6 August 2017

Well, Marcia’s home from Michigan. She went up for the week to visit family, and had fun. Lexi spent the week eyeballing me and asking when Marcia was going to be back. This is that look:

Lexi wants Marcia home

Lexi wants Marcia home

Along with doing a bit of remote work each day (and going to the office for a few hours on Tuesday), I got a lot of chores done around the homestead. Garage clean up. Mowing. A couple of days of pressure washing the deck and stamped concrete pad. All-in-all, a fairly productive week. Today we did the shopping, then I roasted coffee and relaxed. No bad thing.

Also, I read a wonderful short story by Chris Pourteau called Unconditional: A Tale of the Zombie Apocalypse. All I can tell you without spoilers is that this is told from the viewpoint of the family dog. Oh, and it’s my current favorite short story of the year. I was getting ready to put on my short list for a Hugo nomination when I learned that the story is from 2015. Ah, well. Good news: I get to go find more of Chris’s work and see if I enjoy it as much. I found the story in At The Helm: Volume 1: A Sci-Fi Bridge Anthology.

*      *      *

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

  • Tech. Sgt. David Board, 49, of Barboursville, West Virginia, died on August 2 in Kuwait in a non-combat-related incident while deployed in support of combat operations.
  • Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter, 23, of Columbus, Indiana, died on Aug. 2 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a result of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improved explosive device detonated near his convoy.
  • Spc. Christopher Michael Harris, 25, of Jackson Springs, North Carolina, died on Aug. 2 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a result of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improved explosive device detonated near his convoy.

 

30 July 2017

So, in the last eight days, we’ve had 6″ or so of rain in my part of the state. We’ve had a couple of intense pop-up storms that hovered and dumped huge amounts, along with the other storm lines that the whole state got. And miracle of miracles, it was 58 degrees outside when I woke up this morning. That’s unheard of in July in these parts – it was a truly gorgeous day today: low 80’s at the peak and but moderate humidity. Lexi was the beneficiary of that, with a couple of long walks to her credit. I say 6″ or so above because I noticed that the siting of my rain gauge is now in the wind shadow of a tree that’s grown and spread quite a bit in the last year or two.

I’m taking the upcoming week mostly off work (doing just a bit of email and ephemera each morning so that the return isn’t horrible) to burn up vacation hours that I’d otherwise lose at the end of the year. No real plans at this time, beyond roasting coffee and trying to relax a bit. Maybe planting a post in the middle of the yard for the rain gauge.

*       *       *

Here’s Lexi being cute to warm up your day:

Lexi being cute with her stuffed toy cow

*       *       *

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

2017 June 18

Most of a post-vacation work week gone by – I’ve just been dropping back into the groove. We’ve got patching and virtualization updates scheduled for the near future, so I’ve got a fair bit of planning to do to pull it off without causing unplanned downtime. This weekend was … hot, mostly, and humid. It’ll take me a while to drop into summer accommodation mode. We did celebrate a friend’s birthday this weekend, and we’re going to help a neighbor celebrate a birthday next weekend.

I made the Father’s Day phone call today, it was nice chatting with my folks – their weather is right now as hot as ours, but the humidity is much, much lower. Yay, California!

Here’s a happy Lexi who spent a couple of hours snoring on my chest yesterday:

Lexi snoozing on me

Lexi snoozing on me

*      *      *

Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors – I mentioned the initial notification last week, now we know who we mourn:

  • Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Maryland, died on June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained there.
  • Sgt. William M. Bays, 29 of Barstow, California, died on June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained there.
  • Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 of Youngsville, North Carolina, died on June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained there.

11 June 2017

A week in Maine

A week in Maine

We had a nice week in Maine – two 10+ hour driving days, two sunny days, and a fair bit of Seattle-influenced weather. But a relaxing, wonderful trip. A few small fish caught – all sent back to eat healthy and grow bigger. Pictured above is the camp (the word for house on a lake, in Maine) we were staying at. No, you can’t build that close to the water anymore. Yes, we did bring Lexi with us. And yes, there were more than a trillion mosquitoes around, just lurking around the camp waiting to feed on Marcia and I.

Today: chores, shopping, etc. Tomorrow: TBD. I’ll be back at my desk at work on Tuesday morning.

*      *      *

DoD announced three US casualties in Afghanistan yesterday, but no further details are available yet. Our condolences.

 

28 May 2017

In entertainment news, we attended the theater last night. Annapolis Shakespeare’s Donald Hicken gave us a superbly directed production of Richard III. Visiting actor Kurt Elfmann was wonderful as the murderous, treacherous, and slimy Richard. His introspective Richard was for me most compelling. ASC company member Brian Keith MacDonald played both Brakenbury and a strong, well-executed (heh) Buckingham. It’s tough playing second fiddle to an erratic schemer. I don’t but wonder what sort of role models he had for that, these days?

Also ASC regulars: Olivia Ercolano and Laura Rocklyn (Lady Anne and Queen Elizabeth, respectively) lent strength and passion to their portrayals. Doomed in their interactions with Richard, the women in this play do their best to survive at the cost of horrid compromise. Dexter Hamlett’s George (Duke of Clarence) also stood out for me, playing out his character’s fate and pain with dignity and power.

The whole cast, some eleven in all, built an exquisite mind palace for this play, making do with but three pieces of furniture in the black box of the company’s education stage. Well-designed  and executed (there’s that word again!) music, drums, and lighting provided the necessary complement to this powerful Shakespeare history. Runs at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company through June 11, 2017. Highly Recommended.

*      *      *

It’s a holiday weekend. So of course it’s been raining straight through. We just cracked a year’s worth of rain, some 44″ worth, since I last changed the battery in my backyard rain gauge. That year’s worth of rain did, however, take 15 months to fall. So we’re still a bit short. Friends over for supper and games tonight, and anticipation of a relaxing day, possibly with some wood-working thrown in, for the actual Memorial day. Here’s how Lexi handles a rainy holiday weekend:

Rainy Day Lexi

Rainy Day Lexi

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Etienne J. Murphy, 22, of Loganville, Georgia, who died on May 26, in Al-Hasakah, Syria, of injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover related incident.

14 May 2017

First: She’s a good dog, Brent – 42/10.

Lexi

Lexi

Lexi, above, at one of her favorite activities: watching DogTV ™ from an ottoman at my upstairs office window.

*      *      *

Second: Happy Mother’s Day, y’all. You know who you are! My personal celebration in honor of mothers everywhere is listening to a lot of Bangles music tonight. Yay!

*      *      *

Our second streak of Seattle weather in May finally broke today, after several grey days and a couple of inches of rain. We reached the mid-70’s. That meant I could get out and take care of the mowing, and do some weeding out of the front flower beds. I’ve still not cleaned out the main veggie beds in back, for a variety of reasons. I’m leaning hard towards giving the garden a pass this year. We had such a bad year last year…

*      *      *

Penultimately: Today is 10 years with my current employer. Please note that I’m still nowhere near the median tenure for the firm, which is currently hovering around 17 years, IIRC. What a wonderful bunch of folks to work with.

*      *      *

In local entertainment news, The Annapolis Shakespeare Company‘s production of Richard III opens on Friday. It’s the first production in their new 99 seat black box theater. We’re looking forward to the show, and if you’re in the area, you should join us. We love this team of creative folks and are sure you will, too!

*      *      *

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

16 April 2017

Oh, first: Release your tax info, President Trump. Note: No one paid me to say that. Just do the right thing, please. Just this once…

*      *      *

Here’s a happy dog:

Lexi relaxing on my lap

Lexi relaxing on my lap

This dog had to deal with Marcia’s trip, immediately followed by mine. About 16 hours after Marcia got home, Saturday last, I hopped onto a plane headed for Denver. There, I spent a week in a Red Hat Automation with Ansible class, wrapping up with a brutal four hour practical exam. I learned a bunch of stuff, and I passed the exam. That also extended my RHCE/RHCSA certs into 2020, which is good.

The weekend was full of chores. I’m full of tired.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, of Edgewood, Maryland, who died on April 8 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations.

9 April 2017

G’day. Lexi was a happy puppy, yesterday late afternoon. That’s when Marcia got back home from a 9 day trip up to Maine, where she was spending time with her sister. This is a dog waiting for his mistress to come home:

Lexi waiting for Marcia to come home from Maine

Lexi waiting for Marcia

For the duration, I was bailing out of work early, coming home to walk the dog and work on fitting out Marcia’s closet. Every time I’d go down to the basement workshop, Lexi would eventually follow, and sit on her perch in Marcia’s sewing room (as above), and look a bit pathetic.

Here’s how the closet came out:

Marcia's closet completed

Marcia’s closet completed

So that, and getting the watering system setup for the hanging flower baskets on the front porch, pretty much ate my non-work week. This upcoming week will be fun – I’m spending some significant focused time on a configuration management tool chain.

*      *      *

What I’ve been reading: Born to Run: Bruce Springsteen by The Boss, The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, 3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, and Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson. Note, those are all in-process books and I’m enjoying all of them. Additionally, I just finished reading The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. That was good fun and a great read. Wanting more and I have to wait for it…

Scalzi's The Collapsing Empire

Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire

You can see I’ve got James S. A. Corey’s Caliban’s War waiting in the wings. But I’m not, not going to pick up another book until I’ve got one or more of the currently-reading tomes done with…

*      *      *

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

7 Feb 2017

Wow. Am I a slacker, or what? I’ve been really busy. Work is keeping me on my toes, and (wonderfully), we’re finally cooking with gas!

Cooking with gas: Our new KitchenAid Dual Fuel range

Cooking with gas

We got a KitchenAid Dual Fuel range – a natural gas range (that could be converted to LP if needed) with two electric ovens. Yay! Getting the range was Marcia’s birthday present, and she got the gasfitter to run the line for Valentine’s Day. No massacres yet!

*      *      *

On the professional front, I’m working on the options for extending my Red Hat Certified Engineer status. I’m probably going down the automation path, with Ansible, for a variety of reasons. So I’ve got to spend a fair bit of time building test environments and building my skill set with the range of capabilities that Ansible offers today. I’ve been using it for a few years now, but not taking advantage of all that the tool suite has to offer. Should be fun.

*      *      *

Books: I finally finished reading Leviathan Wakes – Book One of The Expanse by James S. A. Corey. Wonderful space opera set believably in our solar system (so, no light speed drives required to move the action along). Miller and Holden. Holy cow. If you’ve not read, you should. I’ll be reading the books before I start watching the series, which I hear is also seriously awesome. Next up, Born To Run, by the Boss.

*      *      *

Lazy lookout guard - Lexi has to rest her head

Lazy lookout guard

Lexi had her annual check-up last weekend, and flew through with flying colors. The nail trimming and first round of shots didn’t make her very happy, though. She’ll be even less happy when she goes back for two more shots in a couple of weeks. The rabies vaccine booster was part of this year’s regimen, so the vet likes to split up the shots when there are a bunch, for a little dog like Lexi.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Brian. P. Odiorne, 21, of Ware, Massachusetts, who died on Feb. 20, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident.

19 Feb 2017

Well, here we are, barely a month into this Republican Administration. How do you think it’s going. I’m pretty disappointed. By now, I was sure we’d ALL have gold-plated hotels of our very own. Sad!

*      *      *

I was helping Marcia box up some stuff in her sewing area in the basement, and I may have gone overboard:

Lexi's ready to go!

Lexi’s ready to go!

Of course I blamed the dog for this. Why wouldn’t one?

*      *      *

We’ve had an unseasonably lovely President’s Day weekend so far. Unlike the heavy snows of the last few years, we’re up into the 60’s and 70’s for highs. That’s probably going to end in sorrow (and snow) though, because I washed both cars this weekend. We all know that car washing beats forecasts, every day of the week. That, with other chores and remote work for the office has meant a full weekend so far. Tomorrow’s moderate temperatures are indicative of yard work, more’s the pity.

*      *      *

DoD has reported no casualties in the last week, for which we are grateful. We can but hope that this Republican Administration doesn’t lead us into new wars. Ciao!