Sunday, August 18, 2013

May you live in interesting times

That is an ancient Chinese curse.

As I find myself once again relocating our house and home, I have to agree, for as much as I have many things about Vermont that I do not enjoy, I've discovered many things that I'll miss.

Chief among them having a life, a routine, and a comfortable rut that I enjoy.

I know things about here and they know me here.

I walk in the pizza shop and they know what I like and will sometimes cook me a whole, small, peperoni pizza instead of just fixing me the two slices I'm in for. Just because that is what life in a small town is like.

And Northfield, Vermont is a small town.

Actually, a village.

The Village of Northfield. With a Main street and a town square with the National Guard Armory on it.

And parades on national holidays.

And concerts and small town activities on the town square during such times, with the town square being completely closed off to traffic and folks being okay with that.

Your dog is welcome in the Village offices when you stop by to pay your utilities and they'll give your dog a treat when you stop by.

Not a perfect place, but nice.

Work was very nice, small place with lots of interesting things to do.

But times change, fortunes ebb, and I found myself looking for alternate employment.

And discovered that I'll miss this small town and the life we've had there with the folks in the town, my coworkers, and the students I've had the pleasure to know and mentor.

I taught a post-graduate course on computer penetration testing this spring. I enjoyed it, despite the work it took as I worked to ensure that I brought my "A game" to every session. All online, class and labs, I taught in front of a web cam for three hours each week then turned my students loose on their online labs for a week of virtual mayhem.

Attacking workstations. Attacking servers. Attacking networks.

Each week I'd demonstrate the techniques on a like target to show them ways that it could be done. Share insight into the though processes involved in penetrating the machines and networks despite an initial lack of information.

Scared the dickens out of them by showing them how easy it was to attack and take down a poor, innocent, Windows server quietly minding it's own business.

It was a very rewarding class, watching the students learn and master new skills, taking down machines and networks as they progressed through the course. Watching the light come on as they grasped the techniques and applied their knowledge and newly acquired skills. Coaching a student from dropping out to earning an A- by course's end.

And watching undergraduate kids I'd mentored through their four years here as they strode confidently across the stage to receive their diplomas and to head out into the world and make their way.

I'll miss the interaction with the students, but things change and now they are not the only ones moving on.

After a long search and interview process I have accepted and started a position with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory as a systems administrator.

Lots of smart folks and interesting projects for me to support and it will be a worthy challenge doing so.

And our 36th or 37th move.

Or so.

With all that goes with that, and we're having to do the move ourselves which adds to an already stressful time. But we'll manage, we have each other, come what may.

It's a bigger research facility than the one that I've been working for with much better funding. But I'll miss my previous coworkers.

Scott. Chris. Tracy. Katie. Andy and more.

Good folks one and all, who I knew not once upon a time. As it is with my current, new, coworkers.

Except for one that I've known for many years. A fellow SF commo man with whom it has been a pleasant opportunity to get reacquainted again.

The commute is a bit more than the 0.9 miles that I've become accustomed to. So, I go in early to run and lift and do things like that on base before work.

Boring and comfortable is vastly underrated.  

This is new. It is interesting. It is different.

And it is so much harder than everything that we have gotten used to.

Because, it is unknown.

And interesting.

Because boring is comfortable and familiar.

And interesting is not.

To live in interesting times is anything but comfortable and familiar.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I had no idea that you'd be moving on. Best of luck with the new gig!