16 Jan 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr. Today we have a national holiday to celebrate his birth, and to remember his words and his deeds on behalf of Civil Rights for African Americans.  Today, even with the advent of Trump, the US is a better place than it was in King’s time. This should not be taken to mean that there isn’t far more work to do. Continued racial and religious profiling by law enforcement, and well-documented police brutality that is far more often inflicted on people of color are just the visible tip of the social/cultural iceberg that is inequality in the U.S. today.

How we treat our neighbors first is the most important step we can make in the right direction. I’m very happy that we have a wide diversity of neighbors. I think it makes the neighborhood stronger, and teaches the children of our neighbors that everyone can live together. This is true even though there are people who are unhappy with a well-integrated neighborhood. That’s okay. They’ll live with it, and learn, or they’ll leave. Their loss.

Today, also, we remember that Dr. King was assassinated for his beliefs, and for his work, his speeches, his marches, his arrests in the cause of Civil Rights in America. I will remember that his death does not mark the end of his work. It is up to us to continue it, as best we can, each in our own way.

*      *      *

I had another good week of exercise last week, and I’m currently down 5# since the first of the year. I’m gunning for five to six days a week of explicit exercise, and planning to continue that regime. I’m back up over 40 minutes per session on the elliptical machine, and approaching my “good” pace: 2000 strides / 15 minutes. I also value what the Marines have to say on the topic: Pain is weakness leaving the body.

*      *      *

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

  • Spc. Isiah L. Booker, of Cibolo, Texas, died Jan. 7, in Jordan, in a non-combat related incident.
  • Spc. John P. Rodriguez, of Hemet, Calif., died Jan.12, in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in a non-combat related incident.

8 Jan 2017

One down, 51 to go.

A good week for exercise – I managed five days of workouts in the last seven. Today was good: 60/40/22/41(5200/635).

Work was productive and fun, and I got caught up on some technical reading. Oh, yeah. Snow. Predicted: 2-4 over Friday/Saturday. Actual: a little under 3/4″. Ah, well.

*      *      *

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

1 Jan 2017

Happy New Year. Observe that I am expressing a hope, rather than a prediction. The good thing about expecting a depressingly awful sequel to last year’s trash fire is that, while it CAN be worse than I imagine, it MIGHT also be better than I expect. Pleasant surprises may ensue.

Things that continue to be true:

  1. I’m  thrilled to continue walking through life with my lovely bride. This will always be number one for me.
  2. I’m bloody lucky to live in a time and place where, today, I know where food, shelter, and toilet paper are coming from. Many folks don’t, and I’ll look to make a difference there, this year.

That’s enough of a list for me. The more I take on, the less I may accomplish. So, today was good. And this wasn’t on that list, but it’s a (re-)start: 6/11/4270(35m/604c).

The BEST list I saw today is this one: Elizabeth (@twoscooters) Sampat’s 100 tweet list here. Note that you’ll have to click Show More a few times in the web UI to see the whole thing. It’s worth it.

*      *      *

DoD announced no new casualties in the last week. I’m glad of that. Ciao!

 

 

26 Dec 2016

I hope y’all had a Merry Christmas, at least those of you that recognize the holiday. For the rest, I hope you enjoyed your weekend. We had a quiet holiday at home. I baked a ham and we added mashed red potatoes and broccoli to the plates. Lexi got the best under-the-tree gift this year – a tin of dog treats from her Auntie Tae! Marcia and I had done our gift exchange earlier, and mostly in support of the Annapolis Shakespeare Company.

Lexi on Christmas Day

Lexi on Christmas Day

*      *      *

DoD announced no new casualties in the last 8 days. Glad of that, too. Ciao!

18 Dec 2016

‘Twas the week before Christmas,
And all through the town,The wind was a’blowin’,
And power was down.

Well, not for us, but lots of folks lost power around here today. Yesterday around noon, we finally emerged from an early cold blast that had us in the teens and twenties since Wednesday. This morning, it reached 62 degrees. Now it’s back down to freezing. All that atmospheric energy had to go somewhere, and wind was no surprise. We had perhaps a tenth of an inch of ice on Saturday morning:

Ice on the crepe myrtle seed pods

Ice on the crepe myrtle seed pods

Lexi seriously hates walking about on ice-crusted grass. She acts as if it’s much worse than snow. I’d guess so, it’s probably sharp and all of the smells are hidden.

I got some house cleaning done, roasted some coffee, and did a bit of remote work. All in all, a productive week and weekend.

*      *      *

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

11 Dec 2016

G’day. What a lovely day. Well, not temperature-wise, as it was 24F when I got up and walked the dog this morning, and had barely crept up to the freezing point by noon. But, still a nice day. We took Linda and Mike to see the matinee showing of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, staged by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company. It’s running through Christmas Eve, so you have plenty of time to go see it yourself! This is the second year we’ve enjoyed this production. While some might say it’s not the cheeriest of stories, it is indeed a wonderful show. And there’s plenty of humor in the actors interacting in their “radio studio” as the play goes on. And as usual, towards the end, something manages to get into my eyes. Sally Boyett and her team put on a great show, and you’d love it. Go. GO!

Beyond that, a busy work week behind, another one in front. Other than roasting a pound of Honduras coffee yesterday, there’s not much to report.

*      *      *

A moment of silence to mark the passing of John Glenn.

He was heroic, in the best sense of that word. He flew and fought in two wars. He went to space and into orbit, in a tin can perched atop a tube of high explosives in 1962. Then did it again in 1997 (at age 77!) on the space shuttle. He was a US Senator from Ohio for a quarter century. He’d been a hero of mine for decades, and the world is a poorer place without him in it.l

Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. First Class Allan E. Brown, 46, of Takoma Park, Maryland, who died on Dec. 6 at Walter Reed National Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan, that occurred on Nov. 12.

4 Dec 2016

We had a lovely supper tonight at Seasons 52 in Columbia – a holiday dinner with my co-workers and plus ones. I had half a chicken, Marcia had some seared cow, both were delicious. Dessert: tiny, delicious, and overpriced. Still, we’ll go there again: Recommended.

Marcia continues to make great progress in her hip replacement recovery. She’s been driving for a week now, and spending a fair bit of time standing, walking, and working on stuff in the house each day. Huzzah!

The week was weird. I took a couple of vacation days on Thursday and Friday. Got a few things done around the house, but mostly relaxed and tried to unwind a bit. I roasted a pound of an Ethiopian SO, cleaned the roaster, etc. It’s almost time to build something in the woodshop – I’m getting that familiar itch.

I’m also getting used to my early Festivus present: an Apple Watch. I like it very much, and it’s hugely more comfortable to wear (as well as much better for my eyes) than the FitBit Charge it replaced. But it doesn’t replace all of that functionality – the biggest lack for me: no sleep tracking, which I really appreciated on the FitBit. That said, I’m provisionally happy with the change, and getting used to the features and integration of this device.

Also from the week past, as posted on teh twitters, where I can be found as @bilborg: Best thing I read in November, BTW: Sarah Tolmie’s The Dancer on the Stairs, in @strangehorizons. Support speculative fiction mags, authors Please do visit Strange Horizons, read, enjoy, and support them if you can.

And with that, and no casualties reported by DoD in the last few days, Ciao!

29 Nov 2016

Well, this isn’t Sunday, is it? I remembered on my drive in this morning that this place had slipped my mind – I was working for a significant portion of the day on Sunday, and just wanted to unwind when I got home. So goes life. I hope y’all had a nice weekend, and (if you celebrated it) a fine Thanksgiving. All things being equal, I still have plenty to be thankful for in my life.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, 42, of Woodbridge, Virginia, who died on Nov. 24 in northern Syria, of wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast.

20 Nov 2016

Windy, cold day today. Quite a shift from yesterday’s 70° loveliness. That’s okay. I stayed busy all week and all weekend. Today, for example:

  • 0645-0800 – Start laundry, start coffee, then patching a set of production linux systems
  • 0800-0845 – Walk dog, breakfast
  • 0845-1030 – Shopping, food organization
  • 10:30-1200 – Email, patching another set of production linux systems
  • 1200-1300 – Walk dog, lunch
  • 1300-1400 – Roast coffee (an Ethiopian SO bean from Sweet Maria’s)
  • 1400-1600 – Putter about, relax for a couple of hours
  • 1600-1800 – Cooking
  • 1800-1845 – Feed and walk dog
  • 1845-2000 – Dinner, make bed, email, blog time…

Marcia is doing great. She’s done with the cane, mostly. She did most of the laundry work today, other than the “carry bits up and down the stairs” part. Strength is going up, pain is going down, and she’s weening off the last of the heavy pain killers in the next couple of days. Next up: Driving!

We enjoyed watching the first episode of Amazon’s new car show: The Grand Tour this week! I’d missed having those blokes doing new, fun things with cars. Sorry, BBC – your B-Team isn’t nearly good enough!

*      *      *

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

  • Sgt. John W. Perry, 30, of Stockton, California, died on Nov. 12 of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan.
  • Pfc. Tyler R. Iubelt, 20, of Tamaroa, Illinois, died on Nov. 12 of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan.

13 Nov 2016

Friday the thirteenth falls on a Sunday this month. And it’s nigh unto first “supermoon” (the concurrence of the moon’s orbital perigee and the sun/earth/moon syzygy) in 68 years (although the moon won’t be actually full until tomorrow at around 9AM EST). We have a nice view of that large, bright moon on this cloudless evening – very cool.

Meantime, when I’m not actively taking care of Marcia in her hip-replacement recovery routine, Lexi is filling in – keeping chairs warm, for example:

Lexi the chair warmer

Lexi the chair warmer

I managed several hours at work this week, and I have also been making progress on a Django-based project, in and around keeping up with the chores, etc here at the homestead.

*      *      *

RIP – Leonard Cohen. Turns out I haven’t listened to NEARLY enough of his work. Here’s a good snippet of a recent interview (From September 2016): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4PqY-VgSsI.

*      *      *

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

  • Capt. Andrew D. Byers, 30, of Rolesville, North Carolina, died Nov. 3 in Kunduz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer, 34, of Greenville, Pennsylvania, died Nov. 3 in Kunduz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces.
  • Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Lawrence, Kansas, died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when his convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base.
  • Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Arizona, died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when his convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base.
  • Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas. died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when his convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base.
  • Ronald L. Murray Jr., of Bowie, Maryland, died Nov. 10, in Kuwait in a non-combat related incident.