In the Dark

Well. Dark-ish, sort of. Metaphorically. We still had electricity. But no phone, no Internet (well, except the cell phones), no TV. Our FiOS connection went down on Friday, and stayed down until a tech got here today and replaced some of the equipment. I used the enforced ludditic interlude to do some work in the woodshop, including sanding and finishing:

Finishing the new side table

Finishing the new side table

Sanding and some finish applied on Friday (when it rained). More finish applied with intermediate sanding on Saturday (when it rained), and final assembly today (when it didn’t rain, but I was waiting for a FiOS tech). The final product is a new side table for the living room that lives between the sofa and the easy chair:

New living room table

New living room table

Most of the evenings on Friday and Saturday was spent comforting the mutt against the trials and tribulations of many booms from all directions (fireworks of variable legal status).

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason P. May, 38, of Chesterfield, Michigan, who died on June 29, on board USS Essex (LHD 2), of non-combat related causes while the ship was at sea.

More Rain

Well, not today, exactly. Nor yesterday, as such. But we had a pretty good storm roll through on Saturday. Sunday … (yes, yes, the day I forgot to post on, again. Sigh.) Sunday, I was talking to my folks, and realized that since we returned home from California in the waning days of May, some 31 days past, we’ve had 11.7 inches of rain. Our weather has been positively tropical. I’m looking for mahogany and teak trees to start growing before my very eyes!

We got a few more tomatoes out of the garden, about twenty HUGE FREAKING cucumbers, and what looks like the last of the zucchini. Weirdly, all of the zucchini plants look like they’re dying … and dying differently than prior years. Hmmm. I do expect to be making some salsa by the Fourth, however.

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No new casualties have been announced by DoD in the last eight days. Ciao!

Marriage, Garden

A bare majority of a group of old people (hereafter known as the Supreme Court of the United States, AKA SCOTUS) today says that some people, who want to marry other people, but weren’t allowed to because some other, other people are less enlightened … well, the people are now allowed to marry any of the other people that they want, and the unenlightened people can get bit. Or move to someplace where only unenlightened activities are permitted. There’s still plenty of that to go around.

Anyway, happy for my happy gay friends, both those I know and those I don’t. Y’all get married if you want, and be happy, if you can. I’m super pleased about this decision, and amused by Scalia shouting at people to get off other people’s lawns.

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Garden. Joy. Just sayin’ …

First tomatoes, and more

First tomatoes, and more

We’ve been eating out of the garden for a couple of weeks now: broccoli, zucchini, and cucumbers. But the latter are getting highly productive (as you can see), and YAY the first tomatoes are out of the garden, and making us both happy. Salsa can’t be far off… Ciao!

Stormtime

Yes, yes, according to the calendar, it’s called Summer. But around here, it’s Stormtime. The calendar season of Summer coincides with the combination of heat, humidity and passing fronts that yields lovely, lovely thunderstorms. Well, *I* like them, more or less. Lexi, however…

Lexi hates thunder

Lexi hates thunder

For a while, she just sat there in the corner of the sectional sofa, facing the cushions, and shaking. Finally she yielded and tried to hide behind me (or between me and the cushions). That may have involved trying to excavate a cavity either in a cushion, or through my kidneys. Hmmm.

The other less fun thing about lightning is that the excess electricity can cause problems. Turns out one of the really loud flash/bangs was lightning striking a neighbor’s house. No fire, thankfully, but half of their electrics are out, and the surge cause me some interesting issues. I was working remotely at the end of the storm … then I wasn’t, when the FiOS connection went dead. No phone, no Internet, no TV. Normally not a real problem, since books are good. But I had remote work to complete last night, and remote work to do this morning. I did all of the reset steps – no joy. I did them again, no joy. So I sent an email via my phone, waving off the second stage of last night’s remote work. This morning I was up at 0600, and at the office before 0700. Did all of the work that needed doing, and simultaneously spent an hour on hold with VZ, only to find out that the earliest tech visit was to  be on Tuesday afternoon. Sigh.

I came home this morning after completing three hours of patching, rebooting, and testing. I walked the dog again, then went out to do the shopping. Back home at a little before noon, I executed another deep reset of the ONT (the external FiOS equipment), and wonder of wonders, it worked! Yay! So I cancelled the tech visit for Tuesday, and sent an email noting that I would complete a specific task myself this evening for work.

I did get the mowing and other outdoor work done yesterday, better done when the lawns are drier. Yesterday’s storm dropped over 1.5″ in about 2 hours. I hauled a bunch of zucchini and a few cucumbers out of the garden, and made some neighbors happy, as well as having zucchini for supper here.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Monterrious T. Daniel, 19, of Griffin, Georgia, who died on June 12 in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in a non-combat related incident.

 

Heat

Summer officially arrives next weekend. But so far as I can tell, it arrived this last week. 90+ degree temps, high humidity, big thunderstorms. Today, in fact, we had a storm line pass through that gave us a bunch of lightning and thunder, and 1.4″ of rain in 45 minutes. Note: Lexi really hates thunder. She spent the entire storm (and last night’s late storm) huddled against me, trembling.

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The garden is doing okay with this heat, though. I saw one tomato starting to turn color – that’s a good sign. Once I spot that, I’m usually about two weeks away from eating lots of yummy salsa, etc. Tonight, we had freshly killed broccoli from the garden, and tomorrow night, I’m expecting to pull out a bunch of zucchini.

Garden - 14 June 2015

Garden – 14 June 2015

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The surprise for me this Hugo season is The Goblin Emperor, a fantasy novel by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette). While I tend towards the harder, SciFi end of the speculative fiction genre spectrum, this Hugo-nominated work grabbed my attention and held it all the way through. I’m looking forward to the next installment in this series. If I were king-maker for the Best Novel Hugo, I think I’d have a tough time picking between this and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword. There’s still time to become a supporting member of Sasquan, and vote in this year’s Hugo balloting. Don’t fret about the ruckus. Just get the packet, read the works, vote for what you like. Given what’s in the Hugo packet, it’s $40 US well spent, any way you look at it. And if you’re a fan, you should support, read, and vote. You can ALSO pay the separate voting fee to become a supporting member (see the Site Selection tab on the Sasquan site) for the 2017 WorldCon, and vote for DC17. Just sayin’ …

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Krissie K. Davis, 54, of Talladega, Alabama, a member of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at Anniston, Alabama, and deployed to DLA Disposition Services Bagram as part of the civilian expeditionary workforce. She was killed on June 8, during an indirect fire attack on Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan.

 

Garden goodies

The garden is still just getting rolling. The tomato plants are all 2′ high or so, and the pepper plants have all been suffering through the last week of rain and cooler temps. The cucumbers and squash are trying to produce fruit. But while Marcia’s cousin Barb was visiting us over the last week, we did get to enjoy some broccoli out of the garden:

Broccoli from the garden

Broccoli from the garden

There’s not much else to report – I had a busy week dropping back into the groove at work, and spent a few hours today working on lawns and gardens. Oh, yeah, I stripped out all of the cilantro from the herb bed. It was volunteer from last year, and producing far to early to be useful for me in salsa, etc. So I cleared that section of the bed and replanted from harvested seed. It’ll be coming up again as the tomatoes come into full production, I think.

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

Vacation Over

So… the big deal is that we were in California for purposes of vacation and only vacation – 15 days worth. We visited family in the SF Bay Area, in San Diego, and near Sacramento. We visited friends in Saratoga (SF South Bay) and Dillon Beach (North coastal Marin). What a wonderful, wonderful trip. Oh, oh – AND I got to make it to Maker Faire Bay Area 10th Anniversary. That was fun and awesome, too. I could give you the full rundown on the trip, but it’s a lot like inviting you over and showing you slides, so I won’t. But it was a pleasant trip, and great to see everyone on one fell swoop. Here’s one glimpse of beauty – fog rolling east in the early morning, over the Berkeley hills:

Fog over the Berkeley hills

Fog over the Berkeley hills

We got home in time for two things:

One – The seventeenth anniversary of our wedding. That was yesterday. Seventeen years and I’m still giddy in love. Joy.

Two – A desire to have applied a fast-acting popular herbicide to my entire yard before departure. Yeah, I’ve been doing yardwork for three straight days. Mowing, weeding, pruning, weeding, etc. Both flower beds and garden beds. All my relaxation up in a puff of 90 degree days and high humidity, doing yardwork. Any weight I gained on travel is long gone.

The veggie garden is doing nicely, though:

Bilbrey Veggie Garden - 31 May 2015

Veggie Garden – 31 May 2015

That garden picture from “two weeks ago”? Yeah, that was a three-week old picture. I don’t like talking about travel until it’s done. I don’t do foursquare, either.

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On the subject of Science Fiction, I’ve managed now to get my Site Selection Voting Fee paid, and I’ve got my envelope set to mail in – Go DC17! See http://dc17.org/ and http://sasquan.org/site-selection/ for details. Paying and voting also gives you a supporting membership in the 2017 WorldCon, which, should it be in DC (Go DC17!), you could convert to an attending membership with the addition of more funds, and join in all the fun. It’d be a blast, and if it comes to DC (Go DC17!), I’ll be there, too! The least of attractions, surely, but I’d enjoy meeting any of y’all there.

Further, I’ve gotten the Hugo Nomination packet, and am working my way through the nominees. It’ll take me a while to read and vote. If I could trivially do so, I’d try to manage a blind reading and rating (no names attached), then vote the way my heart desires. But some things can’t be unseen, sadly. I’ll do my best to vote the work and not the personalities and politics. That’s what the Hugos are for.

Other factors can’t be ignored, either. For example, ESR is up for the Campbell this year (Note – the Campbell Award is NOT a Hugo). As Eric notes in his post Me for a Campbell Award? Huh? : “I’d probably say something encouraging about it being a solid, craftsmanlike first effort that delivers what its opening promises and suggests the author might be able to deliver quality work in the future.” I can but agree with that. Eric Raymond is one of my role models in a number of ways. But I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction over the last few decades, and much as I approve of Eric breaking into this field of endeavor, he’s not leader of this pack. OTOH, he’s not going to succumb to the politically popular “No Award” either, at least from me. On the gripping hand, I’m glad I read his story, and I’m looking forward to his future efforts.

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No new casualties have been announced by DoD in the last five days. Ciao!

A Belated Memorial Day

Our belated thanks to those who defend our country.

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It’s a busy time of year, and the best intentions meant that I never spent more than a couple of minutes near the computer. When I did remember (twice!), I was a-bed, and though it better to post the following morning. #FAIL. More details sooner or later, I have work to to do.

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Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors:

  • Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan D. Burris, 24, of Lisle, Illinois, died May 21, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, of a non-combat related incident at Zayed Military City.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Pablo A. Ruiz, 37, of Melbourne, Florida, died May 24, in Bagram, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.

Whoa…

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!