About bilborg

I am who I am, there's plenty of data on this site to tell you more. Briefly, I'm a husband, computer geek, avid reader, gardener, and builder of furniture.

Some Fallen Warriors Are Mothers

Really, there’s nothing that should make the loss of any one of our young men or women any different from one another. This week DoD reported about Cabrera, Newman, Darrough, Eugenio, Gailey, Butcher, Cullers, and Vincent – all of these people gave their lives for our country. Each loss is deeply felt. But please, why are we sending young mothers into war zones? Nineteen year old PFC Sarina Butcher had a three year old daughter. Yeah, we have to follow our laws, and women fought for equal rights, including the right to die for their country in battle. The law of unintended consequences strikes again. Sigh.

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

  • Lt. Col. David E. Cabrera, 41, of Abilene, Texas, died Oct. 29, in Kabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
  • Staff Sgt. Christopher R. Newman, 26, of Shelby, North Carolina, died Oct. 29, in Kabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. James M. Darrough, 38, of Austin, Texas, died Oct. 29, in Kabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. Carlo F. Eugenio, 29, of Rancho Cucamonga, California, died Oct. 29, in Kabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
  •  Sgt. Christopher D. Gailey, 26, of Ochelata, Oklahoma, died Nov. 1, in Paktia province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
  • Pfc. Sarina N. Butcher, 19, of Checotah, Oklahoma, died Nov. 1, in Paktia province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked her vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
  • Staff Sgt. Ari R. Cullers, 28, of New London, Connecticut, died Oct. 30, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade exploded near him.
  • 1st Lt. Dustin D. Vincent, 25, of Mesquite, Texas, died Nov. 3, in Kirkuk province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.

One Nation Under A Groove

Thanks, Funkadelic, for brightening up my afternoon!

*     *     *

Busy week (huge surprise there, eh?) – four days working at the office, including a day of racking new gear and helping to get the electrics run properly for the new gear. Friday was an appointment in the morning, followed by writing and coding for school. I’d been working on the final paper for the Social Gerontology class for a couple of weeks, and yesterday I finished it and submitted it. In the evening, I worked on the Java project that’s due on Sunday evening (or, confusingly, Monday, but I’ll go with Sunday – that’s safe). I just finished that up, including testing, documentation, etc. So I’m all caught up with the world at this moment. Yay!

Now I need to find a longer (or better shielded) audio jumper cable – the one I’ve got running to the Logitech gear from the windows box picks up noise from the ethernet cables. Shielded is *always* good, but longer would allow a route away from the noisemakers. So I’ll go with either if I have such in my stash.

Other tasks include cleaning out the front flower beds, cleaning up my filing system here in the home office, and cleaning up my woodshop. None of that sounds very exciting right now, so I’ll do something else, instead.

Their Sacrifice…

The goal is non-terrorist-friendly countries. Is our path the best way to that goal? Yea or nay, that’s a policy question. There’s no doubt that our men and women in uniform perform their duty at 110%, every day. Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. Paul A. Rivera, 26, of Round Rock, Texas, died Oct. 22, in Logar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered in a vehicle rollover during an attack by enemy forces.
  • Lance Cpl. Jordan S. Bastean, 19, of Pekin, Illinois, died Oct. 23 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Airmen 1st Class Jerome D. Miller Jr., 23, of Washington, D.C. died Oct. 13 due to a non-combat related incident in Parwan province, Afghanistan.
  • Pfc. Steven F. Shapiro, 29, of Hidden Valley Lake, California, died Oct. 21 in Tallil, Iraq.
  • Lance Cpl. Jason N. Barfield, 22, of Ashford, Alabama, died Oct. 24 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Capt. Shawn P. T. Charles, 40, of Hickory, N.C., died Oct. 23 in San Antonio, Texas, from a non-combat illness.
  • Sgt. Edward S. Grace, 39, of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, died Oct. 23 in Silver Spring, Md., from a non-combat illness.
  • Sgt. 1st Class David G. Robinson, 28, of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, died Oct. 25 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • Sgt. John A. Lyons, 26, of Seaside Park, New Jersey, died Oct. 26 in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.
  • Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Dunning, 31, of Milpitas, California, died Oct. 27 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

 

Real Snow (TM)

 

Snow. Sticking. October. Believe it.

Snow. Sticking. October. Believe it.

Had I said I was going to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve by decorating the whole DC Metro area for Christmas, they would have laughed at me.

The snow is still here, hours later, and the temps are dropping through freezing, so it’ll be here for a short while tomorrow, too. Wow, just wow! And our overall precipitation is around an inch and a quarter for the last 18 hours. We’re 3/4 of an inch away from 20 inches of rain in our back yard since Irene made landfall here in late August.

Snow? SRSLY?

 

First snow of Winter 2011-2012

First snow of Winter 2011-2012

First snow of Winter 2011-2012 – it ain’t much, and it ain’t sticking to anything, but I’m still impressed with the can-do attitude expressed by this weather system. We started off with rain in the middle of the night, and were just shy of an inch of rain today when it flipped over to the snow delivery system about an hour ago. Right now the occasional flake is still falling, and it’s hovering around 35-36°F (~1.5°C)…

I guess it’s a good thing I winterized the watering systems yesterday. We might get our first frost tonight, eh?

*     *     *

I made a big dent in the paper that’s due next Sunday – the organization and cited documents are all in place, and I’ve begun on the prose. I also want to get a head start on the Java project that’s due next week, but first it’s time to roast some coffee and bake some cookies! Ciao!

 

 

Healthy Choices

Tim O’Reilly twittled about a talk at a conference, regarding “systemic” change to cities and food choices to enhance health. Really? We can’t afford healthy, long-lived people! What this country needs is sick people, real sick people, people with low cost, short time-to-death diseases and infections. That’ll solve our employment problems and our long-term social welfare funding issues, all in one go. It won’t be as effective as the big rock from the sky with our name on it, but disease has the advantage of not damaging much in the way of physical infrastructure. Fewer people, faster commutes!

*     *     *

After the busy weekend, I had a long day Monday, too: 14 hours at the office. I could take the rest of the pay period off, and still be over on hours. But there’s too much work to do, I’d just fall further behind if I stayed away. The last couple of evenings have been eaten by schoolwork, catching up on 3 days missed due to work, and one new class starting. I’m learning to program in Java! So far, it’s a lot like C, except syntax heavy and slower.

I did validate a regular polygon area calculation algorithm by using an approximation of the unit circle (a 100-side regular polygon, sides of length 0.0314152965 – it matches to three decimal places. A 1000 side polygon matches to 6 decimal places). That’s fun!

Long Week

It’s been a very long week. A lot of work and planning went into two big multi-system transitions at the office. One took most of the day on Friday with follow-up work Saturday morning and today. The second was a bigger job, and we had most hands on deck from 5PM to nearly midnight last night. So far, everything seems to have come off as well as can be expected. Everything that didn’t come off according to plan had contingency planning already completed – our checklists were really good. Yeah … meetings are good for that. Sigh, I really didn’t want to say that.

I also got the lawns mowed, and most of the leaves in the front are mulched down into the lawn. Many of the trees in the back yard are still holding their leaves. The oak in the back corner is just now turning color:

The backyard oak tree is coming into fall color.

The backyard oak tree is coming into fall color.

It also turns out that sometime Lexi doesn’t want her picture taken. Unlike our Lucy, who was a camera hog, Lexi seems to often make an effort to not be a good photo subject, and other times tries to beat a slinking retreat:

Lexi retreats from the camera

Lexi retreats from the camera

*     *     *

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

  • Staff Sgt. Houston M. Taylor, 25, of Hurst, Texas, died Oct. 13, in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Spc. Michael D. Elm, 25, of Phoenix, Arizona, died Oct. 14 in Khowst, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Staff Sgt. James R. Leep Jr., 44, of Richmond, Virginia, died Oct. 17 in Babil province, Iraq.
  • Staff Sgt. Jorge M. Oliveira, 33, of Newark, New Jersey, died Oct. 19 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border, 31, of West Lafayette, Ohio, died Oct. 19 while assessing a route in Paktika province, Afghanistan.
  • 1st. Lt. Ashley I. White, 24, of Alliance, Ohio, died Oct.22, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked her unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer B. Domeij, 29, of San Diego, California, died Oct.22, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Pfc.Christopher A. Horns, 20, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, died Oct.22, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Sidewalks, Ringtones, and iOS5

Thoughtful neighbors fill the sidewalk with trashcans

Thoughtful neighbors fill the sidewalk with trashcans

Time for the last walk of the evening for Lexi. Up the street we go … and a couple of nights a week, we actually go up the street, rather than use the sidewalk, because some neighbors can’t help but block the way. I’ve even spoken to them about it, to no avail. Either they can’t remember that I asked, or they’re malevolent. Grrr. I really *want* to tip that stuff all over their lawn in response, but I’m too bloody nice to do that. They do the same thing, only more sprawled out, with bags of lawn clippings. Sigh.

*     *     *

So, iOS5.

After a bit of finagling, I got it installed on my iPhone 4 last week. I’ve been poking and plinking around the interface in my not-so-spare time, and finally discovered that you (and I) can assign ringtones as Alert sounds. Huzzah! It’s more than just the ability to do that, but now I can create custom loops and assign them to SMS alerts … which is good. The default Alert loops suck for waking me up in the middle of the night when I am on call. So now I have an Alert sound courtesy of The Who, and a default ringtone from Van Halen’s Eruption. Empirically, it appears that the loop length cutoff for using a ringtone as an alert is 30 seconds.

 

The Duty

A busy weekend – the second paper for the Social Gerontology class is submitted. We got down to the District yesterday, and saw the new Degas exhibition at the Phillips Collection. A very nice day, and great weather for wandering about. Marcia’s knee wasn’t too happy about that after the fact, more’s the pity. Today, mostly shopping and chores and whatnot.

 

*     *     *

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

Capt. Joshua S. Lawrence, 29, of Nashville, Tennessee, died Oct. 8, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade.

Capt. Drew E. Russell, 25, of Scotts, Michigan, died Oct. 8, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade.

Chief Warrant Officer James B. Wilke, 38, of Ione, California, died Oct.10, in Doha, Qatar.

Staff Sgt. Nathan L. Wyrick, 34, of Enumclaw, Washington, died Oct. 10 in Kandahar province.

Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Michael R. Tatham, 33, of University Place, Washington, was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident, Oct. 12, while on rest and recuperation leave from supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Bali, Indonesia.

Lance Cpl. Scott D. Harper, 21, of Winston, Georgia, died Oct. 13 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Robert B. Cowdrey, 39, of Atwater, Ohio, died Oct. 13 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered during combat operations.

Spc. Jeremiah T. Sancho, 23, of Palm Bay, Florida, died Oct. 13 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

School blues…

So, I took Monday off entirely. Well, almost entirely. A patch of ceiling needed primer, but other than that, I did nothing but read, relax, watch Mythbusters, and take care of the dog. That’s unusual for me – usually I take time off and break myself with chores and whatnot. So, that was different. Then, Monday night, Marcia returned from a four-day Michigan trip, where she had a good time.

However, we have a busy weekend planned, so I needed to knock out all of the school work, leaving precisely nothing to do later in the week. The last two days, I took a half day off each, and got all the reading, (virtual) classroom work, and the paper done. Yep, a five-pager is now done, I think. I just printed what I consider to be the final draft, and backed up the file. I’ll read it again tomorrow, and maybe change a word or three, then turn it in.

The downside of all this is that I’m really not enjoying the class. I’m not a social sciences kind of bloke. But this one or a class very much like it needed doing for the general education requirements, so here I am. Three and a half weeks to go in this course, and I’ll be taking a Java-based programming course in the latter half of this Fall session. That’ll be more interesting to me, I suspect.