This weekend marks another transition for Marcia – she’s stopped taking the rat poison (Coumadin, aka Warfarin). That also means that she doesn’t have to wear the compression stockings anymore, which makes her very happy. She should sleep much better tonight. She’s solo’ing up and down the stairs, but not leg-over-leg yet. Progress is.

*      *      *

I spent the weekend on two different primary tasks. The first was a bit of patching of Linux production systems late last night and early this morning, during the appropriate maintenance windows for the systems in question. Much of the balance of the weekend was spent working on the basement floor.

I started working it in past the entry way to Marcia’s sewing area. I’d start by scraping and cleaning the concrete, sweep up and vacuum, then lay a chunk of flooring and move a cabinet over to the freshly laid area, rinse and repeat. At the end of Saturday, it looked like this:

Basement floor - Saturday

Basement floor – Saturday

Today, after the Linux patching and the weekly shopping, I got back to work. I moved all the stuff that was in the basement kitchen down into the area I’d gotten flooring into yesterday, then I cleaned up, shaved the edge of the linoleum to ease the transition, and started moving appliances and laying flooring. By the end of the day I’d gotten to about the 80% point on the entire floor – and the kitchen area looks like this:

Sunday - basement floor progress

Sunday – basement floor progress

I only wasted two full planks doing cuts wrong, and shaved the skin off of one knuckle doing the work. So, a net win. Another day to get the rest of the flooring down, then I can start working on walls and paint and moldings.

*      *      *

No new casualties were reported by DoD in the last week.

Posted in Beware of Leopard, Fallen Warriors, Marcia | Leave a comment

Rainy Days and Sundays

Well, they don’t get me down, but when it’s rain drops with little ice spears embedded in each one, it’s not a pleasant thing to be walking in (or loading the groceries into the car during, for one executed example). We had about 2cm of rain today – at peak, the sump pump was running every two minutes.

Today was productive on the home front: Shopping, Laundry, cleaned up my office. I also opened up Serenity, the home server, and replaced the back panel fan with one that has manual speed settings, so that I can knock down some of the noise in here. Works like a champ. The Asus board that had been in that chassis did a better job of controlling fan speeds. When I replaced it with a SuperMicro board (and a Xeon processor + 16G of ECC RAM) … well, the SuperMicro seemed to run that back fan at full throttle the whole time.

Yesterday was productive for work: I spent 6 hours at the front part of the day planning and scripting for some VMware updating work, and 5 hours executing on it last night from 8 PM to 1 AM. Tomorrow is a relax day, I plan. Plans always work out, right?

Marcia is doing great. She’s continuing to nail her PT goals, and we expect that I’ll be going to work for several hours each day this next week, barring any setbacks.

*      *      *

It’s been more than a month! DoD announced no new casualties in the last week. The most recent reported casualty was on 14 Dec 2014.

Posted in Computers, Fallen Warriors, Marcia | Leave a comment

Wotcher, World

Well, I *intended* to put up at least a brief post last night, but the world conspired against me. Or Jack Frost did. Hard to tell, really.

Marcia is doing well. Her surgery last Monday went off without a hitch, and she’s plowing through her Physical Therapy goals without hardly blinking an eye. Of course, when she plows through those goals, she reaches points of real pain pretty quickly. That’s what the pain meds are for – to control things while she does the necessary work.

Speaking of work, other than a couple of hours worth of email, I haven’t done any remunerative work to speak of since the second day of this year. So this morning I was up at my usual time, got Marcia rolling, then settled and fed, and started working (from home) myself. This is now possible because our routine is stable enough, and Marcia’s recovered enough, that I can get an hour or more of continuous time in. There’s not much point if I can’t get at least a clear half hour, since the productivity ramp-up from interruptions is a killer.

More when there’s more to tell.

*      *      *

DoD reported no new casualties in the last week. Militant Islam continues to be a global problem, though.

Posted in Fallen Warriors, Family, Marcia | Comments Off

Going Fast

The year sure is flying by. It seems that New Year’s Day was only a couple of days ago, and already 1% of my year is gone already! As anticipated, I did get some flooring installed in the basement on Parade/Bowl Day, too:

Vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl plank flooring

The flooring goes down pretty easy. I made use of my Dremel multi-tool to get under the edges of door jams and such. In the last couple of days, I fabricated some maple edge transitions, and got them installed today (pictures some other day). There’s still floor prep + painting and moulding to apply before the project is done. In fact, I still have to peel up another 10×10 space of vinyl sheet from the basement kitchen area. But that should go quickly, one hopes.

*      *      *

Tomorrow, Marcia trades in her right knee for an upgraded titanium model.  Wish us luck.

*      *      *

DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.

Posted in Fallen Warriors, Marcia, Woodworking | Comments Off

Final Sunday

So endeth the last four day weekend of the year. Well, I am on call, so it was four days of not going to the office, but keeping a reasonably close eye on email…

We had a nice Christmas Day – food and relaxation and calling family off and on through the day. Friday was all about the leftovers. I’m going to have to pick up that exercise ball and run with it double-time for a while to make up for that.

Saturday, I finished up a couple of small woodworking projects, and today, I finished preparing the first section of the basement floor:

Basement floor: clean,  patched, and ready.

Basement floor: clean, patched, and ready.

The “fun” part was removing the adhesive residue from the old stick-on tiles. Heat gun + putty knife for the bulk of the removal, followed by scrubbing the floor with low odor mineral spirits. Then I patched the concrete where divots remained from removing carpet and edge banding nails. On New Year’s day, I’ll try to lay some flooring.

*      *      *

DoD announced no new casualties this last week.

Posted in Beware of Leopard, Fallen Warriors | Comments Off

Welcome to Winter

I’m thinking of Jerry Pournelle a lot these days, and wishing for him a speedy and complete recovery from his recent “small” stroke. What I *want* is for Jerry to keep defying odds, and keep putting out first rate science fiction (selfish of me, I know), and for Jerry to keep enjoying life. Not much to ask, is it?

*      *      *

Just another busy weekend for me, though. Much of yesterday I was in the woodshop, and repeated that again today. Among other things, I dismantled an old humidifier that was wasting space. Most of it is now in the recycle bin, but I scavenged the fans, controller, wheels, and inlet grid.

Scavenged from a humidifier

Scavenged from a humidifier

I built a box yesterday, and finished it out today, cutting holes and mounting bits until the new shop air cleaner was up and operational.

New shop air cleaner

New shop air cleaner

The prior “air cleaner” was a filter duct-taped to a box fan. The horizontal exhaust of that setup seemed to cause some extra dust issues, sometimes. And it was prone to falling over. This new one, bigger and sturdier, certainly isn’t going to fall over, and exhausts straight up, which should be good for keeping the air circulating in such a manner as to get more of the dust out of the air and onto the filter. AND the filter is easily removable, which is also a win.

I was also working on rebuilding some front legs for a Sauder shelving unit that was damaged by the water issues from last June. The feet had swollen badly, as MDF is prone to do when exposed to moisture. So I partially dismantled the unit, and removed the front legs (which are actually the full verticals from floor to top, making up part of the face frame). After making some measurements, I did a glue-up yesterday to get a couple of new legs of the right size. Today I cut them down to final dimensions, and used the router table to cut a slot in each to mate up with the shelf sides. I’ve got some sanding, staining, and sealing yet to do for those, so it’ll be another few nights before that project is finished. Then I can get back onto the remodeling of the basement: flooring, touch-up and paint on the walls, and reassemble Marcia’s sewing area.

*      *      *

The exercise continues to treat me well: In my ~20 minute warm-up routine, I’m up to 60 sit ups, 30 push ups, and a variety of stretches. Then, my current elliptical routine runs like this:

Goal: 134-142 steps per minute (excepting two minutes of cool-down at the end).

Goal: 6000 steps in under 45 minutes (below 44 when things are good).

Elliptical stages:

Resistance Slope Duration Elapsed
2 10° 2 2
3 10° 2 4
4 15° 2 6
5 15° 2 8
6 15° 2 10
5 20° 3 13
6 20° 3 16
7 20° 3 19
6 20° 3 22
5 20° 3 25
5 25° 3 28
6 25° 3 31
7 25° 3 34
6 25° 3 37
5 25° 3 40
4 20° 3 43
3 15° 3 46
2 10° 2 48

Boom. Today: 6000 steps in 43:27, total of 6550 steps in 48 minutes. A good day! The elliptical says I burned 850 calories doing that. My UP24 monitor insists that I only eked out 810 calories for the same work. Moot point, though. Feels good.

*      *      *

DoD reported no new casualties in the last week.

Posted in Exercise, Fallen Warriors, Woodworking | Comments Off

Year Winding Down

We’re about two weeks out, and at 36″+,  just a little under eight inches shy on precipitation compared to annual normal. Of course, the tree abutting the deck has put on some bulk in the last couple of years, and it’s entirely possible that the current siting of my rain gauge is in tree shadow part of the time. I’m thinking of re-siting it (or even getting a more comprehensive weather thing) in the next year. But that’s a project for another day (month?).

But this year certainly has flown by.

*      *      *

If you saw what I was working on last week, you’ll be pleased to know that I got the sump pit monitor (incorporating a Raspberry Pi, an HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor, and code courtesy of Al Audet) functioning and in place yesterday. The most recent output: “21:06:05,8.0″ – That’s eight centimeters of water above pit low. Eventually I’ll graph some of the data, but right now I’m just happy that it’ll send me a text if the water gets too high. There ware a couple of gotchas in the distributed code that I’ll want to document and get back into the public code base – mostly just comments that need to be in the raspisump.conf file to ensure that configuration items are done properly so that people don’t make the same mistakes I made.

*      *      *

I also got some coffee roasted, applied polish and elbow grease to my dress shoes, had a couple of good days on the elliptical, and finished up the monthly patch cycle of a batch of $FIRM systems (late Saturday night and early Sunday morning). What am I forgetting: that doesn’t seem like enough stuff to fill a weekend. Hmmm, oh, yeah: Shopping. Sending some ZFS filesystem snapshots from a production host to a copy of said host for testing purposes. Email read and responded to. Tickets reviewed, commented upon, and resolved, as appropriate.

*      *      *

Recent Reading: I’ve been re-reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon on the phone in dribs and drabs. I use the phone as dead-time reading because I don’t carry the Kindle or any dead trees with me much anymore. At the bedside is Aspirin & Nye’s Myth Alliances, which I’ve apparently had on the shelf for a good long time, and somehow never managed to pick up before. And on the Kindle (also bedside reading) is Joseph Lallo’s Unstable Prototypes. Plus I’ve got a stack of IEEE, ACM, USENIX ;login:, and woodworking magazines to get through one of these days.

*      *      *

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

  • Sgt. 1st Class Ramon S. Morris, 37, of New York, New York, died Dec. 12, in Parwan Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Wyatt J. Martin, 22, of Mesa, Arizona, died Dec. 12, in Parwan Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.


Posted in Books, Computers, Exercise, Fallen Warriors | 1 Comment

“A date which will live in infamy”

So said Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, after the attack at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Here is a transcript of his speech, courtesy of GMU. This important historical even seems barely mentioned by big media these days. I was pleased to see that the flags in Maryland are at half staff today to honor those who died in the attack.

*      *      *

Along with finishing up Marcia’s quilting cabinet (see the December 4 post), and getting some house cleaning done, I managed to spend some time working on building a sump pit monitor using the code and recommended hardware from Al Audet’s Raspi-Sump webpage. This useful project came to my attention via the October issue of Linux Journal.

It’s also good fun to find something properly useful to do with my version 1 Raspberry Pi Model B. I recently got a Model B+, so I’m going to have to do something with that, too.

I poked at the project for a while, and geared up a bit for some electronics work (which I’ve not done for a long damn time). This evening, I got it working, and finally grokked the fiddly bits of the config file, which uses the word “distance”, when the word “depth” would be much more useful. I’m also going to rig up a water sensor as a backup: once the sump failed by pumping the water out of the pit, but not out of the house. Yup, a water sensor would be good thing.

But next, I’ll start monitoring to get a sense of how the water ebbs and flows, so that I can tune the variables in the config file properly. I’ve also still got to configure the alerting system.

*      *      *

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

  • Capt. William H. DuBois, 30, of New Castle, Colorado, died on Dec. 1 when his F-16 aircraft crashed near a coalition air base in the Middle East.
  • Staff Sgt. Matthew R. Ammerman, 29, of Noblesville, Indiana, died on Dec. 3, in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from small arms fire while conducting a clearing operation.
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A Finished Cabinet

I finished Marcia’s rolling cabinet for quilting supplies late this afternoon. She’s happy with it…

The cabinet

The cabinet

Cabinet drawer for storing templates

Cabinet drawer for storing templates

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Catching Up

The calendar is catching up to the weather, in fact. On Tuesday into Wednesday, we’re due for “wintery mix,” which sounds much nicer than it really is. But 30’s and 40’s for December are just fine. It’s the teens and 20’s that make us cranky, here in Chez Bilbrez.

*      *      *

I’ve got the week “off” – burning some unused hours before I lose them to policy, come the end of the calendar year. Primary focus: finish building Marcia’s rolling cabinet, which is do-able, methinks. Here’s the carcass, much progress:

Marcia's Rolling Cabinet Carcass

Marcia’s Rolling Cabinet Carcass

In the last two days, I’ve got finish on all of the drawers and the body of the carcass. This afternoon, I made the face frame components and attached them. Tomorrow, I’ll sand the face frame and apply finish coats of urethane to the whole thing. Then I can get the hardware attached, and start working on the top and the drawer fronts.

Also on tap for the week: the house needs a deep cleaning, and the basement floor continues to need my attention. We’d like that to be done by the time Marcia’s recovered from her right knee replacement (surgery scheduled for January).

*      *      *

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

  • Sgt. Maj. Wardell B. Turner, 48, of Nanticoke, Maryland, died on Nov. 24, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his vehicle with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Joseph W. Riley, 27, of Grove City, Ohio, died on Nov. 24, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his vehicle with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
Posted in Beware of Leopard, Fallen Warriors, Woodworking | Comments Off