• Archives

  • Categories:

Date at the BART HMC, local fall festivities, and my SPARC

Several weeks ago a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) board meeting was held at the BART Hayward Maintenance Complex. I’d never been to a BART board meeting before, but the chance to visit the maintenance complex was too good to pass up, and I RSVPed for MJ and myself as soon as I saw it.

It’s pretty rare to have tours of this facility, and I don’t think they’d ever done a fully public event, so this was a really special opportunity. Several hundred people showed up, and we were whisked off from a public BART station over to the facility via a series of shuttle buses. I get the impression that they were surprised and impressed by the turnout, but they were able to easily absorb the crowd. The board meeting was kept short, and then the facility tour began! We walked down the long corridors of the facility seeing stations for repairing all kinds of things for the trains. Every so often we’d pause to hear from one of the folks who worked there, either giving some details about the work, or sharing the history that led to some of the work that’s happening now. It was fun and fascinating to get such a behind-the-scenes look at everything.

And I’m glad it was fun. It occurred to us halfway through this tour that we hadn’t really gone out to do something other than meals together, alone, in quite some time. Date morning at the BART HMC? Hah!

In November I also got sick again. It happened a few days after I finally got the bivalent COVID booster, and along with a cough that needed an inhaler, I also had an incredibly stubborn sinus headache. Pile on some recent struggles with depression that caused me to contact my doctor and up my dosage of antidepressants, it was a tough few weeks as I struggled through not feeling well and a couple weeks of drowsiness caused by the medication change.

Still, I have two little ones and they love to go out! We met up with some other families one gloomy weekend recently to check out a fancy new playground in a nearby town, complete with a few rides, including a small train that went around the park and a carousel. I’ve succeeded in bestowing my love of trains upon my boys, so it was a really enjoyable time for everyone.

Our town also had the Castro Valley Light Parade recently. Like so many things, it went on a two year hiatus during the pandemic. MJ and Adam went to it in 2019 while I was out at a hackathon for work, but it was my first time experiencing it. We decided to go after the boys had dinner, which seems to have been a bit of a mistake since the parade really does conclude after an hour or so and then it’s just the festival, which was less interesting to the boys. Still, at this age it was actually a fine amount of time to be out, especially since they got to eat some cupcakes and get light-up bracelets while we were there.

Finally, MJ had a friend of his in town recently who came with us to the light parade. She traditionally has visited a couple times a year, but both the pandemic and having kids have changed it somewhat. Thankfully, she is interested in getting to know the kids more, so it gave me the opportunity to send them off with her and MJ one Sunday morning while I got some peaceful alone time. I took the opportunity to dig into my Sun SPARC Ultra10 project again. I ordered a hard drive that should work and got it all set up, but I was disappointed to discover that a lot of tools had changed since the last time I set up a PXE boot server, and I found myself reading more documentation than expected once I sat down and got started. As a result, I couldn’t get much done and was left feeling a little disappointed. Since then, I’ve been able to dig a bit deeper into the options out there for DHCP and TFTP, and will probably end up with a solution that uses dnsmasq exclusively for the whole setup, and be much simpler than ones I’ve used in the past. Bonus, if this works out I can document and re-purpose it for use at Partimus, and that cheered me up a bit and made the process of learning a new generation of tools more compelling.

Which brings me back to my mood. Now that I have mostly gotten past the drowsiness and the worst of this depressive episode, I’m going to try pushing myself again to get back on track with hobbies, house projects, and some of the things I enjoy but haven’t had the energy to do. I don’t have very much time to myself these days, but I certainly could use the time I have more effectively, which in turn should bring me out of this slump. I hope.