Sorry for the lag. I’ve been really busy. We got in some time with family from afar this weekend, and I wasn’t even able to get all of the small new weeds out of the garden:

Growing garden - May 2015

Growing garden – May 2015

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I will point out that if you’re a supporting member of WorldCon this year: Sasquan, the Hugo voting packet is now out. I’ve got a fair bit of reading to do, since I’d only read a couple of the contenders. My recommendation? Ignore the controversy, read the works, vote for what’s good and well-written. ALSO, You can now pay your voting fee (which is additionally a Worldcon supporting membership fee for 2017) and vote for where the Worldcon will be held in 2017. I’d be thankful if you did, and voted for DC17 – bring Worldcon to Washington DC. It’ll be a blast and I’d love to see any/all of you there!

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Sadly, Petty Officer 3rd Class Devon J. Doyle, 21, of Alamosa, Colorado, died May 16, in Manama, Bahrain, of a non-combat related incident while on liberty. Our condolences to his family and friends.

More gardening

One solution to the weeds that come up between the garden raised beds – turn the weeds green side down:

Weeds, green side down.

Weeds, green side down.

Yup, it was more gardening this weekend. It’s the important time of year for the yard – taking care that the plants get a good start does more for the garden than any work I do a month or two from now. I also mowed the lawns, and weeded out the garden beds themselves. That plus a number of hours working remotely ate the whole weekend. Oh, and we’re solidly into the 80’s with much higher humidity. Just lovely.

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DoD reported no new casualties in the last week. Ciao!

Mostly yard

Yup. This weekend, it was mostly yard work. Yesterday, while Marcia and LindaRose did a yard sale (which doesn’t involve selling yards at all, oddly), I took the small gas tiller up the street, and tilled garden beds for a neighbor who just had back surgery and wasn’t up to the task, yet. Then I hauled it back down here, and tilled some leaf compost into the one bed that needed more attention than just a shovel could provide.

Thereafter, I headed over to Collins Nursery over at Woodcliff Road and Old Annapolis Road. It’s a small, family-owned and operated nursery – the kind I like doing business with, year after year. This trip, I picked up one more flat of assorted vegetables. Back home, I got them all in the garden beds.

Today, after shopping, I edged and mowed the lawns front and back, then got the watering system setup for the back yard. Here’s the way it looks today:

Herb bed, May 3 2015

Herb bed, May 3 2015

For herbs, I have oregano, basil, chives, and cilantro in the bed shown above. I’ve got thyme in a pot on the porch.

Veggie beds, May 3 2015

Veggie beds, May 3 2015

For veggies this year, I have assorted tomatoes (roma, early girl, better boy, sweet 100’s cherry, and brandywine), zucchini, peppers (jalapeno, serrano, habanero, and bell), broccoli, and cucumber. The next major outdoor project is to get hanging baskets up, and watering set up for those. I might do that on the coming weekend, but I often don’t until early June … There’s also sanding and painting that needs doing. But I’ll wait for the yard to be fully in shape, first.

I also have a woodshop project, but it may lie fallow for months. Such is Spring and Summer.

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DoD has reported no new casualties in the most recent week.


Knife work

New walnut knife handle

New walnut knife handle

Another kitchen knife with a broken plastic handle retrieved from the edge of disaster and made real purty with some walnut, and brass screw rivets. Turns out the hardest part of this project was finding where I’d hidden put in a safe place the brass rivets. Once all of the assembly and sanding was done, I soaked the handle in butcher block oil for 15 minutes or so, then wiped off the excess and let it rest for a couple of days. I’m pleased with the outcome. This fillet knife is one of my favorite kitchen tools, and I’d been without it for a while now. Glad that it’s home. Ciao!

Breakage, updated…

It turns out I didn’t break my WordPress install. But my home IP address *had* changed, and I have lots of things locked down to specific IP addresses for access. So I’ve got two of the three sites puzzled out. But one of them appears to have a broken theme directory. I’ll be looking into that now…

[A few minutes later, after looking at logfiles] Yup – the twentyeleven theme needed fixing on another site – I refreshed the whole thing, and I’ll keep a close eye on it in the next short while. I don’t remember mucking about in there … but it’s possible.

De-broken WP; Yardwork

Well, sometime last week, one of the changes that I made while working with “responsive” WordPress themes and site links broke the site. Not the part you see, but the administrative and posting functionality. Sadly, I’ve been busy enough that I didn’t catch this until last night late. So I just fixed it, and I’m taking a few minutes to catch up.

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Over the weekend, I washed the car, planted flowers front and back, and planted about half of the expected veggies. More on that later, but here’s the Box of Pain (aka – peppers):

Peppers - April 2015

Peppers – April 2015

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week. Ciao!

Yard, Themes

This weekend, I was working in the yard. The garden beds, they are ready for plants:

Garden Bed Prep - 2015

Garden Bed Prep – 2015

That, along with mowing the lawns, twice, and cleaning out all of the front flower beds, took up most of Friday and Saturday. Sunday was rest (or its best friend, immobility).

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Theme update: The theme, it is currently a bit hideous, but now mobile friendly, due to changes in how Google search results will be ranked. Here’s a useful link on the topic from Digital Trends. Expect more work on this over the coming days.

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Tech. Sgt. Anthony E. Salazar, 40, of Hermosa Beach, California, died April 13, at an air base in southwest Asia in a non-combat related incident. Our condolences to his friends and family.

All About Security

I spent my weekend attending talks at the inaugural BSides Charm City. BSides puts on several regional security conferences, and I’m glad they expanded into this geographic. Two full days of security talks has made my head explode, and now I’m a full week behind the curve on getting the yards ready for spring, but all good. I learned a lot! The conference sold out this year, but I am given to understand that they’re moving to a larger venue next year, so if you’re in the area and want to spend a little bit of money on a whole lot of value, join me there in 2016.

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Spc. John M. Dawson, 22, of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, died April 8, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was attacked by small arms fire while he was on an escort mission. Our condolences to his family and friends.


Pushing harder

First, exercise. I’ve been pushing a lot harder the last couple of weeks. I’ll do 20-30 minutes of alternating stretches and exercise (squats, sit-ups, push-ups), followed by 45+ minutes on the elliptical. My “best” day of the week was yesterday: I managed 60 minutes, 8200 strides, 1000+ calories burned on the machine. I probably pushed too hard – it hurt when I did a normal workout today. But overall, I feel better, and I sleep better. Those are both good things.

I skipped a day on Wednesday. The body was demanding a short break, and the UP24 was mis-behaving. Taken together, those are good enough reasons – I only managed about a total of 4500 steps that day, which dragged my daily average for the week down to 13,500 steps a day. The week before was nearly at 15K steps daily.

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Turns out that among certain circles, last year’s Hugo winners were seen as an upsetting bunch of diverse and progressive upstarts. So this year, the upset ones decided to mount an outright campaign to return the awards to people they like (which appear to be mostly conservative/libertarian white folk). This, while playing within the rules of the Hugo nominations, has now upset a bunch of the progressive wing of SF&F (authors *and* fandom). Here’s an article on io9 that might bring you up to speed if you care to know more. Me? I liked many of the stories that were nominated last year.

More to the point, there are an unlimited amount of fucks I don’t give about the politics going on. There are lots of wonderful people and authors in SF&F. There are some who are … less wonderful. Some are outright assholes.  But, importantly, what I want is good stories. Since I’m not a good enough writer to make them myself, I want other people to write them. I don’t care (much, if at all) about the politics, gender/sex orientation, race, or anything else about an author. What I care about is that the author has one job. ONE JOB. Entertain me. For their sake, I hope there are lots of other people that they can entertain, too, or they won’t eat well.

So this year, for the first time ever, I’ve become a WorldCon Supporting Member. This means that I can vote for the Hugos in the way that’s most important to me: The stories. The stories. If it turns out that the stacking of the nominations means that the stories I like are written by people who dislike diversity and people having sex with some old white guy non-approved person … oh, well – I like the story and it will get my vote. IF, however, the stories suck … it doesn’t matter who wrote them. No vote for you.

If you’re a Science Fiction fan, and want to make a difference in the fiction that’s rewarded by fans, in a way slightly less important than, say, buying the author’s work, then register for this year’s WorldCon – Attending if you can, Supporting if you can’t. And vote. If you want to vote on the politics, fine. If you want to vote on the stories, well, that’s what the Hugo’s are for, and I’d like you to do that. But you can’t make a difference if you don’t register and vote.

Also remember – the most sincere way you can register your love of an author’s work is to support their anti-social writing habit by buying the stories they produce. If you like short fiction, subscribe to those markets (I’m a fan and subscriber of Clarkesworld, myself). If you like novel-length work, buy the books. Support the authors so that they can write more. Hugos are nice on the mantle, but royalty checks can feed the family.

Oh, yeah: As a favor to me, if you do register, remember that I’d like it very much if you voted to bring the WorldCon to Washinton DC in 2017. Just sayin’.

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Last week, I impact tested one of my remote backup disks to the point of failure. So I bought a new 1TB drive, which should arrive tomorrow. I’ll talk soon about how I’m encrypting these backups.

Also coming up, a new table is getting ready to emerge from the woodshop. I’m also putting another new handle on one of our kitchen knives, since the plastic is crap was cracking.

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No casualties were announced by DoD in the last week. Yay. Ciao!

Staying Busy

It’s a long list of small-ish chores that got done this weekend, too dull to enumerate. But lots got done, which is good. We’re hopeful that by next weekend, Marcia will have the sewing room and fabric room reassembled and nice enough to show y’all a picture or two of how it came out. But right now it’s a slice of Hell for the compulsive tidier…

It was pretty cold this weekend – hovering around freezing. So, no yard work (not that I had time for any). On the exercise front, I’m back in full swing, however. According to my Jawbone UP24, I did a shade over 100000 [Corrected to 100K+ on 3/30] steps in the last 7 days: Monday through Sunday. Whoa!

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Still no new casualties to report, according to DoD.