Thursday, May 5, 2011

Don't Abuse the Cat!

I'm a UNIX geek. The first UNIX-based system I interacted with was in 1989 in the second half of my freshman year at Penn State. I've had them as hobby systems for pretty much the entire time since college. I've also worked with them, in a professional capacity since the mid-90s. So, I've got a bit of experience with using them.

With that much time using UNIX systems, I've developed some habits and something bordering on beliefs about how to use them. When people do things that violate those habits or "beliefs", it kinda hits a nerve. One of the biggest (irrational) annoyances is when people fire up two commands to accomplish what could be done with one. The biggest annoyance in this family of annoyances is piping the output of cat to another program that can read the file directly. The most common of these seems to be the infamous `cat ${file} | grep ${PATTERN}`. The one that probably annoys me the most, however, is `cat ${file} | more`.

Whut. The. Fuck. Seriously? Did you just type that? Worse: did I actually see you write in an operations guide to use that as a standard procedure? FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK

Seriously: I die a bit, inside, every time I witness someone write/say "cat file | grep TERM" (or similar). There's been more than a few SA's (team members, customers, etc.) that have heard me bellow, "don't abuse the cat!"

Morning Games

Living with cats is always an olfactory adventure. Even if you keep their box scrupulously clean and the cats are quiet and out of sight, whenever you walk into a home with cats, you know it instantly.

Aside from the ever present scent of eau de cat, other smells can come up. Today was one of those days. I came down from bed to telecommute (it's a documentation week). As I'm sitting on my couch, tapping away at a document with "KLG and Hoda" blaring in the background, I notice a kind of rotty smell. I'd assumed it was something in the trash, but that wasn't it. I didn't see anything within sight that would account for it, either.

I wanted to just ignore it. Unfortunately, it was one of those odors that you couldn't just ignore (and, it was only after finding it's source that I figured out why that was). So, I got up off the couch and began to try to localize the smell. Oddly, no matter which direction away from my couch I went, the smell quickly faded. I thought to myself, "not good: that means the smell is in or under where I'm sitting". Awesome.

I got down on my hands and knees to see if I could spy the source of the smell. Bare knees on hardwood floors sucks, by the way. After wracking my knees, I was at least able to determine that I couldn't see the smell source, but that it appeared to be emanating from under the couch rather than from within it. Small victories, I suppose.

I stood up, and began to clear the area to where I'd need to move the couch. Once cleared, I slid the couch out - muttering under my breath about yet more scratches to the hardwood being caused by the couch grinding grit across the floor. There, dead center of the spot previously covered by the couch was the rotting body of a mouse.

I can only surmise that, due to the prior night's chill, it had snuck into our house for warmth. Usually, when this happens, I find bloody remains scattered about the living-room floor. I can only guess that the cats chased the little guy under the couch where he died of a fear-induced heart attack. Given where he was, there was no way for the cats to fish him out, either.

At any rate: big thanks to my cats for forcing me to start the day with a game of "find that awful smell".

En Garde?

Every time I see the Tampa Bay Lightning's coach, I think, "he must have gotten that scar in a duel."

Seriously, just look at this guy:

Guy Bouche
He looks like he's been in a damned sword-fight (or two). When you see him during a game, all fired up, you're just waiting form him to whip out a gauntlet, slap someone, and then poke him with an Épée.