27 January 2020

Tick Tock

Yes, yes, yes. It’s been many days since Friday the Thirteenth fell on a Monday this month. I’ve been busy, but that’s all, just busy. All is otherwise well. Roasting coffee. Chores. Dinner guests. Work. Sleep. And the clock, it keeps ticking. So, thank you for your patience. Your reward is a winterized Lexi photo:

Lexi in Winter Relaxation mode

Not much else to report. Be well.

13 Jan 2020

Friday the Thirteenth

It falls on a Monday this month. I can tell. All in, though, it was a good weekend, and today: a productive start to the week. The downside is, there are so many things I’d like to accomplish and not enough time for them all, much less relaxing. So I’m doing more relaxing and less of the things. For now, that’s okay. There’s not much else going on for us. Watching the brinksmanship and idiocy going on in the upper reaches is something else again.

Reading

I finished up nearly all of the novels in the Liaden Universe series. I’ve not yet gotten Accepting the Lance, which is the latest release. It’s time for a break. I will tell you that those books are so, so good! And for me, starting from the “beginning” and reading through in roughly linear story-line order made everything that I’d read previously (out of order) make a lot more sense! Not so surprising, eh?

So I read William Gibson’s The Peripheral next. For me, this was a slow-starter. I had trouble getting grounded in the story (stories) because of the world-line jumping. But I stuck with it, caught up with the context, and loved the heck out of this novel. To be clear, I want more of it, but I didn’t see how that would work – this story is complete, and may only emit short stories … So of course I’m wrong, and the “prequel/sequel”, Agency, is due out next week. Ah hah! That also explains the deep discount on The Peripheral next month. Those darn marketing people!

Winding Down

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

  • Spc. Henry J. Mayfield Jr., 23, from Evergreen Park, Illinois, was killed Jan. 5, 2020, during an attack in Manda Bay, Kenya.
  • Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia, was killed in action on January 11, when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
  • Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois, was killed in action on January 11, when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

1 January 2020

The News

New year. New Decade. What to do this year?

Check your voter registration starting at the National Association of Secretaries of State website. Check regularly, to ensure your registration is valid as we approach caucuses, primaries, and and general elections.

If you need to register, you can, starting at Vote.gov. Get registered, then see step one. Check your registration to ensure that it is current and valid, when you need it most!

When you can vote, at the local, state, and national levels, GO VOTE! It’s important. It’s your democracy, so VOTE.

This is the most important post of the year. See you soon.

22 December 2019

Beginnings and Endings

We find ourselves a day into Winter, thus Beginnings. We’ve had mornings in the teens (Fahrenheit) fairly often for the last couple of weeks, so sliding formally into Winter seems the merest formality. More fun, we had guests up from Atlanta, and, well, it’s properly cold here, for them. But they’re driving further north, more power to them. It was a joy to have some time with Jen and Chris, though. And Lexi got lots of attention from them, too. Linda was over for supper, too. We enjoyed a properly garlic-y chicken supper, a holiday film from Mel Brooks, and some pressies were exchanged to much fun and excitement.

On the other side of the scale, the decade is about done. Sometimes Endings are good. I’ve always said that the problem is politicians, of whatever stripe. But I think we’ve had a properly shitty few years, and maybe it’s because the root cause isn’t really a politician, after all (not this time). One hopes for hope in the coming year, we’ll see how that works out. Personally, as awful as some things have been, we’ve had a pretty decent 10 years. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out, going forward.

Work has been work, and I’ve been really, really busy. Tired, frankly, and that’s not looking to end, as a trend, for the next short while, but we have plans to remediate that soon. Marcia finished up a collection of memorial quilts which have made their way out into the world, so she’s looking forward to doing some of her own quilt projects that have gotten backed up.

Winding Down

DoD announced no new casualties in the last couple of weeks. That’s good.

Be good to each other, enjoy your families and your holidays, however you celebrate. Merry Whatever!

8 December 2019

Holiday Season

The holiday season is well upon us. No post last weekend because of food coma, caused primarily by the small, 14 pound bird we roasted for the two of us … Lexi got only little bits. We just finished eating off of that bird today, with the last two servings of soup. We had a few days of straight leftovers, a pot of soup, and an abundance of turkey tetrazzini (extra turkey, no ‘shrooms or almonds).

We *did* manage to get the tree up and decorated, and topped in a fitting Doctor Who style:

Weeping Angel tree topper

Yup, who doesn’t love a Weeping Angel to send you back to the good old days? Seasonally appropriate, especially these days. The trick is, keep the tree lit!

Reading

I’ve been reading the Liaden Universe series from the fertile minds of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, via Baen Books. I’d read some of the books, out of any reasonable order, years ago. Recently I re-read Agent of Change, and found myself wondering why I’d never just sought out all of the books, and read them through in some reasonable order.

Some reasonable order, for me, turns out to correspond well to the timeline chart found on the version of the Wikipedia page for the series. That is, I read in this order:

  • Crystal Soldier
  • Crystal Dragon
  • Balance of Trade
  • Trade Secret
  • Local Custom
  • Scout’s Progress
  • Mouse & Dragon
  • Conflict of Honors
  • Agent of Change
  • Carpe Diem
  • Plan B
  • I Dare
  • Fledgling
  • Saltation <<— I’m reading this, now.
  • Ghost Ship
  • Necessity’s Child
  • Dragon Ship
  • Dragon in Exile
  • Alliance of Equals
  • The Gathering Edge
  • Neogenesis
  • Accepting the Lance (New release, 12/03/2019)

There are also several collections of short stories, the Constellations, then there are the Adventures books. There’s certain to be overlap between those, and the stories, some of them may have made their way into the novels. I’m not sure yet. But there’s plenty yet to read. I like the characters, the plotting, the writing … I like it all. Highly recommended.

Winding Down

DoD announced no new casualties in the last two weeks. That’s good. Many other things happening in this world: Not Good. We seek balance.

24 November 2019

Pizza Night

After shopping and cleaning house today, we had wonderful home-made pizza AND watched Chicken Run. Now, instead of being able to concentrate on the world-shaking revelations that were to appear in this space, all I can do is type sentences that run on and on without any appearance of termination in sight, if indeed such sentences as typed could be said to have visual acuity of any sort at all.

Disturbing

Nearly every damn political story I read. Disturbing. Politest word I can think of in the circumstances. I’ve got nothing else to say on the subject at this time.

2020 Race

Warren.

A Cute Dog

This is the cute Lexi dog we all need right now:

Lexi the chipuggle mutt, lap adjacent, getting belly scritches.
Lexi getting belly scritches

Winding Down

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

  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, from Tarrant, Texas.
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, from Keaau, Hawaii.

Both soldiers died on Nov. 20, 2019, in Logar Province, Afghanistan, when their helicopter crashed while providing security for troops on the ground.

17 November 2019

Paperwork

As we wind our way through open enrollment season and clarifying what things are still eligible for reimbursement, I’m have such fun with sorting through the paperwork and ensuring that we’re getting back all the pennies on the dollar that we have coming. It’s one of those things I should do with more regularity, but since interest rates suck so hard, it really doesn’t make sense to do the dance too often. Anyway, I’m almost done, having figured out we should spend a bit more on vision care in the next two weeks, to maximize our return.

Woodworking Prep

In advance of the planned kitchen cabinet work, I’ve done some more cleanup and prep in the wood shop, cleaning up so that I can make a whole new mess. But there’s nothing else done there yet, other than a couple of sketches for materials planning. Soon, though, bunches of plywood and vast lengths of 1×4 poplar will be making their way into my cottage industry cabinetry empire. Soon.

Weather

If it matters to y’all how cold we are, you can start giggling now. We have not had any accumulating snow yet, although slow rain was observed falling a couple of times in the last week. In general, we’re dropping a bit below 32°F each night, and went down to 17 or so once. That’s pretty low for an early November night.

Winding Down

DoD announced no new casualties in the last week. Nothing else to report.

11 November 2019

Honor to Our Veterans

The women and men who put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf get precious little of the respect and care that we should give them each day. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

Change Is

Some things change slowly, some so fast one hardly notices the thing itself as the blur as it goes by. A person I work with is moving on, after a lunatic number of years (by today’s standards), and I’m going to miss them a lot. No blur here, but a lot of individual moments that together are a big part of the most recent third of my working life.

Lexi Fix

Lexi the mutt managed to wind herself into Marcia's sweatshirt on the bed, and I'm getting a look when I catch her at it with the camera.
Lexi in a sweatshirt cave

In case you’d forgotten that we share our lives with this funny little rescue mutt, here’s another of her cold days tricks – climbing under a sweatshirt on the bed.

Winding Down

DoD reported no casualties in the last week, in a rare spot of good news these days.

3 November 2019

Take Two

I was four paragraphs into the first pass on this post when I managed to hit a stupid combination of keys on the Apple keyboard and moved backwards three links. Whoops, I thought, and went looking for the auto-saved draft. Um, not there? Sigh. Okay, take two – I wonder how much this iteration is going to vary from the last?

Fallen

Fall is finally, properly, here. Six weeks in, and we finally got two consecutive nights below freezing. We’re due for another frost tonight before it warms up just a shade. Also, for the first time, the snow icon made it into the long range forecast on my phone. Of course, “long range forecast” is just an effusive waste of characters when what you want to say is “lie.”

I got the outdoor water delivery systems winterized today. Yesterday, I repaired the motion detecting light outside the garage door. Wait, did I say “repair?” I mean replaced, with modifications. The old fixture wasn’t new when we bought this house in 2003. And it was hardwired. And it was positioned badly, in the far corner of the front of the garage, where it was partially blocked by the substantial crepe myrtle. Additionally, a moderate wind would use that tree to continuously fire the motion detection. So, due for work even before I learned that the plastics were going and one of the two light sockets was gone, on Hallowe’en evening.

In replacing the fixture, I moved it to front and center on the garage. I mounted a switch in the garage so that we could turn it off entirely without going to the breaker panel in the basement. And bonus – the LEDs draw 25 watts when active, as opposed to the dual 100 watt halogens that were continuously cycling in the elder unit.

Kitchen progress

Little progress, but: I’m going to be fabricating one new bank of cabinets whole, and I’ve got the measurements for those, so I can do some sketches and gin up a material’s list in prep for purchasing, then fabrication.

Bookish

I’ve been reading the Liaden Universe books from Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I’d read some of them in the past, out of order. I now have ALL of the books (21 of them, I think), and I’m following one of the many suggested reading orders (this one’s from Baen, and probably originates with the authors, so there’s that. I like them a lot.

Winding Down

Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. Nathaneil G. Irish, 23, of Billings, Montana, who died on Oct. 27, 2019, of a non-combat related incident at Camp Taji, Iraq.

27 October 2019

Capclave

I missed y’all last weekend because I was at Capclave 2019. This year’s Guests of Honor were Robert Sawyer and Martha Wells. They’re both authors whose work I love a lot, and I enjoyed hearing from them both in multiple panels. The three day weekend was full of author interviews and readings, celebrations and analysis of much loved works, and much on the minutiae of the SFF writing, editing, and publishing biz. My two favorite things were these: the panel for 25 Years of Babylon 5, and seeing all the wonderful folks I get to spend a few days with each year.

Next year is going to be a big shindig – the 20th anniversary of Capclave, with lots of extra special guests, many of whom I’ve seen over the past few years. Should be a hoot. I also learned that the 2021 WorldCon, host to the Hugo Awards, etc. will be held locally (in DC)! Yay! The web site: https://discon3.org/.

Homework

The two weeks, and parts of this weekend have been filled with paying-the-bills work, but there’s more to come on the home front: We’re going to do some remodeling in the kitchen. I’m going to build a couple of new bits of cabinetry, and new doors and drawers for the whole of the kitchen. Then we’ll paint out the lowers in a royal blue, and the uppers in a light tone of some type. Pictures as they’re worth sharing (but the work hasn’t started yet, so there’s not much to see, yet.

Winding Down

DoD reported no new casualties in the last week. That’s the only good news I’ve got from downtown.