20 May 2018

Howdy. A full work week, followed by chores and theatre on Saturday, and mowing a wet, wet, tall set of lawns today. We had just one rainy stretch – it lasted from Saturday the 12th until this morning. All in, according to my still-poorly-sited rain gauge, we got just under 5″ of rain in that period of time. Not too shabby.  The abbreviated garden hasn’t drowned or died from lack of direct sunlight, either … yet.

I’ve been working my way through some Python (programming language) training, and I’ve reached once again the point where I spend more time fighting to understand how to solve the problem as poorly-posed, than I do on solving the problem. The underlying issue is that the specification and sample code in the exercises end up displaying only a passing resemblance to the solution code. If I make my best guess about just what the author of the tutorial wants, I end up with either slightly or dramatically different code, sometimes solving problems that clearly aren’t as described in the text. Maybe that’s part of the lesson – do the best you can with incomplete specifications and remember that it’s not permissible to kill the stakeholders. Harumph!

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DoD reported no new casualties in the last week. US school districts did, sadly. Our elected representatives should be doing more to address that than their corporate donors would prefer.

14 May 2018

A day late, and a bit more than a dollar short. We missed the storms this evening by attending the ASC Cabaret – lovely. Weekend: yardwork, getting a bunch of stuff done, but just one bed fully prepared, planted, and protected from the wrascally wrabbits.

2018 garden - one bed planted so far.

2018 garden – one bed planted so far.

*      *      *

DoD reports no casualties in the last week. Ciao!

6 May 2018

Whoops. One third of a year is gone. And we apparently went straight from Winter to Summer this last week. It was still Winter on Monday, with a frost coating all the lawns and roofs in our neighborhood. Spring lasted about 6 hours. I say this because, for me, Spring is the period of time between turning off the furnace, and turning on the air conditioning. That lasted about 6 hours on Wednesday (it was a 40°F wake-up temp), I figure the furnace was running until about 10 AM; I turned on the AC at 4 PM (it was 87°F out). Yay? Two days over 90 this week. Unusually warm after a long stretch of unusually cold.  On average: perfect. Grin.

Friday night we attended Opening night for Kiss Me Kate at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company. The 17 cast members gave us a kaleidoscope of song, dance, wonderful costumes and marvelous acting. In return, we gave them a standing ovation. Ben Russell and Robin Weiner shine as Fred/Petruchio and Lilli/Katherine. What a joy. We’re going again. Are you in the DC Metro Area? Join us and buy tickets – Annapolis Shakespeare.

Chores on the weekend, including getting the front porch hanging baskets fettled and hung, as well as lawns mown front and back. This evening, our neighbor from across the street joined us for supper with her 4-ish year old son. Good to spend some time with her, and her son is a hoot – high energy and fearless. Good news, too – nothing broken. I would not have been able to accomplish that at his age.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the familly and friends of Spc. Gabriel D. Conde, 22, of Loveland, Colorado, who was killed in action on April 30 as a result of enemy small arms fire in Tagab District, Afghanistan.

29 April 2018

Fun weekend. After the first full week back from vacation, I put in a grueling day and a half at BSidesCharm. Talks and panels all day and into the evening on Saturday, then I came back for half a day today. I missed a couple of afternoon talks and the closing ceremony so that I could catch up on the mowing, etc. Favorite talks: OSX/Pirrit by Amit Serper on Saturday,  and Effective Monitoring by Russell Mosley and Ryan St. Germain on Sunday (yep, I’m biased about that one). The Saturday evening Straight Up panel was a lot of fun, only slightly affected by all the folks who wanted to sit in the panel room but talk among themselves instead of being quiet so that others could enjoy the panel.

*      *      *

Upcoming this week, Kiss Me Kate opens at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company. Get your tickets now!

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Kwanzan Flowering Cherry over mowed lawn

Kwanzan Flowering Cherry over mowed lawn

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.

22 April 2018

Well. That was one of the longest breaks I’ve had in posting since I started 18 years and change ago. Reasonable reason: We went out to California to visit family. Other than puttering about working on Python a bit here and there, I was offline most of the time. A very relaxing trip, but hard to jump back into the groove.

We got back near midnight Wednesday. Thursday was shopping, picking up the dog from the boarding kennel, and (apparently) sleeping much of the rest of the day (but a couple of hours patching systems remotely in the mid-evening hours).

Friday we had an appointment to keep, but I got to work around 1:30 in the afternoon, in time to take care of a monthly task that’s normally mine. Then we slept another long night – 12 hours abed!

Saturday after slug-a-bed: a bit of outside work, including staining the fence sections I built after the windstorm a few weeks back. Alternating crouch and stretch – that was enough for me, yesterday.

Today, though, was full up. The alarm went off at 0645. I made the coffee and started patching production systems – about an hour’s work. Walk the dog, breakfast, and out for the weekly shopping. Then I mowed the lawns front (second of the season) and back (first). The front yard also got an  insect treatment to keep down the grubs. A brief lunch, and it was time to wash both cars. After that, the outside work was done. I came in, and finished some systems patching processes. Then it was time to roast coffee and cut my hair. THEN I was done with chores at 17:15, so just enough time for a shower before feeding and walking the dog. Whew.

Tomorrow: back to the full tilt boogie at work.

*      *      *

Two pictures from our travels:

Orinda Communtiy Center

Orinda Community Center

The building that is now the Community Center in Orinda, California, used to house Orinda Union School. It was either K-8 or K-6 … I don’t recall. I was there K-2, when that school was closed. I shifted over to the brand new elementary school campus at Wagner Ranch. That was an awesome, innovative, experimental school. Orinda Union lay fallow for a couple of years, I think , then got refurbished into the Community Center.

A REAL Iron Chef!

A REAL Iron Chef!

We spotted this metal sculpture at Mankas Steakhouse in Suisun Valley, California. Excellent food, and a lovely day with my folks, and most of my sister’s family (excepting Alex). We also had a superb supper at RÊVE Bistro in Lafayette, California, the night before returning home. Both places: Highly Recommended!

*      *      *

DoD announced no new casualties in the last three weeks.

1 April 2018

I don’t have anything particularly amusing going on just now that is pertinent to April Fool’s Day, but there’s always an RFC, so here’s one of two from this very day: Internationalizing IPv6 Using 128-Bit Unicode. If those terms aren’t in your weekly vocabulary, then you’re probably not going to find much distressingly funny about the other end of the link, but I had a chuckle or two.

We had a lovely week, with my niece Alex joining us for much of it. She got some quality museum time in, and saw some friends from elsewhere. She also joined us at The Glass Menagerie Friday night at Annapolis Shakespeare. She found the play to be as powerful and strongly performed as we did. Still highly recommended, and there are eight shows left over the next two weekends! Alex also kicked our butts playing assorted board games (it’s good to be young, eh?). We also ate well this week: Shrimp scampi, chicken and 40 cloves,  spicy marinated pork chops … and pizza. Today we did an Easter brunch, which was also tasty. All good things come to an end, though: we put her on the plane this afternoon.

I spent a fair bit of time trying to migrate an old interactive site to a new platform last week, to no avail. Now I’ve got to figure out what Plan B is, since leaving it on the old platform for much longer isn’t really an option.

I did get the front gardening cleanup done, and first mowing of the lawn, too.

From last weekend:

Lexi, after vet visit

Lexi, after vet visit

Yep, betrayed, she mopes all the way home.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas, who died on March 30 in Manbij, Syria as a result of injuries [caused by] an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his patrol.

26 March 2018

Busy week and weekend past. The week brought us our heaviest snow of the season, on the first day of Spring. Here’s a shot from my drive home last Wednesday, midday:

First day of Spring: Snow

First day of Spring: Snow

Much of the weekend went to house cleaning and associated chores – we have a house guest arriving shortly. I also roasted some more of the Guatemala Pico Mayor Gesha from Sweet Maria’s. Lovely stuff, and it wouldn’t do to run out because I’ll be brewing more than usual, perhaps. I also did some more glue-ups on the new jig I built last weekend:

New glue-up jig in woodshop

New glue-up jig in woodshop

 

We march in spirit with students from across the Union, in search of leadership that can do better at many things, including championing and passing sane laws regarding guns.

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

18 March 2018

Well. Busy week. Work and patching and appointments filled my week. We attended The Glass Menagerie opening night Friday at Annapolis Shakespeare. That show is a joy. All four actors nailed their parts, but special props to Claire Schoonover’s portrayal of Amanda Wingfield. She was triumpant!

I worked on chores and some infrastructure builds in the woodshop over the weekend. Up this morning at 0630 to finish up the production systems patching. And we just got home from the Broadway on Demand cabaret at the theatre. v.tired. More later or next week, but first…

*      *      *

Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors, who died on March 15 when an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq:

  • Captain Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • Captain Andreas B. O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York.
  • Captain Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York.
  • Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York.
  • Staff Sergeant Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York.
  • Master Sergeant William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida.
  • Staff Sergeant Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida.

11 March 2018

The work week was productive. I’m planning a couple of patching and upgrade cycles that will call for a couple of weekend days work, and probably some travel in May. But the planning and prep documentation is coming along nicely. And, after last weekend’s excitement and manual labor filled days, I wanted to take it easy this weekend. So I did. Yesterday I dropped by the theater and had a long conversation with Sally Boyett that ended with me joining the Board. I sure hope that I can provide the type of input that she’s hoping for… one thing’s for sure, there’s always more to learn. Today was limited to shopping, roasting coffee (Ethiopian), putting up a lovely quilted (by Marcia, see below) wall hanging, and working on my Python chops.

Marcia quilted a new wall hanging

Marcia quilted a new wall hanging

*      *      *

Upcoming at Annapolis Shakespeare: Tennessee Williams’s Glass Menagerie, directed by Donald Hicken, is opening on Friday evening, March 16. It’s a four week run for Glass Menagerie, shows on Friday and Saturday evenings, matinees on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Also, on Sunday the 18th, one night only: Broadway on Demand Cabaret night.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. 1st Class Maitland Deweever Wilson, 38, of Brooklyn, New York, who died onMarch 7 in Landstuhl, Germany from a non-combat related incident.

4 March 2018

A fairly calm work-week, until the big winds came. We didn’t lose power at the office, nor at home. But plenty of blinking lights and brown-outs, at both locations. ‘Round about 1 PM, Marcia called and said there were bits blowing off the house, and … problems with the fence. There was plenty of coverage at the office, so I came home. The house issue was limited to some segments of the aluminum soffit under the second story eaves in front. The fence issues, however… On the southeast perimeter, some fencing had come loose from one post, and another post is failing. I’ve got that braced pending further work, later in the spring. The northwest segment of fence saw a more dramatic failure:

Fence failed during windstorm - a post snapped off, and one 8' section blown about 35 feet into the yard.

Fence failed during windstorm

There, the fence failed during windstorm – a post snapped off, and one 8′ section blown about 35 feet into the yard. Not much I could do about that until the winds died down. Saturday, we were already committed to helping out with spring cleaning and reorganization down at the theatre. That left today for repairs.

This morning, after shopping, I headed down to the Home Depot to get what I needed: a couple of bags of concrete and six eight-foot long 2×4 pressure treated. I had a spare post, and just enough fence uprights left over from the big fence project of a couple of years back. Once home, I geared up and started by cutting the two old fence sections in half, for later ease of handling. Then I started working with the shovel, pick axe, and trowel, clearing enough of the minimal concrete and mucky clay from around the stump of the old post, that I might extract said stump. All in on that part of the work – just over an hour. Using my post hold digger, I got down to about 36″ of clear hole, and prepared for the new post. Marcia came out and held it while I trued up the post using a small level and string line. Then I braced the post, and got ready to fill with concrete and backfill from the hole digging process.

New fence post in hole, ready for concrete.

Post in hole, ready for concrete.

Once I’d set the post, I left it to set up for a bit, and got the ladder out to go deal with the soffit issue. The soffit panels were interesting in their storm dispersal. Four of them had blown into the yard of the house just south of us, were collected by that neighbor and saved for us. The fifth segment had executed a Mary Poppins maneuver: Across the street and about 4 houses up – three to four hundred feet away. I spotted it by accident while walking the dog on Saturday. But all in, an easy fix. It was trivial for me to reach the place where the panels needed to be, while standing on the front porch roof. 45 minute put that chore to bed, and I was back at the fence work.

Using a string and measuring tape, I set the top, middle, and bottom rails for the two new 8′ sections of fence. They’re well secured with angle brackets and 3″ coated screws. Then I started setting up for nailing up the fencing proper. By 3:50 PM, I was attaching the first board. By 4:45, the work was done, except for the cleanup.

New fence sections done

New fence sections done

A pneumatic nail gun loaded with 1-3/4″ galvanized 18 gauge stock makes quick work of the job. A couple of pieces needed trimming at the end of each section. All-in-all, a good day’s work. Exhausting, but good.

*       *       *

On the exercise front, I had a good, good February. I met all the goals for exercise, workouts, and active calorie burn, every day of the month. Hard to do, but making progress feels good.

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.