20 August 2017

Well, we topped out the last four weeks at over 10″ of rain (I’ll only say ‘over‘ because I really need to re-site my rain gauge out of the wind shadow of the tree that’s doubled in size over the last few years).  And it looks like August is going to come and go with only 2 or 3 days above 90°F. Weird. Of course, what with excessive rain and relatively mild temperatures, the lawns which should all be brown and dormant at this time of year are growing madly. I had to double-cut the front yard yesterday, and the back yard needs a combine harvester, I think. Nothing else much exciting going on.

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

  • Sgt. Roshain Euvince Brooks, 30, of Brooklyn, New York, who died on Aug. 13 of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations in Iraq.
  • Spc. Allen Levi Stigler Jr., 22, of Arlington, Texas, who died on Aug. 13 of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations in Iraq.
  • Staff Sgt. Aaron R. Butler, 27, of Monticello, Utah, died Aug. 16 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations.

13 August 2017

We saw a wonderful play at Annapolis Shakespeare Company on Saturday evening: Alice and the Book of Wonderland. It’s a brand new show based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (well, duh, me), adapted by Sally Boyett and Donald Hicken.  Laura Rocklyn plays a marvelous Alice. The six remaining cast members: Ian Charles, Bill Dennison, Olivia Ercolano, Brian Keith MacDonald, Jackie Madejski, and Johnny Weisgerber – well, they cover the balance of the 24 characters in the show. Over time, each runs off, stage left, and seemingly moments later appeared stage right in fresh costume and makeup. Holy cow, do these folks work HARD to get us up and clapping!

Extra ovations for Mr. Dennison’s twitchy White Rabbit: by turns frightened and arrogant; Mr. MacDonald’s Knave, who clearly takes a page from the Book of Black Adder codpiece fashion; and the superbly evil Red Queen (Crash! Cringe!) played majestically by Ms. Ercolano. Also we were wowed by the costume wizardry of Sandra Spence!

It’s a magical show brought further to life by projections of artwork from Carroll’s original book, as well as a projected Cheshire Cat (portayed by the face of Mr. Weisgerber). From Rev. Dodgeson rowing with the girls to the Mad Hatter’s tea party to the Mock Turtle’s sad song, the show had us riveted throughout. This is a play that is child-friendly, but with sly adult references and pin-point precise topical political commentary.

There are FOUR MORE stagings of this production, next weekend (8/18 – 8/20/2017), before it goes back into the vault. If you’re DC-local, you really should go. Oh, yes. We also just ordered our flex passes for the upcoming 2017/2018 season, and we’re really looking forward to seeing all of these wonderful actors in new roles for another year. Join us, won’t you?

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week, but our condolences to the family and friends of Heather Heyer, who died at the hands of an apparent domestic terrorist (in my opinion), James Alex Fields, Jr., in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017.

 

6 August 2017

Well, Marcia’s home from Michigan. She went up for the week to visit family, and had fun. Lexi spent the week eyeballing me and asking when Marcia was going to be back. This is that look:

Lexi wants Marcia home

Lexi wants Marcia home

Along with doing a bit of remote work each day (and going to the office for a few hours on Tuesday), I got a lot of chores done around the homestead. Garage clean up. Mowing. A couple of days of pressure washing the deck and stamped concrete pad. All-in-all, a fairly productive week. Today we did the shopping, then I roasted coffee and relaxed. No bad thing.

Also, I read a wonderful short story by Chris Pourteau called Unconditional: A Tale of the Zombie Apocalypse. All I can tell you without spoilers is that this is told from the viewpoint of the family dog. Oh, and it’s my current favorite short story of the year. I was getting ready to put on my short list for a Hugo nomination when I learned that the story is from 2015. Ah, well. Good news: I get to go find more of Chris’s work and see if I enjoy it as much. I found the story in At The Helm: Volume 1: A Sci-Fi Bridge Anthology.

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

  • Tech. Sgt. David Board, 49, of Barboursville, West Virginia, died on August 2 in Kuwait in a non-combat-related incident while deployed in support of combat operations.
  • Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter, 23, of Columbus, Indiana, died on Aug. 2 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a result of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improved explosive device detonated near his convoy.
  • Spc. Christopher Michael Harris, 25, of Jackson Springs, North Carolina, died on Aug. 2 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a result of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improved explosive device detonated near his convoy.

 

30 July 2017

So, in the last eight days, we’ve had 6″ or so of rain in my part of the state. We’ve had a couple of intense pop-up storms that hovered and dumped huge amounts, along with the other storm lines that the whole state got. And miracle of miracles, it was 58 degrees outside when I woke up this morning. That’s unheard of in July in these parts – it was a truly gorgeous day today: low 80’s at the peak and but moderate humidity. Lexi was the beneficiary of that, with a couple of long walks to her credit. I say 6″ or so above because I noticed that the siting of my rain gauge is now in the wind shadow of a tree that’s grown and spread quite a bit in the last year or two.

I’m taking the upcoming week mostly off work (doing just a bit of email and ephemera each morning so that the return isn’t horrible) to burn up vacation hours that I’d otherwise lose at the end of the year. No real plans at this time, beyond roasting coffee and trying to relax a bit. Maybe planting a post in the middle of the yard for the rain gauge.

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Here’s Lexi being cute to warm up your day:

Lexi being cute with her stuffed toy cow

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

24 July 2017

Not a huge update this week. Work was fine. House cleaning on Saturday, followed by supper guests in the evening, which was lovely.  A few more chores on Sunday. About three inches of rain over the weekend, joined by a couple of hours of intense thunder and lightning from just before midnight last night until nearly two. Yay? So I’m a tire mess this morning. Oh well.

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

16 July 2017

I guess I’ll just start with the bad news, and get that out of the way. RIP George Romero and Martin Landau. I’ve been a modest fan of George Romero’s work over the years, although I’ll grant that his influence on many of the directors and actors I enjoy most was huge! I am gutted, though, to hear the news of Martin Landau. Yes, yes, yes: we get old, we die. I’ve loved Landau since Mission: Impossible and Space 1999. His skill as an actor was consummate and I mourn his passing.

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On the “Ooooh. Interesting!” front, I’m pleased to see that BBC revealed that Jodie Whittaker is to be the thirteenth Doctor. (Apparently) unlike a bunch of johnny-come-lately dudebros, I’m content to see a good actor take a long-established role and stretch the boundaries once again. Yup, I’ve been sad knowing that Peter Capaldi is done, because I’ve enjoyed his Doctor quite a lot. Now: rooting for Jodie, I am.

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Next up: great fun. Last night, we saw the Annapolis Shakespeare Company‘s production of The Tempest for a second time. We already had these tickets when we got invited to Opening Night, and frankly, both Marcia and I can’t get enough of this wonderful groups work. For me, I enjoyed being able to focus this performance on some of the side action going on around the main characters in each scene. Bill Dennison gave us Antonio with a deep lack of conscience, portrayed with an extra (and poignantly current) opportunism. Does that come naturally, Bill? Also, new company member Ian Charles’s  Trinculo gave good exasperation in the face of abuse by the sprites, Tony Tsendeas’s Stephano, and John Bellomo’s Caliban. Not least, Jurden Payne’s Ferdinand played marvelously as he fell like a rock for Olivia Ercolano’s Miranda. All such wonderful actors. The direction. The setting. (The humidity and mosquitoes, oh my!) There’s one more week to go, if you’re local or visiting, try to get tickets!

Oh, hey: this ASC Tempest page has several pictures from Opening Night. You can even play Spot the Brian!

Next up: Alice and the Book of Wonderland.

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

9 July 2017

I’ve got a shaking frightened dog sitting on my lap, thanks to the asshats who are once again setting off fireworks in the vicinity. This is going on 9 days, now. Poor puppy…

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More Annapolis Shakespeare fun: A bit on the spur of the moment, we decided to accept an invitation to the reception for opening night of their production of The Tempest, running in the garden at Charles Carroll House in Annapolis. Yup, this means that we’re seeing this production twice, and I couldn’t be happier. Opening night was a joy. (They have one picture up at this time on their Tempest event page on the Book of Faces. Marcia and I are in the background well back of the Sprite in the aisle.)

Starting a flash and a bang or five, the production opens with an innovative bit of magical of fabric manipulation to evoke the storm and the ship beset. As the storm and sea recedes, the stranded characters are revealed laying on the beach (err, stage … well, grass, to be pedantic). As they wake and wander off onto the island, they are beset again, by enchantment and sprites. This fine production brings the audience deep into Shakespeare’s tale, and doesn’t let go until the lights fade to black.

I’ve not seen The Tempest in decades, so the story is fresh for me. Shakespeare’s superb command of language and meter yields the directors, Donald Hicken and Sally Boyett, superpowers to wield in staging the show. The staging and choreography complement the lovely setting, providing the actors a fine canvas upon which to ply their craft. While all of the cast are outstanding (unsurprising with this Company), Laura Rocklyn’s Ariel shines both in her interactions with Brian MacDonald’s excellent vengeance-obsessed Prospero, and as she bedevils the castaways with the assistance of the Sprites. Jordan JC Payne’s Ferdinand and Olivia Ercolano’s Miranda as the young lovers are sweet and marvelously played. The big surprise for me was John Bellomo’s less-than-civil Caliban – he played the role powerfully and with great humor.

How much did we like this production of The Tempest? We’re going to see it again during this show’s short run.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Hansen B. Kirkpatrick, 19, of Wasilla, Alaska, who died on July 3, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from wounds received during an indirect fire attack.

2 July 2017

Hey, y’all. I’ve been busy. But first:

Annapolis Shakespeare Company. They made us happy again! This is our second season enjoying their production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, in the courtyard at Reynolds Tavern. Supper first, then the show. We had Bill, Brian, and Johnny on the bricks Tuesday evening, bounding through this rollicking tour of 37 plays in about 90 minutes. I’ll be the first (or perhaps second) to admit that most of the plays get fairly short shrift in the production. And I was deeply disappointed that, for the second year, they continued to ignore two of the famous adaptations of the Bard’s work: Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. That said, we love, love, love this company and this show. The company was also in rehearsals for two upcoming shows, The Tempest and Alice and the Book of Wonderland. Because the boys were working, a few of the other actors took advantage of the night off to take in the show as well. We spotted and went to say hello to Olivia and Laura when we arrived; Sue got there later. They’re in weekly production for Abridged through September, so if you’re in the area or going to visit, take in the show. You won’t be disappointed. And you may see us there again, it’s worth doing again. And again. Highly Recommended.

Yes, we’re already scheduled for The Tempest and Alice. Be there.

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Work this week was productive. This weekend: chores, and remote work today: patching of systems against a recent CVE. A little bit of telly, and a head injury rounded out the weekend. Well, not super exciting, that last. I was hanging a couple of pictures up high in Marcia’s office, and turned while standing on a chair. The room fan was spinning and clipped me in the forehead, leaving two shallow parallel scratches. I really should have stayed up there, turned my head to the side, and let it clip me one more time, leaving a ‘#’ mark, as in #ouch!!!

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

26 June 2017

Well! It was a busy weekend – between remote work, attending a birthday party for a three year old,  yard work, and all the usual chores, I was just plain out of steam. Last night I just relaxed and read. There’s not much new to report, so I won’t.

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

2017 June 18

Most of a post-vacation work week gone by – I’ve just been dropping back into the groove. We’ve got patching and virtualization updates scheduled for the near future, so I’ve got a fair bit of planning to do to pull it off without causing unplanned downtime. This weekend was … hot, mostly, and humid. It’ll take me a while to drop into summer accommodation mode. We did celebrate a friend’s birthday this weekend, and we’re going to help a neighbor celebrate a birthday next weekend.

I made the Father’s Day phone call today, it was nice chatting with my folks – their weather is right now as hot as ours, but the humidity is much, much lower. Yay, California!

Here’s a happy Lexi who spent a couple of hours snoring on my chest yesterday:

Lexi snoozing on me

Lexi snoozing on me

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Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors – I mentioned the initial notification last week, now we know who we mourn:

  • Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Maryland, died on June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained there.
  • Sgt. William M. Bays, 29 of Barstow, California, died on June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained there.
  • Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 of Youngsville, North Carolina, died on June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained there.