Posts Tagged 'Food'

August 24, 2010

Sippin Syrup

Here on the SoftLayer overnight shift (aka "team undead"), the technicians (aka "SLombies") often find it difficult to get a full 8 hours of sleep.
Quick science lesson: the body produces melatonin when it is dark outside. This regulates the sleep cycle. So it's only natural that it is hard to sleep during the day.

Initially I had been drinking a beer or five to go to bed every morning. Since I don't want to have liver failure at age 43, I decided to check out some alternatives. I used Unisom Sleep Tabs for a while, but I have been looking for substitutes, since they are essentially the sleep inducing antihistamine contained in NyQuil. The warning on the box says not to consume any alcoholic beverage with these, and it doesn't recommend long term usage of the drug.

The new alternative: relaxation beverages
A relaxation beverage is the polar opposite of an energy drink. It is designed to calm and slow you down. They have ingredients such as: kava kava, valerian root, and melatonin. I have tried two different brands: Drank and Sippin Syrup. These are both references to the "purple stuff" drug that is created by mixing codeine and sprite. There is also a Purple Stuff brand (codeine free, of course), but I have not had an opportunity to try this yet. You can get it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/16-Pack-Pro-Relaxation-Beverage-Classic/dp/B002SMZM92.

Drank
You'll often find Drank at a 7-11, but sadly the 7-11 near me stopped carrying it. It has a grape soda flavor, and it certainly lacks the medicinal taste of most energy drinks. It is in a standard 16oz energy drink sized can. It will knock you out pretty easily. You can buy it by the case from the website: http://www.drankbeverage.com/

Sippin Syrup
This one is my favorite. It's effectiveness is very similar to Drank. The best part about this one is that it comes in a resealable container, so you can have just half a dose if you are already tired. It comes in 3 flavors: Purple (grape), Kandy (cream soda), and Griptonite (grape apple flavor). There is also a low carb version called Sippin Syrup Zero, which doesn't really interest me personally. They make a concentrated shot version called a Lil Sip. When I ordered, they were nice enough to send me a free T-shirt as well. You can order it by the case (12 or 24 packs) from their website: http://sippinsyrup.com/

I have been getting much better sleep these days! I highly recommend either of these products.

-Mark

Categories: 
February 1, 2010

Fuel!

Fuel!

Ask anyone here on our staff, and they’ll tell you a few things about their position:

  1. It’s never boring
  2. It can be quite demanding
  3. We’re never technically “off duty”

That being said, we all need our fuel to keep us going at warp speed. Luckily at the NOC we’re lucky enough to have a fully stocked break room with all sorts of odds and ends to keep us going when the energy levels get low. Allow me to show a few of my personal favorites:

  1. Chocolate Covered Raisins
    These little buggers are great when you’re running like mad and just need a quick snack. You can scoop up a good cupful and keep them at the desk for the remainder of your shift. You can take a little detour to grab a couple while en route to your destination. You can also trick yourself into thinking that they’re healthy since they have raisins in them.
  2. Doritos
    These have made a reliable meal substitute on multiple occasions. A few bags of these can trick your hunger pains and quiet the ache for a few until you can grab an actual meal (not always a guarantee).
  3. Coffee
    Any fan of caffeine knows why I’m adding this. It’s often the first thing ingested at the start of the day, and is famous for its energy-inducing properties. Love it or hate it, you cannot deny the eye-opening effects of this one.
  4. Dr Pepper
    My second favorite carbonated beverage provided here. A quick drink and a quick pick me up.

And for my favorite:

RedBull!

Much like many of the techs here, I have a clinical addiction to caffeine. Caffeine is the lifeblood of the NOC and keeps us working at top speed and form. To date, I have found no quicker delivery of this than through the 8.2 ounce can of this elixir.

And there you have it. These are the snacks and beverages provided that keep me going. And while it’s no health food store, it certainly spikes the blood sugar or caffeine levels enough to sustain a happy and proficient technician through the long night hours.

January 20, 2010

Mexican Food vs. On Demand Infrastructure

My friend Ric Moseley has an interesting theory regarding Mexican food. He claims that all Mexican food has the same basic major components, each dish just stacks the components up in different ways. The major components are tortillas, meat and sauce. Of course there are a couple of different ways to prepare each of these components, but in the end, it really boils down to tortillas, meat and sauce. This applies to just about every main-line dish you find on the menu at any number of the local Tex-Mex restaurants. Crispy tacos, soft tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, burritos, fajitas, nachos, quesadillas, flautas, tamales (well almost)... Add more here... I'm going to stop myself before I start sounding like Benjamin "Bubba" Bufford-Blue from Forrest Gump, but you get the idea. By no means am I knocking the combined assembly. Quite the opposite; I'm a huge fan! When it comes down to it, I appreciate the creativity that is involved in putting these ingredients together in such a manner that the finished combination is far greater than the sum of its parts.

And that kind of leads me back to what SoftLayer brings to the table, so to speak. SoftLayer provides all sorts of components for the modern enterprise. Plenty of folks use them as is, heck who doesn't enjoy a warm fresh tortilla with a pad of butter. However, for many people, it’s just an appetizer. The real satisfaction is from the combination of the united components when that steaming plate of enchiladas arrives. One of the great satisfactions of my job is seeing how our customers roll up our components in new and creative ways. The array of application deployments that are hosted by SoftLayer is entirely staggering. Let me throw on my digital chef hat for a minute. Start with a private network database, add public network servers, mix in some cloud computing for quick scalability, and wrap it all in a load balancer. Que bueno! That's some good cooking, and this chef is off to the margarita machine!

December 23, 2009

He Can Eat How Many Chipotle Burrito’s???!!!

You’ve all heard how great it is to work for an innovative and cutting edge company from other staff, so I won’t bore you with things you already know. Let’s talk SL culture a bit; let’s get into the real “meat” of what motivates and fuels the staff on a day to day basis—the Dallas NOC staff specifically. It’s a bunch of dudes and me, the only chick. Yes, I am brave… very, very brave!

Blue1

We like to eat, if you didn’t already know. Our own CTO, Sam Fleitman, actually competes in BBQ contests. We are his sponsor; go 3 Bars BBQ (best ribs you will ever eat)! Work hard, play harder, eat like pigs (and eat pigs too, we love bacon), that’s what we know and love! On this particular day, I decided to go pick up Chipotle for anyone who wanted some. Chris “Mank” Menard was goofin’ on William “Blue” Spencer; and, somehow it was decided that if Blue could eat 3 Chipotle burrito’s in under an hour, we’d all chip in and pay for his lunch. Blue can be somewhat of a braggart, so everyone was into it. Little did we know…

Blue2

He began on his first one, polishing the puppy off in around 3 minutes flat.

Let me be sure you understand and know the Chipotle burrito. These things are packed full: meat, rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa, lettuce; they are a good 1-2 pounds each I’d imagine.

He starts the second one, and this is where we all think he’s going to slow down. That first one was a breeze, but the rice should start to expand in his stomach within no time. Wrong again, this one went down just as easily, but he decided to take a bit more time. This one clocked in at 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Although he was admittedly full, as you can see from his expression, he forged on…

Blue3

Blue took a brief break, to let it all settle in before the 3rd and final burrito, but only to have some Mt. Dew and mess with our minds. We knew we’d be buying those burritos, especially when he decided to toy with all of us with this pose. Yes folks, that is the 3rd one, almost gone.

Blue4

The 3rd was downed in about 4 minutes 15 seconds and that was only because he was having too much fun messing around with us, as we stood on the other side of the table in amazement, horror, and total disbelief. The guy is an eating machine!
We even got our next order free, thanks to the Manager at Chipotle (around $150). When I picked up the order, she asked why there were 3 for Blue, I explained the situation; she loved it and told me that if he did it, to give her a call and the next lunch order was on her! So, I kindly gave her a ring; and, the following week, we got lunch paid for completely!

Blue5

Thanks for entertaining us Blue! What’s next? It’s been long enough…Hopefully you will be reading another blog soon, with another meat-tastic challenge!

February 15, 2008

Ordering Lunch - How Hard Can it Be?

Every so often on a slammed sale days, I offer to pay for lunch for the sales team to keep everyone at their desks focused on sales rather than worrying about food. Other times, a very nice customer might offer to pay for lunch one day for the sales team. Regardless of the situation, I usually task someone with ordering and picking up the food so the rest of the team can focus on sales. Seems pretty simple right? Somehow it never seems to go as planned.

Here are two examples:

How to spend $200 on lunch for 6:

Daniel one of our Senior Account Managers calls me on his way into work (he comes in at 11:00PM), here is the conversation:

Daniel: "Hey Steven, I see its really slammed at work want me to pick up lunch on the way in?"

Steven: "Sure, go ahead no one has had time to get up from their desk much less get lunch. Pick something up an Ill buy lunch today for the team".

Daniel: "What should I get"

Steven: "Whatever is fine, gotta go the phone is ringing"

Daniel shows up a bit later with a ton of food, enough to feed half the office not just sales. A really nice Fajitas feast with all the fixings, hot sauce, cheese, beans, guacamole, rice, pretty much everything. I thought to myself, wow Daniel did a really good job here this is excellent. Then I get the bill... It was over $200 for takeout lunch for 6 people. I promptly tell Daniel he is no longer on lunch delivery team, and that $200 for lunch is a bit much. Two months later I am still trying to work up the courage to put that one on an expense report.

How to spend $25 on lunch for 10:

A particularly grateful customer contacted us saying that he wanted to buy lunch for the sales and a couple of networking team members that helped him out with a recent issue. Mary another one of our Senior Account Managers was tasked with the order this time and after much discussion back and forth between Pizza and Mexican food, we settle on Mexican food. I am thinking to myself, thank goodness Daniel isn't in charge of this order, Vik (the customer) probably doesn't want to pay $200 for lunch. When the food arrives, I step out into the sales area to examine the feast. Much to my surprise there is only two very small bags of food half full.

I announce out loud:

"Where is the rest of the food? This isn't close to enough to feed 10 people."
I'm told "that's it, that's all we got".

No cheese, no hot sauce, no guacamole... this is a far cry from the spread Daniel got last time and there was no chance of it feeding 8 people. Ultimately I send someone back for more food.

So what is the lesson learned here? The sale team is excellent at selling SoftLayer services, and managing customer relationships. They can tell you the difference between and why you want a Single processor 5000 series server vs. a Single processor 3000 series server, they can tell you why your video streaming site needs to run on a server with SAS drives and not SATAII drives, and they can tell you all about StorageLayer and how it can help you. What cant they do for you? They can't get the Mexican food order for lunch correct.

Next time we will stick with Pizza.

-Steven

Subscribe to food