Thursday, December 18, 2014

Using PoshStack to spin up a server in OpenStack -- One Line

Creating a virtual machine, AKA "Spinning up a server", in OpenStack is a one-liner using PoshStack, the in-development PowerShell client for OpenStack. To wit:

New-CloudServer -Account demo -ServerName "foo" -FlavorID $flavors[0].id -ImageID $images[0].id 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Death, Grief, and Renewal

On October 28, at 10:32pm, my dear friend, Rick Shambaugh, passed away.

Funny; You tend to remember the date and exact time when you lose someone you love.

Rick carried liver disease for the past year, and it finally caught up with him. We -- his friends -- worried that he may some day succumb to the disease, all the time hoping he'd be fine. But five days prior to his passing, he suddenly lost consciousness.

I was fortunate to visit him Tuesday morning, 13 hours before his eventual passing. As Fate/God/Providence would have it, he woke up as I entered his hospital room. Just Rick and me.

I spoke, I encouraged him, and told him I loved him.

With all the strength he could muster, he whispered "I love you too, Don", then fell back into that sleep between this world and the next. Those were to be his final words.

Like most of his friends, I was in shock and disbelief. When I learned of his end that night, I was fine.  My son offered to fly back from Utah to comfort me. I would never say "No" to a visit from my son, so sure ... why not? But I was fine.

But Wednesday morning, it hit me. I cried -- finally -- that releasing weeping during which you pour out your anguish, your grief, your resignation to the fact that you'll never see your dear friend again.

Then, I wept again as I made a simple tribute to him.

I finally had to set aside my time and emotions to go to the train station to pick up Ian. Once I saw him, a cloud left me like I've never experienced. Suddenly, and finally, I wasn't grieving. I was happy.

I think, when you lose a loved one, somewhere in your subconscious mind you think life will never be the same again (which is true) and that it's somehow ruined.

But seeing my son renewed my life. I realized that I still have love to give and receive, laughs and tears to share, and memories to create. I'm not losing Rick so much; it's more as though he and I built our time together, our list of memories complete ... and now those memories will be sewn into the quilt of my life, a blanket of comfort in quiet times.

Rest In Peace my beloved friend.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Spanish Tortilla

I made a Spanish Tortilla for dinner tonight.

1 Russet potato

1 small onion\

3 eggs

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 Tablespoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 375F – I used 350F in a convection oven.

Small dice the potato. Small dice the onion. Heat an 8-inch cast iron (or non-stick) pan. Put oil in pan, then add the potatoes and onion. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are soft. You may have to back off the heat in order to keep the onions from burning. I just kept the potatoes and onions moving.

While they’re cooking, mix up the three eggs in a bowl. Add the cheese to the eggs.

When the potatoes are about done, add the thyme, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder and mix up.

Pour eggs and cheese mixture into the pan. You don’t need to stir it up; I tamped it down with my spatula to make it level and push the eggs down.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

Take out and let sit for 10 minutes.

You should then be able to carefully remove the tortilla from the pan and cut it on a cutting board.

I serve topped with plain yogurt, homemade salsa and hot sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

31 Days, 31 Visions

I've decided on my next thought/life experiment.

For 31 days, I'm going to spend time every day meditating on visions of things I want to see come to pass in my life. Not just things as in material things, but also improvements in my personality or better health (i.e. losing body fat) or certain habits to drop or pick up, etc.

Of particular interest is a web site that I'm building and want to have launched by mid-August. So I'll spend time envision that being done and working well and drawing customers.

I'm not one to believe that merely *believing* something will make it come to pass. However, I'm anxious to see if the visioning process:

1. Gives me more motivation to act
2. Gives me better awareness of situations, people or things that can help me reach my goals

Those two points are what I actually think are the real "Secret", the real "Power of Intention" -- it merely dials you in to what you want, motivates you to move and act, and heightens your senses to be on the lookout for assistance.

My next blog post, in a few days, will list my Visions.

This should be pretty cool.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Regimented Life: Final Wrap-Up

What have I learned?

I learned that structure, or regimentation, is vital when traveling for business.

The experiment was a huge success, because as a result I'm much more conscious of what I'm eating, and I'm hitting the gym faithfully on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Huge, huge wins there.

I'm also taking the proper vitamins and other supplements as desired.

As a result, I'm losing body fat, my muscles are stronger (and bigger! *grin*), I have more energy, and I just generally feel much better, both physically and mentally.

I'm glad I undertook this experiment. I learned a lot about myself, about my tendencies, and where I can improve.

I also learned that scheduling your week, your diet, your day, etc., is a good idea, but you must remain flexible.

Now ... what can I do for my next experiment? Hmmmm....

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Regimented Life: Days 11-23

That crashing sound is my "Regimented Life" colliding head-on with my need to travel.

In a word: Devastated.

What have I learned? Regimentation is necessary, yet almost impossible, while on business travel. Your time gets hijacked every day.

I injured my shoulder while working out on unfamiliar equipment -- Hammer Strength machines use a different range of motion.

I injured my back.

Down, but not out.

I'm back on the bandwagon tomorrow (Wednesday, June 25) with an early morning gym appointment.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Regimented Life: Day 10


Might just as well have Xeroxed Monday and posted it here.

Well …. no morning workout, but I did meet Joel Ogle for lunch. Okay, actually, Tuesday was not really scheduled, because I was preparing for an 11-day business trip, which included lunch with Joel Ogle, a stop at the grocery store, a hair cut, some maintenance around the house (including checking the pool for leaks – think about that one…), etc.

The day ended with a take-out dinner order from Jim & Nena’s and Patti and I watching the final episode of Cosmos (one of the best television shows ever!).

A PLUS ONE day, actually, because despite the disruptive travel preparations, I managed to stick to my eating and supplement schedule.

That brings us to 2/10, 20 percent.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Regimented Life: Day 9

Monday, June 9, 2014

This is beginning to be a broken record. Do well all day, crash in the evening.

To be honest, I had planned to relax and watch the Stanley Cup Finals Game 3, so I didn't really crash all that much.

But I'm still struggling in the evenings. The combination of fatigue from working all day plus warm weather plus the desire to just hang out with my dear bride makes it very difficult to "do" anything in the evenings.

I'm already seeing where the benefit is; It's from structuring my days. For the past 16+ years, I've been either self-employed or worked from home. As such, I didn't use an alarm clock and just went with the flow during the day. I was successful as far as work goes, but the lack of structure made it easy to skip out on things -- such as being faithful to work out at the gym.

The biggest improvement I've found is that by scheduling my week, I'm getting to the gym by 6:45 AM and hitting the weights. I've already lost some fat and my muscle memory is kicking in -- last night my wife said "Wow! I can see a difference already."

It's nice to feel bigger and stronger again, and I don't intend to let this end for a long time.

I'll continue my experiment, to be sure, but I think I've found the gem in the rough.

I'm scoring yesterday a zero; That puts me at 1/9, or 11 percent.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Regimented Life: Days 7 & 8

Saturday and Sunday.

On the one hand, my weekends will remain very loosely regimented, with large and broad times, filled out by a weekend to-do list.

This weekend was both a total bust and a total success. How is that??

I didn't make a list of things to do. On the other hand, I had a mental list of only two items: Cut the grass and spread the mulch.

I mowed the lawn Saturday, late morning, then went to work on cutting up some brush in the back yard. I completely ran out of muscle endurance in my legs right away and was very disappointed. How have I gotten so horribly out of shape that simply mowing the lawn wore me out?

Then I remembered: Friday was a "leg day" at the gym and I was beat. That explained it.

The remainder of Saturday included a short trip to the grocery store, some time in the pool and reading.

After a nice dinner -- red lentil curry and a steak -- I tried to watch hockey but fell asleep by 8 PM. I was truly spent...

Sunday was the opposite. My leg muscles now recovered, I buzzed through the mulch like a man on a mission. And with that mission accomplished, I relaxed ... floated around the pool, read two magazines cover to cover ("Men's Fitness" and "AARP" in case you're wondering), enjoyed a good cigar and waited for my dear bride to return from her weekend at the beach.

As far as "regimented", I failed. I didn't have a written To-Do List, and I failed to plan this coming week -- something I'll do Monday. I also did not achieve my Five Goals for last week and did not make up a Five Goals list for this week.

I'm scoring Saturday a -1 and Sunday a zero. That puts me at 1/8, or 12.5 percent. So far, this experiment is tilting away from living a highly-regimented life.

On the other hand, I've been faithful to my workouts at the gym and my diet has improved.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Regimented Life: Day 6


My schedule got hijacked, yet I was still successful in staying regimented. I was up early and had a very good lower body workout at the gym. Got home and had to take my dear bride to a friend's house; they were leaving for a Girls Weekend at the beach.

I got home and got right back on schedule. The workday went well, I stayed true to my schedule.

I made a delicious Paleo Thai dish for dinner, then realized Game Two is Saturday night, not Friday night.

But Friday evening isn't "scheduled" for me, so I built a fire in the fire pit and watched TED videos for three hours.

I'm award a +1 for the day, since I didn't let the hijacked schedule throw me off balance. Yay me! The score is 2/6, 33 percent.

By the way, if the month ends with the score under 50 percent, it will indicate to me that living a Regimented Life is a failure. On the other hand, if it scores high, then it'll become a permanent lifestyle.

Next week should be very interesting, as I begin some traveling. I'm going to have to carefully plan the days and adjust to different surroundings and conditions. I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Regimented Life: Day 5

Thursday. No workout this morning, so the day was pretty easy. Basically, from rising in the morning until the end of my work day -- around 5PM -- the only "regiment" is a schedule: When I eat, when I have a snack, what supplements to take and when to take them, when I have my tea. Stuff like that.

Success. Then again, so easy.

The evening? I'm finding no will power to apply structure to my evenings, to be honest. The evening was spent by the fire. Our next-door neighbor, who has literally never come over to see us -- don't get me wrong, we're very friendly to each other and do talk -- came over and sat with us ... showed us the pictures of her new granddaughter. It wasn't planned, but sure was enjoyable.

I did keep to a schedule; At one point, I said "Ladies, it's 10 PM and I need to get to bed". So at least I didn't let the evening get away from me.

I'm scoring the day a zero. That puts me at 1/5, or 20 percent.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Regimented Life: Day 4

Pretty much went well, but then again, it was odd.
My eating and supplement schedule was spot on. But since I had to travel to Baltimore Thurgood Marshall Airport for an interview, the afternoon was taken up with that.
The evening was one of relaxing after an 11-hour workday, including watching hockey.
Score: Zero. Neither positive nor negative. That brings the score to 1/4 == 25 percent.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Regimented Life: Day 3

Started off great. Everything on schedule all day, like clockwork.

"Hey, this is pretty good. I can do this."

My evening schedule was to make dinner, then do some personal finance stuff and work on the book I'm writing and work on a web site I'm creating.

But life happened. Rather, my dear bride and I decided to have an adult beverage while I was cooking.

Before dinner.

On an empty stomach.

Which became three hours of us talking and eating dinner and sitting on the patio and talking some more and scheming our back yard plans and ...

So the day was terrific from a personal perspective, but as "The Regimented Life" goes, it was a major failure. A minus one.

Score is now 1/3 == 33 percent.

Takeaway -- what did I learn?

Alcohol can derail everything. Don't drink and derive.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Regimented Life: Day 2

Actually, today (Monday, June 2) was the first real day of The Regimented Life. Sunday was mostly preparing and, besides, weekends are made for some relaxing.

The day started out early. I had set my alarm for 6 AM, but I woke naturally at 5:40. I would take advantage of the extra time, later, after my workout.

Got up and got going. I basically adjusted my original schedule back 20 minutes. I hadn’t gone for groceries on Sunday, so I would take advantage of the extra 20 minutes to go to the grocery store. Win!

Got shaved, hopped in the car and headed to the gym. Ahead of schedule. Good.

Had a good legs workout and headed to the Giant supermarket. The extra 20 minutes from the morning was now coming in handy.

Learned something: Groceries stores are pretty much empty at 6:50 AM.

It wasn’t my usual, enjoyable grocery run (I love shopping for groceries and have a trick to make it fun – I’ll post about that soon), but got what I needed and headed home.

The rest of the day ran according to schedule. Got breakfast, showered, was at my desk by 8:15 AM. From then on, the schedules were followed to a “T”, and it was pretty cool.

10:45 AM a snack, lunch was noon until 12:45 (which allowed enough time to eat on the patio and enjoy my wife’s company), afternoon tea at 1:45, and so on.

Dinner was scheduled from 5:00 until 6:30, but I ate and left the house by 5:50 for a meet up in Lancaster.

The meet up meant I didn’t get home until 9:30 PM.

All in all, Day 2 gets a  +1.

So, two successes in two days. That’s how I’m keeping score: 2/2 == 100%.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Regimented Life: Day 1

I prepared for today by making schedules. Today wasn't that highly regimented, although I did schedule 11 AM until 3 PM to work in the yard. That worked perfectly.

I built schedules for workdays and evenings. They're based on events or themes. For example, some schedule titles are:

Workday with Morning Workout
Sunday evening
Evening - Rain
Evening - Productive
Evening - Relationships

My idea is to pull a workday and match it with whatever type of evening I want to have. My weekends, to be honest, won't be tightly scheduled. They're be more event-driven (e.g. yard work, travel & sightseeing, etc).

I have my meal plan created for this week.

Breakfast: Protein shake after workout
Lunch: Paleo "lunchable" (basically a sandwich with out the bread)
Dinner: Chicken taco salad

Breakfast: Eggs and kippered herring
Lunch: Lunchable
Dinner: Cabbage, sausage and carrots

Breakfast: Protein shake after workout
Lunch: Lunchable
Dinner: BLT Salad

Breakfast: Eggs and kippered herring
Lunch: Lunchable
Dinner: Thai "Hot Plate" (from the book "Well Fed")

Breakfast: Protein shake after workout
Lunch: Lunchable
Dinner: Salmon on greens with broccoli

Breakfast: Bacon & eggs
Lunch: Lunchable
Dinner: Grilled steak, mashed cauliflower and broccoli

Breakfast: Bacon & eggs
Lunch: Lunchable
Dinner: Free/Open

I've also set a 1:45 PM daily tea in each schedule, and a 10:45 AM morning snack -- almonds and raisins, or cottage cheese and apple slices.

I have a schedule of what supplements and vitamins to take every day, and at what time. I purchased a vitamin caddy to make things easier when I travel.

So the planning is off to a good start. The real test comes tomorrow (Monday) morning; Can I get my butt out of bed at 6 AM? I've already laid out my workout clothing.

We'll see.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Regimented Month

I’m about to embark on a social/life experiment I’m calling “The Regimented Life”. My intention is to live the month of June, 2014, in a very regimented and scheduled manner.

I’ve identified 22 activities that may occur on a given day. Granted, not all 22 will happen every day, but I hope to hit all of them at least once during the month.

Here’s the list, in no particular order (except number one):

  1. Wake up
  2. Shower, shave
  3. Dress
  4. Breakfast
  5. Meditate
  6. Work out
  7. Work
  8. Cook dinner
  9. Lunch
  10. Home maintenance
  11. Write
  12. Play guitar
  13. Work on my web site
  14. Read
  15. Study/Learn
  16. Get groceries
  17. Relax
  18. Organize an area
  19. Yard work/Cut grass
  20. Social media/Encourage others
  21. Plan my day, week, month
  22. Review my goals; Refine, retire and renew them

This promises to be both exciting and challenging. Will I make it through a day? A week? The whole month? Will I feel imprisoned, or will I have a rush of productivity that sets me free?

The challenge will be intensified by the fact that I’ll be traveling some of the time. What will that bring? Can I adjust to time zone changes? Can it be done? Do I have the will power?

I’ll chronicle my progress (or lack thereof) here. Stay tuned…

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cruise Note Number One

Recently took a Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Pride. It was fantastic, and I'll post more. But for now: The Pizza Pirate pizza shop on the ship makes amazingly good pizza!