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.

11 June 2017

A week in Maine

A week in Maine

We had a nice week in Maine – two 10+ hour driving days, two sunny days, and a fair bit of Seattle-influenced weather. But a relaxing, wonderful trip. A few small fish caught – all sent back to eat healthy and grow bigger. Pictured above is the camp (the word for house on a lake, in Maine) we were staying at. No, you can’t build that close to the water anymore. Yes, we did bring Lexi with us. And yes, there were more than a trillion mosquitoes around, just lurking around the camp waiting to feed on Marcia and I.

Today: chores, shopping, etc. Tomorrow: TBD. I’ll be back at my desk at work on Tuesday morning.

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DoD announced three US casualties in Afghanistan yesterday, but no further details are available yet. Our condolences.

 

5 June 2017

Sorry for the delay – I’m in the midst of a long weekend. Last week was a three-day work week. So far the long weekend has been as much about helping a friend with some to-do items they’re unable to deal with at the moment as it has been about relaxing. But overall things are going swimmingly. Lexi’s confused, having me around for more than a couple of days in a row, however. But she’s not complaining much about the fact.

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On Tuesday last, we tried to catch The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged. Annapolis Shakespeare is putting it on in the courtyard at Reynold’s Tavern again this year. It’s such a blast. Sadly, the rain, it did not agree with the idea of an outdoor performance that evening. We’ll try for another presentation soon – it’s running all summer!

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More another time, when the “relaxing” is done.

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DoD announced no new casualties in the week past, for which we’re grateful. Ciao!

 

28 May 2017

In entertainment news, we attended the theater last night. Annapolis Shakespeare’s Donald Hicken gave us a superbly directed production of Richard III. Visiting actor Kurt Elfmann was wonderful as the murderous, treacherous, and slimy Richard. His introspective Richard was for me most compelling. ASC company member Brian Keith MacDonald played both Brakenbury and a strong, well-executed (heh) Buckingham. It’s tough playing second fiddle to an erratic schemer. I don’t but wonder what sort of role models he had for that, these days?

Also ASC regulars: Olivia Ercolano and Laura Rocklyn (Lady Anne and Queen Elizabeth, respectively) lent strength and passion to their portrayals. Doomed in their interactions with Richard, the women in this play do their best to survive at the cost of horrid compromise. Dexter Hamlett’s George (Duke of Clarence) also stood out for me, playing out his character’s fate and pain with dignity and power.

The whole cast, some eleven in all, built an exquisite mind palace for this play, making do with but three pieces of furniture in the black box of the company’s education stage. Well-designed  and executed (there’s that word again!) music, drums, and lighting provided the necessary complement to this powerful Shakespeare history. Runs at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company through June 11, 2017. Highly Recommended.

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It’s a holiday weekend. So of course it’s been raining straight through. We just cracked a year’s worth of rain, some 44″ worth, since I last changed the battery in my backyard rain gauge. That year’s worth of rain did, however, take 15 months to fall. So we’re still a bit short. Friends over for supper and games tonight, and anticipation of a relaxing day, possibly with some wood-working thrown in, for the actual Memorial day. Here’s how Lexi handles a rainy holiday weekend:

Rainy Day Lexi

Rainy Day Lexi

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Etienne J. Murphy, 22, of Loganville, Georgia, who died on May 26, in Al-Hasakah, Syria, of injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover related incident.

21 May 2017

A good week. I made progress on a couple of projects at work, patched a bunch of systems, and this weekend, patched another bunch of systems. Best of all, they’re all still running and doing their assigned tasks. The lawns are mowed, the coffee is roasted, Marcia’s new office fan/light is installed, and my energy: it is gone. But the wheel keeps turning. Three day weekend coming up next, that’s a good thing.

Oh, yeah, about that new office fan/light? I had tucked the receipt into the box when I bought it … five years ago. Sigh. New means newly installed, I guess.

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Huh. For some reason I’d never run across the term “short ton” before. 2000#, aka “a ton” in US measurements. Apparently all the other usages: “long ton”, “metric ton”, and “tonne” refer to  1000 kilograms (around 2200 pounds). Apparently that’s also the common usage in Britan, where I might have expected a larger unit of measure. After all, the weight of many heavy things is measured in “stones.” A stone ton would be about 28000 pounds. Now that’s a useful unit of measure, especially when referring to chocolate, or bacon. Sadly, though, the UK banned stone-based units of measure for commercial purposes back in 1985. This from the country that kept its national currency even after joining the EU. I say, upon Brexit, bring back the stones!

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DoD reported no new casualties in the last week, for which we are grateful. Ciao!

14 May 2017

First: She’s a good dog, Brent – 42/10.

Lexi

Lexi

Lexi, above, at one of her favorite activities: watching DogTV ™ from an ottoman at my upstairs office window.

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Second: Happy Mother’s Day, y’all. You know who you are! My personal celebration in honor of mothers everywhere is listening to a lot of Bangles music tonight. Yay!

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Our second streak of Seattle weather in May finally broke today, after several grey days and a couple of inches of rain. We reached the mid-70’s. That meant I could get out and take care of the mowing, and do some weeding out of the front flower beds. I’ve still not cleaned out the main veggie beds in back, for a variety of reasons. I’m leaning hard towards giving the garden a pass this year. We had such a bad year last year…

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Penultimately: Today is 10 years with my current employer. Please note that I’m still nowhere near the median tenure for the firm, which is currently hovering around 17 years, IIRC. What a wonderful bunch of folks to work with.

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In local entertainment news, The Annapolis Shakespeare Company‘s production of Richard III opens on Friday. It’s the first production in their new 99 seat black box theater. We’re looking forward to the show, and if you’re in the area, you should join us. We love this team of creative folks and are sure you will, too!

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week, for which we’re grateful. Ciao!