Software, technology, sysadmin war stories, and more. Feed
Monday, February 27, 2012

Some things are best left contained

I used to live in a particularly humid part of Texas. There were amazing cockroaches that were longer than your hand was wide, and they could fly. They were huge, numerous, and disgusting. They tended to stay outside, but enough of them got around to where anyone who turned over a rock soon learned about them.

Our house had an outdoor table made of solid concrete which sat on top of an old tree stump. At some point in the past, someone had cut down that tree and plopped this 300+ pound beast of a table on top of it. Well, formerly-living things being what they are, this tree started to rot.

Our table was in danger of falling over and making a huge mess. All it would take is one good storm with high winds and that would be it. It might have damaged the surrounding wooden deck, or cracked in two, or just shed a bunch of the tiles which had been set into the top and sides. Something had to be done.

We got some help and lifted the table out and moved it out of the way. Then, one afternoon, we decided to take out that stump. It took a few good whacks, but once it split, it was like opening the door to hell. Hundreds of slimy, buzzing, flying, squirmy things rushed out. They had been living in the rotting stump, and now we had exposed them to the hot Texas sun, and boy were they angry.

Obviously, we ran inside to get away from it. As we watched through a window, this cloud of vermin started migrating up, over, and around the side of the house, heading more-or-less up the street for some reason. Maybe the wind was blowing that way. All I know is that by the time the sun set, they were all gone. The next day, we were able to finish the job and remove the lingering bits of rotten wood.

A few days later, I ran into one of my neighbors while doing something outside. He started talking about how his house had suddenly been overrun by cockroaches and all sorts of other creepy-crawly bugs. It couldn't have been a coincidence. It must have happened when we broke open that stump. It was all I could do to stand there and just smile without cracking up.

I mention this because I have conflicting feelings about certain companies. On one hand, I would like to see them die a miserable death and see their servers burnt in effigy as their evil remains are scattered to the four corners of the earth.

On the other hand, if you chop open a rotten stump that's full of vermin, the vermin tends to spill out and infest the neighbors.

What to do, what to do.


Epilogue: we replaced that stump with a clean/unused 55 gallon oil drum acquired from a local refinery company. See, there are benefits to living in Southeast Texas! The problem was getting it home.

Put it this way: have you ever squeezed an oil drum into the passenger side of a 2 door luxury car? I have! The door even closed!