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.

Where’s the beef?

No potato famine here!

No potato famine here!

Who needs beef when there are fresh potatoes? Okay, I do … but not tonight. I just finished harvesting out the rest of the potatoes (25 pounds worth), bringing the grand total return for 10 half-potatoes plunked into the ground in April up to 40 pounds. Holey Moley!

Miles Per Gallon

I may like summer least among all the seasons (except for the output of the garden), but my car loves summer. As long as I can keep the windows down and the air conditioning off, I’m doing nearly 53 miles per gallon in the Prius, according to the data from my Sunday fill-up. A week of driving without side trips costs about 10 bucks. That would have run me 25 to 30 dollars in the 4 Runner.

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Tonight was the monthly LOPSA meeting – the speaker was a former (he claims to be former, anyway) penetration tester with a decade of fun gigs under his belt. Topics ranged from ease of physical plant penetration to HB Gary, Anonymous, and Lulz. Technical details of the relative security merits of VPN design, MitM attacks against SSL,  and lousy automated registrars and Certification Authorities tied the evening up nicely. I’m going to be crying about what I learned this evening for a long, long time.

[[ This also serves as a reminder-to-self that I want to get a LOPSA link in the right hand margin one of these days Real Soon Now. ]]


Garden Ka-boom

First things first: Happy Birthday, USA!

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Okay, not *really* ka-boom in the Mythbusters C4 sense, but more like the garden is exploding with growth and veg. I took this shot right after harvesting out a bunch of cucumber, and before applying the weekly dose of Neem Oil to discourage bugs and disease.

Garden explosive growth

Garden explosive growth

The output of the garden seems like it’s going to be prodigious this year. Just look at two days worth of cucumber harvest, plus a couple of zucchini that did not make it into last night’s supper:

Zucchini and (mostly) cucumber

Zucchini and (mostly) cucumber

Now I’ve got more chores to do, and school work, too, to stay ahead of the game. Marcia’s doing some consignment sewing, today.


In the style of Jepoardy

It is pumped from the ocean bottoms to the top of the spill mountains.

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Zidane is dead. Today we (and by we I mean Greg) has finally had the plug pulled on the third (or second) iteration of a box that we (and by we, I mean both of us) hosted assorted sites for us and friends and associates. The take barely paid for the box, but overall it was both a worthy and worthwhile endeavor. I know I became a better system administrator through working on the system, and got a fair taste of the joys of running a Hell Desk.

This place is easy to admin: keep the updates in place and do backups. The email, courtesy of Google, is as spam-free as I’ve had in twenty years. I’ll never complain of that. Someone was asking about the advisability of trusting the Goog. I replied that they probably already had the email, they might as well store it, too. I still keep an IMAP server running here at home, and that has copies of everything I want to preserve.

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No, I don’t know what brought the question to mind that prompts the Jeopardy answer. But I had to get it out of my head, and yours is a perfectly good place to store it until I need it again.

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Yesterday was house-cleaning. Not the whole bloody thing, just the hardest part – the main floor. I’ll possibly do the second floor tomorrow. Today was shopping and school work. I got a draft version of my first database class project done and sent in for review by late afternoon. Tonight, thunder and lightning and a delicious turkey and zucchini dish delectably concocted by my lovely Marcia. Now the fireworks are starting up in the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. Lexi hates the thunder, but the fireworks appear only to anger her.

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Oh, yeah. Last bit of news for now: First tomato! A cherry tomato was ripe enough to pluck from the vine, cleave in two, and share with SWMBO. We were both happy. First tomato is the harbinger of many tomatoes, which makes me very happy indeed. Ciao!

Wild and Crazy Guy

Some of you may remember the Festrunk brothers, from the gilded age of Saturday Night Live. This is not my life. I’ve just spend my Friday evening leading into a three day weekend on What-If analysis and Pivot Tables in Excel.

Lexi on guard

Lexi on guard



While I’m studying, Lexi spends a lot of time either watching the world or sleeping on the ottoman/storage bench I made for Lucy a few years back. But every once in a while I turn my head to find her sitting up and staring into a relatively blank corner of my office. I sure hope she doesn’t see dead dogs…

Sleepy time.


More bonanza from the back yard

Potatoes, zucchini, and cucumber

Potatoes, zucchini, and cucumber

Hey! We just got 6/100″ of rain! It’s been bloody dry around here – the only green grass is near the flower and garden beds.

Isn’t that a nice-looking bowl of potatoes? I sliced up one of those, a zucchini, some garlic, and a pepper out of the garden, sautéed all of that in olive oil, and called it supper. Yum! I also have already roasted a pound of some Kenyan coffee beans this evening. The roaster lives in a vent hood I built that exhausts out the basement window. The exhaust is mobile; It doesn’t stay in the window.

Brian's coffee roasting setup

Brian's coffee roasting setup

Now, on with the schoolwork. Ciao!

Registration not required

We’ll see how comments go when registration isn’t required. I’m getting registrations from Poland, which frankly feels like a spamming setup to me, so wait and see. Oh, I’ve deleted those Polish registrations, and I’m going to setup registration moderation. Logins make it easier for posting for registered users, and I still recommend that for people that care to comment.

Be well, as Syroid used to say.

Still choices

I first posted this as a comment over on Bob’s new Daynotes Journal, but I’m going for more feedback.

dSLR cameras … I’m teetering on the brink of moving up to dSLR, and frankly I don’t want to go in at the entry level. I figure I’ll outgrow a beginner dSLR long before its useful lifespan, and I’m a reasonably quick study.

Right now, I’m interested (I think) in one of these two configurations:

Nikon D7000 body with two lenses

    • Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens
    • Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR

Pentax K-5 body with two lenses

    • Pentax 21987 DA 35mm f/2.4 AL Lens
    • Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED Lens

I’m leaning towards the Nikon, but I’m interested in contrary opinions and lense recommendations. I could always go for the kit lenses to start, and add a 35mm prime later. Note that I don’t have any legacy SLR gear, so there’s nothing to keep me from picking any particular brand.

I will probably get extra batteries, memory cards, etc. But the big stuff I can use advice on.

Bob said (in part):

I’d suggest you buy more on features than on brand, but even there these three are pretty competitive. Do consider features that are still not universal, such as live-view, XDR, and so on. Also, I’d start with the standard kit lens (18-to-55mm or whatever) and the 50-to-200mm telephoto zoom. Between those two, you should be well covered. And, although 35mm is pretty much what 50mm used to be on 35mm SLRs, most people who want a fast lens find that a fast short telephoto is more useful. For example, I had a 50mm f/1.4 “normal” lens for my 35mm Pentax SLRs, but I found the 85mm f/1.8 to be much more useful for low-light shooting. It also makes an excellent “portrait” lens.

I can buy the body-only D7000 and the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II together for only about $300 more than the D7000 with the kit lens, since there’s a $250 discount on the lens when purchased with the camera. That’s a good deal, and I might still go for the 35mm for indoor/low light work since it’s a lot faster.

I’m heading back to dpreview for more research, and look at comparable Canon’s too.

Afghanistan claims more blood

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

  • Spc. Scott D. Smith, 36, of Indianapolis, Indiana, died June 17 at Khowst province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident.
  • Pfc. Brian J. Backus, 21, of Saginaw Township, Michigan, died June 18, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Pfc. Gustavo A. Rios-Ordonez, 25, of Englewood, Ohio, died June 20 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. James W. Harvey II, 23, of Toms River, New Jersey, died June 20 in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Alvin A. Boatwright, 33, of Lodge, South Carolina, died June 18 in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered during a vehicle roll-over.
  • Sgt. Edward F. Dixon III, 37, of Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, died June 18 in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered during a vehicle roll-over.
  • Staff Sgt. Alan L. Snyder, 28, from Blackstone, Massachusetts, died June 18 in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered during a vehicle roll-over.
  • Spc. Tyler R. Kreinz, 21, of Beloit, Wisconsin, died June 18 in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered during a vehicle roll-over.
  • Lance Cpl. Jared C. Verbeek, 22, of Visalia, California, died June 21 from wounds received while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Pfc. Joshua L. Jetton, 21, of Sebring, Florida, died June 20 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Spc. Levi E. Nuncio, 24, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, died June 22 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Cpl. Gurpreet Singh, 21, of Antelope, California, died June 22 from wounds received while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Spc. Nicholas C. D. Hensley, 28, of Prattville, Alabama, died June 24, in Landstuhl, Germany from injuries sustained in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on June 15 when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.