I picked up a ticket back in November because I wasn’t going to miss this one. One of the benefits of buying single seats is you tend to get your seat in a good location. This was no exception as I was about 8 rows back, at a 45 degree angle, from stage right. The show was amazing. The pyrotechnics were intense, waves of heat washing over us as fireballs exploded across the stage. It looks like the U.S. tour is winding down, and there’s some doubt about what the band’s plans for the future are, but if you get a chance, and the music is to your liking, you really should go see them.
Ghost Rider was the first book I started after school finished. Neal Peart, the drummer for Rush, lost his wife and daughter within the same year. He left on a long motorcycle ride to clear his head and try to heal from those devastating losses. While riding he kept a journal and wrote letters to friends and family, which became the source material for this book. It is a tough read at times, especially if you’ve experienced similar losses, but it was a good book. Ignore the negative reviews which put the book down because he slaghed people for various reasons. Yes, he does, but you’ve got to take it in context instead of as an isolated event.
Since we had a little time before we had to catch our flight home, Heather and I went to the Gateway Arch. I’ve been there before but never had a chance to go to the top of it and this was Heather’s first visit. We toured the museum for a little while and then got in the pod to go up. If you’re in the least bit claustrophobic, do not try to go up. Really, don’t. The view from up there was pretty impressive, though we picked a bad time because it was full of kids on school trips. After getting some pictures we headed back down and picked up our souvenir photos before heading to the airport for the flight home.
Today was another busy day. After getting breakfast, the three of us went over to the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for some cultural enrichment for Reese. The museum was very well put together, with great exhibits and good explanations of the items on display. He had a really good time, and I wish we had more time, but we had to get him back to Peoria. So we hit the road, got him back to his mom, and then made our way down to St. Louis, taking some back roads to avoid the I-55 construction we saw on the way out. Thanks to that I got to take Heather to one of my favorite dive bars, Fast Eddie’s Bon-Air, in Alton, Illinois. It was a favorite haunt during Meet In The Middle rides, serving good cold beer and cheap greasy burgers. From there we made our way in to St. Louis and the hotel.
We got up early today, fed Reese some breakfast, and then went over to the UIS campus for the On-Line Graduates brunch. It was great meeting some of the faculty and students that I’ve had classes with. Counting me, three of the four members of my capstone project team were there, which was nice.
After brunch and some picture taking we went over to the Prairie Capital Convention Center for the commencement ceremony. It was a little long, but good. I’m glad I didn’t miss it. The commencement speaker was Wenguang Huang, a UIS graduate, who spoke about some of his experiences growing up in China. After the speeches it was our turn to walk across the stage and receive our diploma holders. That was definitely the high point of the day. I know the grades aren’t in yet, but it does bring a little closure to the process. Once we were all done, we were dismissed and got to pick up a free copy of Huang’s book. I was lucky and got one of the signed copies.
From there we went back to campus to take some pictures in my regalia and then back out to grab a little dinner before turning in for the night. Reese and I downloaded pictures from the cameras and his DSi once we were back at the hotel. The little guy’s got a good eye, and I’m thinking of how to encourage it.
Heather and I got down to Love Field this morning to catch our flight to St. Louis. From there we rented a car and drove over to Pappy’s Smokehouse for some lunch. The barbecue was amazing. If you get a chance, it’s worth the trip through the order line. Here’s Heather munching on a pulled pork sandwich. She’s probably going to kill me for posting this picture, so have a wake for me at Pappy’s.
After lunch we drove up to Peoria to pick up Reese and then headed back to Springfield to get some dinner and settle in for the Commencement ceremony tomorrow. We went to D’Arcy’s Pint for dinner, where Reese and I split a horseshoe. It’s an open faced sandwich composed of bread, meat, and french fries covered in a cheese sauce. It was extremely tasty, and got Reese’s seal of approval as well.
After that, back to the hotel for some sleep. Got a busy day tomorrow…
My ESXi box’s boot disk died today. Massive filesystem errors while trying to install the latest security update. Thankfully I’ve had the VMware Management Assistant appliance running regular backups of the configuration, so it wasn’t too tough to restore. I grabbed a spare SATA drive that I had laying around (yeah, I know, it’s overkill), got it hooked up, installed and patched ESXi to the same revision, and restored the latest config backup. All the VMs are on the RAID volume so it was all up and running like nothing happened. So unless you’re using vSphere Auto Deploy you really should be backing up your ESXi configuration and have a physical machine that can restore that data.