too. That’s what redundancy means, right?

Meanwhile back at the meeting, the Touchy-Feelies are having their say. It is their considered opinion that there is something amiss in communications when there’s an emergency involving multiple departments. Therefore it is their suggestion that when there’s an emergency, the deparment manglers get together for a `quick chat’ where they can go over who is doing what, manage expectations, and ensure accurate top-down communications.

My head is spinning at this point. It might be the feeling that I’m in some sort of sitcom right now, where stuff this sick and deranged happens, causing the audience to wet their pants. It could also be that the internal voices are getting so LOUD that they’re drowning out the external voices and making me shake (more).

My initial reaction to this is to either spit out my Code Red or make a wildly erratic statement to see if anybody’s listening (or realizes how incredibly stupid this is). Since this is my first Power Meeting (about current and power) I experience a very rare moment of discretion and neglect to say “Gaaaaaaaaak,” “bbbbbbbbbbbut….” or “HOO-wah!” Instead I mention that we already do talk during emergencies (or we wouldn’t solve any problems).

Perhaps to heighten the experience of my first Power Meeting, they explained to me that this wasn’t sufficient. We needed every department to just have a `quick chat’ where they can go over who is doing what, manage expectations, and ensure accurate top-down communications.

At this point, if anyone had cared enough to look, they would have seen me shaking my head around as if I had a bee in my ear and wanted desperately to remove it by moving my head in the manner of some sort of bobble-head doll with one of THOSE springs.

I was just told that when there’s an emergency, I have to stop what I’m doing so I can gather together with any other department that’s involved and have a `quick chat’ where we can go over who is doing what, manage expectations, and ensure accurate top-down communications.

I come from a deparment that does. It does not meet, it does. And I’m usually the first one knee-deep in fixing the problem. Is this what they refer to as the Manglement Penalty? I thought promotions were supposed to be a positive thing…

So to sum it up, if the server room should somehow burst into flames, I need to gather my thoughts and figure out which departments to contact about having a `little chat’ where we can go over who is doing what, manage expectations, and ensure accurate top-down communications. Perhaps we can spend some time discussing what room in which to hold the meeting. Then we’ll have to send out for donuts or hoagies, depending on the time.

The only thing remaining is whether or not we need to order extra food for the firemen, after the building has completely burned to the ground with our `little chat group’ probably still arguing some infinitesimally small and stupid point about who needs to be notified that we’re looking into the fire and we have called our best people into a meeting to discuss the best way to extinguish it, if that’s even the correct course of action.