My friend Bob Thompson died last night of complications from heart and lung issues. We hadn’t traveled to see Bob and Barbara for a few years, and I’m a bit sad about that, just now. We’d speak on the phone or via email a few times a year, though. Bob was a smart, smart guy, pleasant to converse with, and uniformly helpful to folks: family, friends, and neighbors. We’re going to miss him. Here’s his obituary on the funeral home site.
G’day. Yep, I was busy. Sunday we did the shopping, then I started in on chores and such. About halfway through the afternoon, I saw an email that Annapolis Shakespeare Company needed a hand. It was the first load-in day for the set of the next play, and the expected carpenters had bailed on them. So I gathered some tools and went off to Annapolis to help out for several hours. I got home before 10, though… I went back the next day and gave a hand for another few hours. When I wrapped up my participation, all the walls and bracing that could be done were done. Glad to be of service. Still taking ibuprofen, though. And the extra holes in my skin (mostly hands) are beginning to heal. Yay! Good to have spent MLK Day doing volunteer service for our favorite 501(c)3, as well.
I’m not sure I’d be good at set design. I’m a build-to-last kind of guy. Sets are designed to look great for 6 weeks, and be rapidly dismantled before they fall apart of their own volition. Heh.
Not much else to report. I did get some coffee roasted – a Tanzanian from Sweet Maria’s. It’s resting, and I’ll start brewing from that in another couple of days.
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I recently finished reading Fluency (Confluence Book 1) (at this writing: $0.00 for Kindle) by Jennifer Foehner Wells. I’ll admit to a fair reluctance to dive headllong into the new wave of Speculative Fiction – there’s so much unevenly edited crap out there… But I can usually tell within a few pages whether I’ll be swiping the book to the archives, or reading it through. Fluency got a read-through. I enjoyed Ms. Wells’s writing style. The premise of an insectile spacefaring enemy that hasn’t arrived yet, a ship whose only remaining crew is the squid-ish navigator, and a human team of folks who might be able to get along and complete their mission, if it weren’t for the space slugs and the rogue nanotech… Okay, it’s a bit of a mashup, with shades of Red Dwarf and a few special easter eggs. I enjoyed reading it through, and more importantly, I am going to read the next book in the series. That doesn’t happen much, so can count as a reasonable recommendation. I could wish for two lead characters who weren’t starved for the physical attentions of the other, unrequited except in alien-mediated virtual reality. I’ll see how the second book stacks up. Recommended.
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Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Javion Shavonte Sullivan, 24, of Fort Mill, South Carolina, who died on Jan. 8 in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident.
First post! Of 2018.
Lunacy continues in some quarters, in others, it’s just bloody cold. Yes, yes, 3°F is winter-time heatwave/shorts weather… in Fairbanks. Here, it a nuisance. But we’re due for some warming up this week, which I’m looking forward to.
We got a lot done this weekend, including the dismantling and boxing of the holiday paraphernalia. That buys me ten and a half months until I have to pull those out of the garage attic again! I roasted a pound of Kenyan beans from Sweet Marias, after picking up the mess left from a stack of trim falling off the wall in the woodshop:
Pickup sticks: trim fell
Tonight we went over to Annapolis Shakespeare and enjoyed an evening of instrumental Broadway and jazz, with Marc Irwin (pianist and Musical Director of the Company) and guest Maeve Royce on the bass. Quite wonderful!
Also, I see from Barbara’s updates on Bob’s page that he’s finally due to leave the hospital and get into rehab (and hopefully soon from there to home)! We’re very glad to see Bob making progress!
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Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golin, 34, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who died on Jan. 1 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, after being engaged by enemy small arms fire while on a dismounted patrol.
And that’s a wrap on 2017. We’re doing okay, I guess. I’d like to see a little more sanity coming from the government, but that’s as it may be. We vote, and support candidates that reflect the direction we’d like to see.
My favorite things from 2017: Marcia and I celebrated 19 years of marriage! Everything else is gravy. Lexi is having fun with her new Lambchop™ toy:
Lexi playing with Lambchop toy.
In other news, our high temperature today was brought to us by the numbers 2 and 0. It’s supposed to be another week at least before we come back above freezing. Yay? However, we’re not as cold as Omaha, nor as snow-bound as Erie. So, small favors.
We wish for y’all to have a Happy New Year.
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DoD announce no new casualties in the last week.
Merry Men’s Shopping Day, if you celebrate that… Me? Shopping and wrapping all wrapped up weeks ago.
Today, after the weekly shopping, I spent much of the day cleaning house, as one does on Christmas Eve. That and we had cookies and leftover mac’n’cheese for the celebratory supper. Yes, leftover. We have had lots of foodstuffs arrive here at the hovel as gifts of the season. The selection from my brother and his family included several delicious Spanish cheeses. We enjoyed them here and there on crackers and such, then decided yesterday to make an extravagant mac’n’cheese with them. So:
- Saute on medium: 1/4# of thick cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut in 1/2″ strips, in a high-sided 12″ pan, with a splash of EVOO. Cook until all the bits are brown.
- Deglaze the pan with a splash or two of chardonnay (Glen Ellen, in this circumstance), then add 1 large yellow onion, chopped fine. Cook until translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Add several tablespoons of additional EVOO and three+ tablespoons of butter, then perhaps 3/4 cup of AP flour. Lower heat and cook the flour down only to light brown. We’re going for getting rid of the flour taste from the roux, not to get additional color.
- Bring the heat back up to medium high, and add milk (low fat, because that’s what I have). I started with about 3 cups, and stirred constantly until the sauce thickened. I added a bit more milk, and then a bit more, until sauce stayed at a consistency for a medium even coat on the back of a spoon
- Then add all three of the cheeses, shredded, plus a little Mexican blend, and stirred until sauce was fully incorporated. Sample, then add salt, pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- Cook noodles to al dente (we used elbow macaroni for that classic style), drain (but don’t rinse – leave the starch for the sauce to stick to) and put back into the pot.
- Add sauce to the noodles. I made enough sauce for twice the amount of noodles, so that’s reserved for another night. Stir gently, and let rest for a few minutes, for the noodles to finish cooking and taking up some flavor from the sauce.
- Serve and eat. I top with a twist or three of fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan.
- Stop eating before food coma sets in.
Nope, no pictures. It was too tasty to slow down and document at the time.
Enjoy your holidays, best as you can.
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Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Avadon A. Chaves, 20, of Turlock, California, who died on Dec. 20 at Al Asad, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident.
Friday was a snow day. Well, it *did* snow, and I was off work … but those were unrelated events. I did get some home office change work done. Last weekend, I hung up the skeletal F6F3 Hellcat in the corner of the room. I’m still occasionally flinching as I see it out of the corner of my eye as I walk past:
Skeletal F6F3 Hellcat
On Friday, I spent twenty minutes and built a laptop stand for my MBP so that I could set it up dual screen with the HDMI monitor I use for several systems here:
MBP on home-built stand
Saturday evening, we re-attended A Christmas Carol at ASC. As with previous shows, seeing opening night, then another run a couple of weeks later lets us watch the fine and talented actors settle into their roles and adapt to audience reactions. What fun!
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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week, for which we are grateful.
Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday this month. And yes, yes, it isn’t Sunday. Sunday we were out at Annapolis Shakespeare‘s A Broadway Holiday in Annapolis. They gave us holiday and seasonal standards, marvelous singing by the company and friends, including the extraordinary and talented Rachelle Fleming. Simply wonderful. And a late Sunday night out rather gets my week off on the wrong foot – not much energy at all the last couple of evenings. But I’m back … just in time to spend tonight patching systems remotely. Yay?
Bob Thompson is continuing to battle health issues, and we’re pulling for him.
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Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. David Thomas Brabander, 24, of Anchorage, Alaska, who died on Dec. 11 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of a non-combat related incident.
Oh, hey, we put up the festive artificial tree last weekend:
Christmas tree is up – 2017
Someone said that it had probably been up all year. When I pointed out that Marcia’s hip surgery and recovery therefrom precluded much decoration last year, the reply was that it must have been up for a couple of years then. I then noted two things. First, we picked up this fake tree half-price in the after-season sales in January of this year. Secondly, if I had to have the Christmas stuff up year ’round, I’d go find someone with Ebola to cough on me. Bah Humbug.
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I also recently picked up the model plane project that I started a few years back, but put up in the closet while other tasks took center stage: It’s an F6F3 Hellcat.
F6F-3 Hellcat balsa model
I’ve been occasionally posting pictures of progress over the last few weeks on the twitters, but I’m close to done now. I’m going to paint it out and display it as is (no tissue skin on it) – I like the architectural feel of it as a skeleton of the plane. Also, I’ve had a cutting mat and a real mess all over my desk for the last few weeks. It’s quite nice to recover all that space.
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Our condolences to the family and friends of Cpl. Todd L. McGurn, of Riverside, California, who died on Nov. 25, 2017, in Baghdad, Iraq as a result of a non-combat related incident.
For those in the US, I hope y’all had a lovely Thanksgiving. We enjoyed a wonderful evening and repast with friends and (their) family. Then it was back to work for me on Friday. Then, yesterday evening, we attended the glorious opening night premiere production of A Christmas Carol at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company! Highly recommended.
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On the side, I’m spending some time working with/learning more about Django. And I’m still working on that balsa model. The tail surfaces are affixed, and shaping of the wing continues.
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DoD announced no new casualties in the most recent week, for which we are thankful. Ciao!
Whelp. I see from Barbara’s postings that Bob is being cranky in the ICU, which is a pretty reasonable response, IMO. Pulling for a speedy recovery for him!
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A busy work week, full of tasks, a holiday pot luck luncheon, and a lot of after-hours patching. All-in-all, productive and successful. I’ve also been working on the balsa model of the F6F-3 Hellcat fighter, you can find pictures of that over on my twitter feed (@bilborg).
On the entertainment front, coming up soon from the Annapolis Shakespeare Company, we have the premiere of a new production of A Christmas Carol, from a story written by some bloke named Dickens. Yep, we’re looking forward to seeing that show, plus more from their continuing cabaret series!
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I’d like to report that this Paperclip AI game is indeed addictive, precisely as reported in The Verge. If true, the universe is indeed paperclips, all the way down. And it’ll be our fault.
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Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. 1st Class Hughton O. Brown, 43, of Brooklyn, New York, who died on Nov. 14 in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, as a result of a non-combat related incident.