Monday, March 30, 2009

2009 Ski Season: Day 19

Pirate Flag at Kirkwood

Location: Kirkwood
Date: 3-29-2009
Conditions: Firm, groomed, icy in spots

Sunday we took yet another trip to Kirkwood for some spring skiing. We arrived early on the Bay Area Ski Bus and boarded the Timber Creek express lift before its official 9 AM start. The front side of the mountain was groomed and still a bit firm from the overnight freeze. We applied a follow the sun approach which dictated that we head to Kirkwood's backside early in the morning. The runs below Iron Horse were great.

We hit Sunise lift as well. I thought the conditions there were fine, other skiers apparently disagreed as I overheard a ton of complaints about the "ice." We headed back to the front side for a lunch run, but not before I hiked to Outlook Vista and took a run down the face. It was pretty crusty up there and I had the entire area all to myself. Still, I'm glad to have checked off the new lift. I can once again say I've skied all the lifts at Kirkwood.

That afternoon, we headed to Cornice Express were the real fun began. The lift line had an "Experts Only" warning which should we should have taken as a sign. We traversed along the ridge past Jim's, Fireball, and Chamonix. As we did, I peered over the ledge and convinced myself that it was indeed steep. As we came to Sentinel Bowl, tt was like the Ice Capades had come to town. One could hear skis scraping the ice, skiers exclaiming how difficult the run was, and the sounds of skiers sliding down the mountain on their backsides. At one point, I saw a kid drop a pole and then slide sixty feet on his back. His dad was first thinking about grabbing the pole but finally decided it was a better idea to ski down below him then stop to arrest the kid's fall. We managed to stay (mostly) upright and made it down in record time.

That afternoon, we hit up the terrain park for some fun box training and a few cracks at the half pipe. It was a nice way to wind down the day and prepare for the ride home.

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Big Basin Hike

Golden Cascade

On Saturday, Liam, Jodi and I took off for a hike at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Liam wanted to go to Big Sur but that was too far away. Jodi came up with an awesome backup plan.

I took a look at the Waterfalls of California page for more info. It sounded like several of the waterfalls there would make for a great destination and some great photos. To get to the destinations, you have to put in the work.

The Skyline to the Sea trail was closed so we wound up getting robbed of our plan to go to Berry Creek Falls, rated a 9.5 as one of the best falls in CA. Instead, we hit Golden Cascade via the Sunset trail. The round trip hike topped out just over 5 hours. It was rated as "strenuous." During the hike, we joked that it wasn't as bad as we expected and that the trail keepers needed to come up with a new designation "super-strenuous." All that joking faded away when we got home to sore legs and blistered feet. Good thing we had nothing on the agenda for Sunday besides a full day skiing at Kirkwood.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

2009 Ski Season: Day 18




Location: Sierra-at-Tahoe
Date: 3-21-2009
Conditions: hardpack, groomed, trace fresh snow


Saturday, we headed up to Sierra-at-Tahoe for another day of fun on the slopes. This trip brings my current season total to 18 days, just two shy of my goal, and marks the most ski days in a single season to date. The conditions were okay most of the day. On the plus side, it started snowing as soon as we got on the mountain. It turned out that the storm hit Sierra the hardest, according to On The Snow, the mountain got 35 inches in the past 48 hours. Hows that for Spring skiing?

This latest dump means the rest of the season should be fantastic. We are already ahead of the total snowfall from last year and well on the way to 500 inches for the season.

Runs of the day included Castle which is always fun and a few trips into the progression parks off of Easy Rider and the backside. The first time through, I hit the fun box straight on and dropped straight off. The next time, not so much.

D: waits his turn and drops in to the park
D: Jumps on the fun box
D: Decides now would be a good time to start trying some new tricks in the park
D: Tries a left turn on the box, envisioning a sweet drop off sideways and a smooth landing
D: Finds the fun box is really a freakin' slip-and-slide, skis go out from under him, hits the ground like a ton o bricks
Skier on the lift: YARDSALE!
D: Slides ten feet down the hardpack on his left side
D: Gets up, tries to climb back to his stuff, avoiding 3 new riders who have no idea he is down right below the feature

I'm still hurting a bit today on my left ribcage.

Note to self: go straight on the fun box, especially when it has just started snowing.

After that, I got a few more runs in before I had to call it quits. Still, I am happy to get some time in the park and to take my lumps. Still in my sites: rails.

Then again, maybe I have been watching to many videos.

Hey, at least I did better than this guy:

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Monday, March 09, 2009

2009 Ski Season: Day 17

Hi From Lake Tahoe
Hi From Lake Tahoe
Originally uploaded by dmourati



Location: Alpine Meadows
Date: 3/7/2009
Conditions: Groomed, powder, soft

The day started off on a sour note when our Bay Area Ski Bus host was late to arrive in Santa Clara. We waited for her for 20 minutes then finally took off only to make 4 more stops on the trip to Tahoe City.

Stop 1: pick up more folks in San Francisco

Stop 2: pick up more folks in Oakland plus our missing host

Stop 3: pick up more folks in Walnut Creek

Stop 4: pick up lift tickets in Truckee

Finally, we made it to Alpine Meadows about 9:30 AM.

I was on promo duty so I helped my main man Tom carry what seemed like a 100 pound plus tent through the parking lot and up to the base of the mountain. Ordinarily, it would not have been a big deal but in ski boots, walking across a parking lot, carrying skis, poles, and a 100 pound tent is not the best way to start out the day. After finally erecting this monster, I was anxious to get in a milk run. Tom and i hit Hot Wheels and I went into the gully in search of pow.

I found it. I ripped my way down the gully and back to the Hot Wheels lift where we met Jodi for another lap on Hot Wheels.

We headed to the backside and took a few runs off Lakeview Chair. As the chair's name implies, it offers some of the best scenery the mountain has to offer. See above.

I had an awesome wipeout off of Sherwood Express. I was mach schnell down a groomer when I spotted some fresh powpow off to the side. I went into the powder field without slowing down. My skis started to grip the snow but I was not able to make any proper turns. When I came to a slight embankment, I knew it was trouble. My left ski dug into the snow and popped off. I kept going full speed ahead. Yardsale. It was fun though. Back at the bottom, Jodi knocked a huge clump of snow off my helmet, a dead-giveaway that an accident had occurred on my last run.

We hit the Alpine Bowl later that afternoon which showed evidence of avalanche debris in the form of huge snow boulders. Roundhouse provided the rest of the afternoons fun and we wound down around 4:00 PM after a full day of skiing.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Splunk Light Forwarder

In this instalment of Fun With Splunk, I will walk you through how to setup a distributed Splunk installation using the new Splunk Light Forwarder. While lightweight forwarding has been around for some time, the new install makes things a bit more streamlined. The idea here is that you setup on machine to index your data and run the web UI. This box should be free from other production duties. An infrastructure box, such as one running Nagios, Ganglia, Cacti or the like is a good candidate.

The logs you will want to analyse, however, are likely on your production machines, your web servers, app servers, databases, etc. Since those machines have real work to do, you'd like to offload the data indexing and searching to a machine not in the critical path of your customers. The new Light Forwarder is what you want.

First, download Splunk for your architecture. I'm running version 3.4.6, the latest as of March 4, 2009, on x86_64 for Linux 2.6 kernels. I downloaded one copy to my workstation to get started.

Next, I scp the RPM file to all three of my machines for this install, two Light Forwarders, and one full-blown Indexer.

Run "rpm -Uvh /home/dmourati/splunk-3.4.6-51113-linux-2.6-x86_64.rpm" on all three machines to install the binaries. Next, setup splunk to auto start out of init. To do this, I run "/opt/splunk/bin/splunk enable boot-start" again on all three machines. Finally, start splunk with the newly installed init script via "/etc/init.d/splunk start".

When I attempted to connect to the indexer with my web browser, I noticed some firewall ports issues. I opened port 8000 for the UI, 9997 for the intra-splunk data transfer and was able to connect. On the forwarders, you can open the port but you won't need it in the long run. Remember to close the port back down in your firewall config or at least document why you have 8000 open. There will be no listener on the Light Forwarders when you are done.

Next, I consulted the new 3.4.6 Documentation on setting up Light Forwarders. I've already configured my Indexer to receive data. So I'm on to the next step.

Then, on the forwarding Splunk instance:

1. Install Splunk on the machine that will be forwarding data.

2. Enable data forwarding by pointing your forwarder at the receiver using these instructions.

"/opt/splunk/bin/splunk add forward-server indexer:9997"

3. Use Splunk Web or the CLI to add inputs as described here. Data from these inputs will be sent via the forwarder to the receiver.

I'm using follow-only, which I helped drive as a Splunk feature in a previous life.

# /opt/splunk/bin/splunk add monitor /var/log/eyefi -follow-only True
Added monitor of '/var/log/eyefi'.
# /opt/splunk/bin/splunk add monitor /var/log/httpd -follow-only True
Added monitor of '/var/log/httpd'.
# /opt/splunk/bin/splunk add monitor /var/log/messages -follow-only True
Added monitor of '/var/log/messages'.

4. Then, use Splunk Web or the CLI to enable Splunk forwarder or light forwarder.

"# /opt/splunk/bin/splunk enable app SplunkLightForwarder"

Now, restart splunk on the Light Forwarders

Point your broswer to the Indexer at port 8000 and start Splunking.

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