25 May 2016

Monday: 40 sit-ups, 20 squats, 12 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 3600 strides on the elliptical in 30 minutes.

Tuesday: 40 sit-ups, 20 squats, 12 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 4000 strides on the elliptical in 33 minutes.

Wednesday: 60 sit-ups, 30 squats, 18 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 4350 strides on the elliptical in 35 minutes.

Being more public about my workouts might help with my consistency in such activities, so thanks for observing.

22 May 2016

A busy, productive week, topped off by a visit to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday evening. We saw the NSO Pops perform, backing up Boyz II Men. We’d never seen either previously, so it was a treat.

Us at the Kennedy Center

Us at the Kennedy Center

Additionally, the Boyz II Men fans are … well, enthusiastic. With a couple of songs to go in the program, women from the crowd rushed the stage. Hmmm. We took advantage of the opportunity and made our exit. Out of the parking and on the road in front of the crowd seems to have been a really good idea.

Today: shopping, chores, coffee roasting, and a bit of relaxation.

*      *      *

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

15 May 2016

According to the record books, this last stretch of rainy days ended at 15. But that was measured at a local airport. MY backyard meter got measurable rain on 18 consecutive days, with today being the first rain-free day. Yowza! And let me tell you how unhappy my plants are! They’re not as unhappy as they might have been with a late hard frost, but too much water stunts and kills. The tomatoes haven’t grown, and continuous moisture encourages early rust, which would be … bad. The cantelope seedlings are dead. The happiest looking plants in my backyard (aside from the lawn, which is very happy indeed) are the broccoli. We’ll see how that plays out over the next few weeks.

*      *      *

Huh. Video games leaking out into real life, much? I snapped this shot off the telly screen last night from the Science channel show What On Earth? :

Is this Cave Johnson?

Is this Cave Johnson?

Hmmm.

*      *      *

Yesterday, I cleaned most of the coffee-related apparatus in the house, roasted a pound of Costa Rican green beans from Sweet Maria’s in my Behmor 1600 Plus roaster, mowed the lawns, and weeded out the veggie beds.

In the evening, we went to Annapolis Shakespeare to see their production of Romeo and Juliet. The costume and musical designs reflected the late 1940’s, but the language was the Bard’s. The show is directed with a fine touch by the company’s Founding Artistic Director, Sally Boyett. I’ll admit to my weakness for this play – I *love* Mercutio’s monologue on dreams. And Brian Keith MacDonald’s rendition stole the show, for me. Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of the show. Brendan McMahon and Olivia Ercolano as Romeo and Juliet were fun, and completely perfect in their roles. And the rest of the cast, superb as usual, with a special note to the talented and hard-working Renata Plecha, who always seems to have more roles to learn than anyone! Wonderful! Go, see it. There are two more weeks of production!

Today, I cleaned out my office closet. I generated a box of working gadgetry that’s going to the donate stack at work. I generated a can full of trash. I generated a can full of recycle. And I sanitized three phones of elderly provenance:

Secured data.

Secured data.

I carefully secured the data on these three old phones. Out of juice, power adapters long gone, I needed a solution, and Art is the answer.

*      *      *

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

8 May 2016

I spent yesterday cleaning house, and half of today doing yard work. THEN Marcia let me know I was supposed to be doing that for my mom, not us! Wrong coast, be damned. Grin.

Nothing much to report for the week. It was wet all last week, I think it rained every day. Even though today was sunny all day, it rained in the wee hours (very polite, that, if you ask me). The NOAA forecast for the week is, well, rain. Every day. The veggies that could be growing, aren’t. The cantelopes are dying, sadly. We’ll see if they recover, but I expect that cooler than expected temps and too much rain are doing them in. Same thing could happen to the tomatoes.

I should have roasted coffee today, but that can wait until tomorrow evening. Ordering more coffee? That I should do right now, since I only have 4# on hand at the moment. {Pleasantly mind-numbing hold music}

Coffee ordered from SweetMarias.com. I’ve got 10 different 2# batches of green coffee beans on the way, with origins in:

  • Burundi
  • Brazil
  • Ethiopia
  • Java
  • Zamibia
  • Sumatra
  • Columbia
  • Bolivia

*      *      *

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

  • Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles H. Keating IV, 31, of San Diego, California, died May 3 in Tall Usquf, Iraq, of combat related causes. 
  • 1st Lt. David A. Bauders, of Seattle, Wash., died May 6, on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, in a non-combat related incident.

5 May 2016

Happy Cinco de Mayo, people.

I had three email messages in the Inbox this morning purporting to be from kind, helpful people who had found broken links on my site, and offered up new URLs to replace those that no longer worked. Usually those links are in the Brian and Tom’s Linux Book section of the site, which is getting pretty long in the tooth. Oddly, while the links are aging badly, the book really isn’t. Yeah, specific configuration stuff has changed, and I could make different recommendations about services, but the overall holds up, I think. Except for the OpenLinux part. @#$**@# Caldera.

Anyway, in case any of these emails are legit … I just won’t go back into the deep history of this site and change URL’s and links. Firstly, I don’t like rewriting history, and if someone cares enough, they can use the Wayback Machine at archive.org to look up content on the relevant URL. Second, I am unwilling to go to the effort to validate any proffered replacement URL, both for expected useful content and lack of dangerous content and secondary linkage. So, thanks but no thanks, imaginary helpful people.

NOW, if it’s a recent link (in the last month, say), then I might consider looking into the issue.

Anyway, back to work.

1 May 2016

Four months gone. Four. Sigh.

So the good news is that we had a half-busy weekend. Starting Friday evening, I spent an hour or so preparing one corner of the garage for the new chest freezer. Saturday morning, I swapped out the crappy old AC socket for a new one, just in time for said freezer to put in an appearance. The balance of the day was spent touching every item in the garage, making a heap in the middle of the floor. Then we moved the shelving to the back wall, and put all the keeper stuff back on shelves. A stack went to a donation location (out by the curb, with a sign saying “Free Stuff” tacked to the tree above), and some smaller amount went into the trash. Garage is as clean as the day we moved in, and the setup is better, now. That’s good.

Today was lazy. Just shopping, coffee roasting, and relaxing. No point in trying to catch up on the lawns or the garden – it was raining all day. Oh, and Marcia baked some fresh whole wheat bread. Sadly, that’s gone already, between lunch and dinner. Grin.

*      *      *

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

24 April 2016

Another day, another birthday. And this one accompanied by a wonderful cake made by Marcia, with a decoration assist by Linda Rose:

Occupationally appropriate birthday cake

 Job-appropriate birthday cake

*      *      *

I, of course, witnessed little of this activity, because I spent the weekend absorbing InfoSec goodness at BsidesCharm 2016. An excellent two day conference with interesting keynotes and talks. Because of the setup of Bsides, the sponsors don’t get the attendee lists, there are no scannable badges, and sponsors don’t automatically get speaker slots. Truth be told, in our area, the sponsors weren’t there to sell (mostly), they were there to recruit. As one of our keynotes mentioned, in the DC area, InfoSec is at negative three percent unemployment. There are Bsides events across the country – look for one near you at the SecurityBsides.com site. Highly recommended.

*      *      *

DoD announced no new casualties in the last week. That’s a good thing. Ciao!

21 April 2016

RIP, Prince. Helluva musician and entertainer.

*      *      *

I’m taking a couple of days off “work”, so that I can get some work done around the house. This kind is much more tiring. Today:

80# manure in each bed

80# manure in each bed

Manure turned in by hand

Manure turned in by hand

Full rototilling

Full rototilling

Install ~70 veggies

Install ~70 veggies

This year’s mix – 28 tomato plants: Rutgers, Better Boy, Sweet 100’s + two other varieties. 16 pepper plants: sweet bell, cayenne, habanero, jalapeño. Cucumbers. Zucchini. Butternut squash. Cantelope. Broccoli.

Hmmm. I may be missing jalapeño, I’ll have to check. I *do* have four varieties of pepper…

So, that was a pretty full day, and my back kind of hates me right now. But that garden will make me happy (and salsa) all summer! Ciao!

17 April 2016

This was a good week. Not a great week – that would have required all seven days to have been above 32° F for the full 24 hours each. That only happened four times. That said, work was good and productive, including the weekend work that ate half of yesterday, as well as patching last night and this morning.

The rest of the weekend was given to yard work of assorted types. I mostly did lawn care, but we did get a couple of new rose bushes for the front porch pots, a couple of herbs for the herb box in back, and I’ve stocked up on mulch (for yard bed dressing) and manure (for garden bed amendments). I’ll probably take a couple of days off this week to get the beds turned over and that manure turned in, so that it can rest for a week before I start planting veggies in the last week of April.

Oooh. Marcia made a couple of superbly yummy apple pies yesterday. We might have completely demolished one of them already. I’m taking the second one to work, tomorrow.

*      *      *

Technology update: I’ve gotten OrbDesigns.com setup with SSL, finally. This long-overdue development is courtesy of letsencrypt.org: “Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority brought to you by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG).”

I’d always been a bit of a cheapskate about SSL on the sites, mostly because I don’t do any financial or personal transactional business here. And an SSL certificate for  just orbdesigns.com would have cost me more than the annual domain registration fees. I’d been following the progress of Let’s Encrypt with some interest, and jumped on the bandwagon, totally by chance, the day after the public Beta ended. I’m pleased that the service is available, and that there’s a couple of options for FreeBSD. I took advantage of the directions on Bernard Spil’s blog on the topic at wiki.freebsd.org/BernardSpil/LetsEncrypt.

I’ve still got to setup auto-deploy to accompany the automatic renewals that are already configured. And I’ve got certs for Marcia’s two main sites already: I just have to configure and deploy to those.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt, 22, of Glen Burnie, Maryland. He died on April 15 in Southwest Asia as a result of injuries sustained after extreme winds caused structural damage to the building in which the airman was working.

10 April 2016

A good week, overall. I was on-call for the first half, which is tiring, even when nothing happens. Yep, I sleep a lot more lightly when responsibility requires it. But one week out of every few weeks ain’t bad – and our monitoring and remediation are in a state of continuous improvement, so we get far fewer alerts and calls than in years past. All to the good.

I also executed terminal retirement on a stack of former virtualization hosts. Spin down, uncable from last network connections and from the SAN, spin up again with a DBAN disk in the optical drive: boom. No more data. Some may be repurposed as a lab environment, but the decision hasn’t been taken yet.

*      *      *

It was a fairly relaxing weekend, since the house is fairly clean, and it’s too darn cold to do any yardwork … Hey, did I mention that we had sleet, graupel, and snow on Saturday morning? Did I also mention that four days in the last week started off below freezing? So much for Spring. It had been warming up, and everything started to bloom, then BOOM: be cold and die, little plants! Good thing I’d not planted any veg in the garden yet, eh?

So we had Linda and Mike over to supper last night. Marcia made a wonderful, hearty, chicken stew, complemented by Asiago wheat bread and a green salad. Desert was a shortbread laden with blueberries. A good game of Ticket to Ride followed … good because against all odds, I won.

Both weekend days, I gave a few hours to playtime in the world of The Talos Principle (which I finished), and the Road to Gehenna DLC (which I started). Fun puzzle game: Recommended.

*      *      *

I’m currently reading Cordwainer Smith’s The Rediscovery of Man collection, along with last month’s Strange Horizons. I finished up the April edition of Clarkesworld earlier in the week, too. And I’m continuing to work my way through Learning Ruby the Hard Way, 3E. I’ve been spending years getting just enough knowledge to get the job done, but I want some more depth on something, anything. So, before I work on a substantial project, best to begin at first principles. That’s what I’m doing.

*      *      *

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