austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

Wednesday also began with bunny_hugger going to physical therapy and me sleeping in. I didn't sleep in so very long, though, which was as well because when I woke up and checked the status of the world I found e-mails from my father, brother, and brother-in-law: there was catastrophe at work. There were also text messages and failed calls to my phone.

See, my project at work has been on servers in the main office. The goal has long been to move them to the high-volume networking facility elsewhere in New Jersey. The tech guys on the first floor knew that this was the plan and they had to go up there anyway for other reasons so figured, why not take the servers and relocate them now and save a later trip?

Well, for one, because there were some points where IP addresses were hard-coded in because boring firewall issues wouldn't let me replace them with domain names until we got things put in the new locations. And I wasn't there to do the small bits of recoding necessary for this. And there were soem other issues about database access where again boring firewall issues that I don't perfectly understand even today, so that even if the first problems weren't crashing the page then these secondary ones would do it. So without my presence, the site went from humming along in near-finished form to no end of mysterious and obscure server errors.

Also, not only was I not there, but my boss wasn't there either, because he was having a meeting with someone or other and hoped to include a mention of this project as part of their agenda. He covered that, though, as there was enough other stuff to talk about. But, still. He gave the tech guys credit for initiative, but marked them way down for doing this major network move when neither the programmer behind the project nor he was anywhere near the office.

The catastrophe unfolded in the morning; by lunchtime when I was up the failure of the move was obvious and they were trying to move it back. But I didn't know that and tried diagnosing what I could from what I heard about it, and calling my boss to report. The only really lasting risk from this, I think, is now he's got my cell phone number in his phone's memory, at least until he loses or trades in his phone. We'll see.

When bunny_hugger got back and all this chaos had reached a stable point (the site would be back to normal by the close of the business day) we decided to go out for lunch, and she had a particular spot in mind. This would take us the short drive into downtown Lansing, to an eatery that focuses on the business-rush-hour trade, and is part of a once-mighty-yet-very-loose, now tiny restaurant chain, and licensed to one of the famous names in forgotten merchandising.

This is the Kewpee Restaurant, originally opened in the 1920s and tied thematically to the Kewpie Doll. The Kewpee restaurants started out independent of each other and reached a sweep of hundreds of shops before World War II; as Kewpie dolls faded out of the public eye so did the restaurants, although the handful of remaining ones have banded together as a franchise.

The walls are decorated with Kewpie stuff; we sat underneath a framed Ladies Home Journal full-page advertisement talking about the way streets are cleaned in Kewpietown and how the residents cherish having their wings since it means they can just fly above the streets while sweeping goes on. It mentioned how frogs and kangaroos don't have wings, but with their broad hopping abilities they don't miss them. I thought seriously about getting a Kewpee T-shirt for my brother-in-law, the fast food fan, but didn't have any clear idea where they were sold. (I did, though, on the way to the bathroom discover they had a library upstairs.)

This was also the chance to try the olive burger, a Michigan-area thing which now that I try it I don't understand it not being more universal. The premise is just what it sounds like: it's a burger with a layer of olives, and it works great. I definitely want more of this. (They were kind enough to make an olive burger using the vegetarian patty they also sell, which kind of underscores how easy it is these days to live the vegetarian diet.)

After lunch we walked around the downtown, noticing things like the signs marking old theaters or the original state capitol, and admiring the architecture of the long-closed department store and wondering about how long it had been since it was last used. We could see signs inside about checking in to security that didn't look like they'd been up for too long, yet, she hadn't heard about the building being prepared for possible reopening as office space or anything else. We did stop into an actual peanut shop, with fresh-roasted everything sold in paper bags, just like they did in old cartoons, although the store had a no-photographs policy for whatever reason and we didn't get any record of the offered spread. (Mind, we both knew that from the street we could photograph the storefront all wee wanted, but we chose not to be obnoxious about our rights in this regard.)

Apparently when that region of the street had been closed to traffic, in the hopes of creating a more pedestrian-friendly space, local squirrels had figured out this was a great spot to go begging. Whether the reintroduction of a lane of traffic had hopelessly disrupted things, or the time of day made foot traffic low enough that they begging wasn't worth it, we didn't see any squirrels asking for food. Too bad. We had to enjoy walking the streets instead.

There's one plaque in the street, apparently the start of an aborted walk-of-fame type display, which is really curious since I would've thought they would inaugurate such a project with a half-dozen or so names. That way even if it fell apart after the start there'd be a city block or so with a walk-of-fame. Instead, no, there was just this one, for Thomas Edison I think, and it looks all the more forlorn for that.

Later on we had our traditional movie viewing, here going to see Rio, which we'd both had as ``might like to see that'' viewing. This proved to be a pretty good choice, with the movie being visually extremely attractive and the story interesting enough. We both enjoyed the body language shown by Blue, who'd been a housebound bird all his life and scrunched up in the ways that just fit his character. That it grew into a lot of spectacle helped make it the more appealing. Finding reasons for the human cast to dress as birds didn't hurt either, especially as one got so very deeply into it. I also liked Tracy Morgan's performance as a dog. I generally like his acting, with a bit of that tempered by worrying that he's actually like that in person.

In the evening, bunny_hugger's rabbit tried using my laptop as a launching pad for getting onto the back of the sofa, and chewed on the draw strings for the blinds whenever he wasn't being scooted off. I choose to interpret this as him coming to accept my presence.

Trivia: Sydney Parkinson, Robert Stainsby, and Joseph Banks were among the crew of James Cook's Endeavour who chose to be tattooed by the Tahitians in the June-August 1769 visit, leading the reviving of the practice among Western Europeans. Source: Discoveries: The Voyages Of Captain Cook, Nicholas Thomas.

Currently Reading: American Creation, Joseph J Ellis.


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