Saturday, June 28, 2008

Roast Chicken a la Better Homes and Garden

I never tried roasting chickens before, but there's always a first time. Mom and I was watching Better Homes and Gardens yesterday, and "Fast" Ed Halmagyi cooked up this roast chicken. I go, "I can do that", so here we are.

Get yourself a dressed chicken. Mix paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a bowl. Apply liberally all over the chicken. Next, we move on to the filling:

  • one clove of garlic, cut crosswise
  • one lemon, cut into quarters
  • one bunch of oregano
Stuff all of the above into the chicken, if you can manage it.

Starting from the neck, peal away a portion of the skin from the chicken breast. Cut some slices of butter and slide them between the skin and the breast. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place chicken on a wire mesh and leave in oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Melbourne - Day Two

Even before the activity started, I was already planning for tomorrow. I'm mean, how hard would it be to shutdown some processes and power down the machine, get the Sun engineer to upgrade the CPU and memory, power up, and re-run the processes? As with most things, it's only a problem when it doesn't work.

One, the Sun engineer doesn't want to go by the implementation plan. He said he had encountered enough systems that had problems recovering from a reboot, so he wants to see a proper reboot first before proceeding. After shutting down the system, he started checking the contents of the delivered boxes. Then he refers to his online documentation to see whether the hardware is compatible and how to actually install the CPU and memory chips. Shouldn't he be doing all these prior to shutting down the server? All this time, the other server is already acting up because it can't see its partner.

Anyway, hardware upgrade for the first node went well. The database and all the processes came up properly. After rebooting the second node, everything went pear-shaped. Can't restart the database. Checked the first node, error 3114 - not connected to db anymore. Restarted both nodes - same thing. Oracle simply says "ORA-27041: unable to open file", which doesn't tell me anything. After some investigation, it looks like the oscracdg group is disabled. I know nothing about Veritas Volume Manager, and the Sun engineer is just about to ready to flee from the crime scene. I do have the option of calling our CSI or even Optus' HP support for Sun (strange, I know), but I believe this will just make things worse. Thankfully, the Sun engineer was kind enough to dig around his laptop, and we found some Veritas cheat sheets. Even that didn't help because we don't even know what the commands are actually doing. He got out his Telstra datacard and logged on to their solution database. After finding an exact match to our scenario, we're back in business. Took us a while to figure out what commands to run, and in which sequence, but after a few hours of working through all the volumes, all the disks are enabled again.

But wait, there's more. The volumes are up, the DB came up, the processes came up, and I can now see traffic going through, but I feel something is still wrong. The application threads keep hanging. Have to restart pcore and osc_core every few minutes to handle incoming traffic. Left the site at 5am. Got back to the hotel and continued troubleshooting till 9:30am. Called up CP for support. Asked me to call TKC. Involved him around 10am. Had to stop work at 11am as I need to catch my flight back to Sydney. Had brunch of fried dumplings in the cab. Started talking to TKC in the airport about the problem. Asked him to start troubleshooting. GF went to the airport to pick me up. She spent the morning packing lunch boxes for WYD 2008. Continued troubleshooting at home. Turns out pcore is causing osc_core to hang when it is called. Don't run pcore and osc_core will keep on working. Together with TKC, we granted new privileges for pcore to some tables. Now pcore can run, AND delete entries from the db (pc_disconnect_ctx). Both Sunshine OSCs pointed to osc1's pcore. Fixed that one, too. Stopped work around 7:30pm. CP said she's not available tomorrow. My suggestion to everyone is to stop work and just monitor tomorrow. We work again come Monday.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Melbourne - Day One

Woke up late. In no mood for a proper breakfast. Finished off the half-finished Subway sandwich from last night. Still don't know whether the hardware upgrade tonight is go or no-go. Decider meeting at 12 noon. Late checkout from 11am to 12 noon. The PM suggested I extend it another hour. Stamford Plaza is asking for $45 more. As for my plane booking, I had it moved to 3pm.

Walked my way to our Rialto office along Collins. Lots of small shops, most of them having sales. Customer decided to allow the hardware upgrade tonight. MM went back home to bring his car, so that he can take me to Sunshine. I hopped across the street to get a Big Mac Meal from McDonalds. I was able to work up the queue, wait for my order, and get back to the Rialto lobby just in time for MM's arrival.

At Sunshine, it's a slow business of having my PTW for tonight extended, getting an engineer to give me an induction to the site, and actually locating the equipment to be upgraded. Got back to the city around 4pm. Had to rush back to the hotel to attend a useless team conference call. The guys didn't even know I was dialed in.

Dinner was at the Melbourne Central basement food court via Myer. Beef brisket noodle from Bamboo City. Passed by Myer again. Was thinking of buying this cookbook, but thought better to buy it in Sydney. Had a short nap to energize myself for tonight's activity.

Melbourne for Nothing

Despite the continuing OSC problems we're encountering, I had to leave for Melbourne in a hurry to do the hardware upgrade in Sunshine tonight. The timing was so tight I didn't even have time to have lunch. And that was after I postponed my original flight for a couple of hours.

I picked up my laptop and hopped on a cab and off to the airport. Didn't get to bring any change of clothes. Forgot my toiletries bag. Left behind my mobile phone charger, which is the worst. Got to the airport 30 minutes before takeoff. I tell you, check-in is dead easy if you have your booking reference handy.

This time around I stayed at Stamford Plaza Melbourne along Little Collins Street. Honestly, the place feels more like a dorm than a hotel. You have the lobby with the concierge and reception; the other tower has the bar and restaurant, and everything else is floors and floors of hotel rooms. My room is bigger than usual with a mini-kitchen. However, there are no free toiletries, no free Internet access, and only three cable TV channels. Reception can't even lend me a charger for my Nokia. Had to leave my phone with them to charge, while waiting for my colleague to deliver me a spare one.

The only good thing to happen tonight is that the hardware upgrade has been called off, postponed till tomorrow, maybe. As it was drizzling and freezing cold outside, all I can do was to grab a sandwich from the Subway across the store and buy some toiletries from the 7-Eleven beside it. Back to my room for a quiet night in. Fortunately I forgot to bring along my camera, or I really would've been tempted to brave the cold and rains to take a few pictures.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Phantom of the Opera at Lyric Theatre

Got to City Noodle Cafe a bit late, as we're on Day 2 of the OSC saga. I'm supposed to be on call starting tonight, but because of tonight's show, I got a colleague to cover for me. He wasn't too happy. I had to remind him that we made the arrangement two weeks ago, and that the OSC ESS was raised yesterday during his watch, and not today.

Anyway, the show was pretty good - better than I expected. Magnificent props and of course, wonderful music. Anthony Warlow plays The Phantom, Ana Marina plays Christine, and Alexander Lewis plays Raoul. There were lots of stage props that left me wondering how they actually did it. For example, the ghostly image in the mirror in Christine's boudoir, The Phantom's mannequin coming to life, The Phantom's boat gliding in the underground lake, etc. While the show left me in awe, GF admitted that the music and The Phantom spooked her a bit. Aww. :-)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Busiest Day of the Year

My colleague received an emergency page for the RADIUS proxy. Given that I'm the main man for ICD, I offered my assistance. Spent the whole day stopping and starting the processes and Oracle, rebooting the nodes, etc. Didn't help any. Getting a constant stream of 100020 and 100015 errors. Lots of charging error messages on the TA. Looking real bad.

Aside from that, the Melbourne project manager wants to know when I'm going down for the CPU and memory upgrade. The Sydney project manager wants to know why I still haven't created those FI Electra cases. (Because I'm busy?) GF is wondering if I'm free to talk. My team leader wants to know if I'm bringing GF to the Friday team dinner. My colleagues wants to continue with the FI-OWB testing.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Carmina Burana at Greenhalgh Theatre

Carmina Burana concert at UTS Ku-ring-gai's Greenhalgh Theatre. I was having second thoughts about going because one, I don't have a car; two, I don't know where it is; and three, it looks like it's gonna rain. In the end, I still went because I've never been there before.

I read somewhere that Willoughby Council has arranged for a special bus that will bring people from Chatswood station to the venue. When I got to Chatswood, I realized that I don't know the departure times of the shuttle bus. Worse, I can't find it anywhere outside or around the station. On a hunch, I braved the rains and walked over the Zenith Theatre and true enough, there's a waiting bus there.

During the first part of the concert, the Willoughby Symphony Choir performed Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes, with two pianos providing accompaniment. After the intermission, the choir performed Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with the participation of Opera Australia’s Lorina Gore - Soprano, Paul McMahon - Tenor, and Jose Carbo - Baritone. Have to say I liked the first part more. Maybe opera really is not for me.

The shuttle bus brought us back to Chatswood. Took the train to Strathfield, where GF and I had dinner at the Bagan Burmese Restaurant.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rose Bay and Watsons Bay

Been a while since I went out with GF, excluding the weekly dinners and badminton nights. For the long weekend, we decided to go to Watsons Bay. It has been raining the past few days. Fortunately, it stopped for a while this morning. Or else, it would've been a Gumballs lunch at Westfield Parramatta, then The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in the afternoon. Or worse, Sex and the City.

En route to South Head, we passed by Rose Bay. The weather was so nice, I decided to stop by. Not too hot, not too cold, not too sunny, not too cloudy. We walked from the marina to the wharf, then back to the car. For the trivia-inclined, Rose Bay was named after The Right Honourable George Rose, who was joint Secretary to the British Treasury with Thomas Steele.

Along Old South Head Road, we stopped again at Macquarie Light, Australia's first lighthouse, which began operations on November 30, 1818. Took a couple of pictures, then continued on to Watsons Bay. At Robertson Park, we had a sandwich lunch specially prepared by GF. With the rain clouds fast approaching from Sydney Harbour, we quickly crossed the street to Gap Park to take in the spectacular sea views. While waiting for the drizzle to abate, we had hot chocolate and a Bambino cone from the nearby Gelatissimo store. By 3pm, we went back to GF's place for a little afternoon TV.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Burwood Food & Wine Festival

I wasn't expecting much from Burwood's Food & Wine Festival. I reckon it doesn't differ much from the Campsie Food Festival. Still, it's been a while since the family went out (and I get to meet GF on the side).

We parked at Burwood Plaza, then started walking along Burwood Road towards Westfield. A short section was closed to vehicular traffic, and there are stalls on each side of the road. I understand there are 20 restaurants offering selected food from their menus and 7 wineries offering wine tastings. On stage is the Casanova's Kiss band, and various games and rides and roaming performers to entertain the kids.

It started drizzling when we got there around 1:30pm, so we took shelter inside Westfield. Some ice cream and fried dumplings later, we met up with GF and her family at the festival. (That's where our moms met for the first time. Mom actually mistook her to be GF's friend.) After that, we went on to Rhodes Shopping Center for the Ikea clearance sale and their cheap mirienda. The kids' menu has smaller servings, but is definitely cheaper and you get a free fruit.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Jazz and Blues Festival at Darling Harbour

Went to Darling Harbour with GF in the afternoon. Not for the Jazz & Blues Festival, but to meet up GF's friend from Adelaide (and her friends in Sydney). We arrived a bit early, so we decided to watch the concert at the Aquashell Cockle Bay. Starting at 5:45pm, it's the 'Sinatra and Ella Swing' with the Ed Wilson Big Band featuring Monica Trapaga, Frank Bennett & Jeff Duff. If you're not familiar with the Sinatra and Ella songs, think Michael Buble and Tony Bennett.

G...e later arrived with boyfriend A....n and friend P.....k, and off we went looking for a good place to eat. We ended up having dinner at Super Bowl in Chinatown. That's steamed dimsum, lemon chicken, Peking-style spare ribs, stir noodles, and steamed rice. It started drizzling again on our way back to Darling Harbour, so everybody parted ways. GF and I went back to Star City, where we had hot chocolate, chai latte, and Mortal Sin at Lyric Cafe before going home.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Kiama with Relatives

Our relatives from Pangasinan are back in Australia for their annual vacation. Given their big numbers this year, my brother and I had to drive two cars to bring them around. Drove down to Martin Place to pick them up from the city, then brought them over to the house for a look-see. After a short rest, it's a long drive to Kiama, where we spent an hour or so looking at the blowhole, waiting for a big one. The winds are strong and chilly, but the waves are not in the proper harmonics to produce a big blow. With nothing left more to do, we headed back to Sydney, stopping at a roadside McDonald's restaurant for late lunch.

The guys wanted to pick up some souvenir items at Paddy's Markets, so we dropped them off at Chinatown, while we went back home to recuperate. At night, it's back to the city for a farewell dinner at the BBQ City Korean restaurant.