13 March 2016

Friday the thirteenth falls on Daylight Stealing Time Sunday this month. Yay?

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A good week and a productive weekend. Yesterday I got the spring fertilizer down on the lawn (in time for today’s rain-in), and got the garden beds cleared of all the fall and over-winter cruft. I still have to turn over and amend the beds, but a start is a start, so I’ll take it. I also did some aggressive pruning of the crepe myrtles in the front of the house, and weeded some of the beds there, too. Today? Well, I’m a bit sore today.

And I was up before the crack of Daylight Stealing Time dawn to do a small amount of early remote work – putting monitoring systems into maintenance so that someone else could do their job without waking half the world with pager alerts. We broke our fast, then headed out to do the shopping.

This afternoon, I did my (speculative fiction) civic duty and got all of my Hugo nominations entered in. Why bother having the vote if you don’t use it. But because this is the Hugos, everyone who had a vote last year is the electoral equivalent of a delegate this year, too! So my nominating is done. If you love Science Fiction and/or Fantasy genre fiction, you should become a  member of WorldCon and nominate and vote! Note – to vote for the Hugo’s, you need to be a member of MidAmeriCon II this year. You needn’t attend – there’s a supporting membership option that is a quarter of the cost. I will point out that as a part of the Hugo Voting Packet, there’s usually MOST of the works that are up for the Hugos available to read. Purchased, that would come out to considerably more than the cost of the supporting membership. So a good deal all around for the fans and fannish. Yes, I’m a supporting member of MidAmeriCon II this year, as I was a supporting member of Sasquan last year.

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

6 March 2016

Not much to report – it’s not Spring yet, though it’ll be trending that way in the week to come, with temps in the mid-70’s.  We had a couple of inches of snow on Friday, though. Soon it’ll be time for the garden. So the days are getting longer, and the Sun is working its way north again, which means more sunning spots for Lexi, like this one in the front foyer:

Lexi sunning in the foyer

Lexi sunning in the foyer

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DoD announced no new casualties in the most recent week, for which I am grateful. Ciao!

Returns with a Vengeance

Summer, that is. We’re in a pattern of high heat and humidity right now, which makes working outside (and walking the dog) less than utterly pleasant activities. I strive, however, to not let that stop me. Today, after shopping and such, I managed a 3-gallon harvest out of the garden, much of which turned into the contents of these jars:

Mmmmm. Salsa.

Mmmmm. Salsa.

Yep, there’s still salsa coming out of the garden. It’s been winding down for a week or more, but there may be one more batch before the year’s production is done.

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My dance card was full last week because Marcia was travelling. She did an eight day trip to Michigan, spending time with family and going to a quilt show in Grand Rapids. She tells me she had a good time. I won’t know how good a time until I’ve seen the credit card bill, however (grin).

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DoD has reported no new casualties in the last few days. Ciao!

Tiring

It was a good week. I pulled out another five gallons of mostly tomatoes on Tuesday, and made a pot of red sauce with most of them. Others I took to work and assorted other Friends of Tomatoes. Then there was Saturday…

Saturday started off with Marcia having decided that since she had terrible luck fishing at Centennial  Lake, nearby, we should BOTH go, early on a Saturday. Early, in my case, meant waking up not before seven – it was a long week. So, out of the house before eight, and at the water’s edge casting by about 0830. This, however, pissed Marcia off righteously:

A small bass on my second cast

A small bass on my second cast

Yeah. Marcia still has caught nothing but weeds at Centennial, but now at least we know there’s fish there.

Once back home, a bit before noon, I got out into the back yard and pulled in TWO bloody five gallon buckets of mostly tomatoes. Here’s what the haul looked like after I’d washed it up:

Ten gallons of veggies

Ten gallons of veggies

The pyramid of larger tomatoes on the left has already been rendered into another full pot of red sauce, including sage, rosemary, and thyme (also from the garden). The only other ingredients in the pot of sauce are a couple of diced yellow onions and a head of garlic, minced, some olive oil, and about a teaspoon of salt. The whole house smells of delicious right now.

Last night was work: about five hours of supporting onsite network upgrades that got me home about 0245 this morning. But the work was, in the end, successful. So we’ve got that going for us.

Today: shopping, replacing a broken faucet, working on that red sauce, and still to come: a haircut.

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

Summer’s Back

After a couple of unusually cool weeks to start out July, we’re into Summer normal for the DC ‘burbs: 90’s for heat and humidity. Yesterday, silly me, I did yardwork anyway. That broke me, but I did get in another 5 gallon bucket of (mostly) tomatoes:

5 gallons of tomatoes, etc.

5 gallons of tomatoes, etc.

I think that’s going to end up being a red sauce. Time will tell.

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

Midsummer fun

Five Gallons of Veggies

Five Gallons of Veggies

That’s the big fun: I pulled a five gallon bucket of veggies out of the garden today. But … that’s the only fun. Busy bloody weekend is over, thankfully. Fixed a leaking fridge water feed, which now looks like this:

New fridge water feed

New fridge water feed

A ball valve and a copper feed pipe is much better than a vampire tap, a needle valve, and a plastic feed line. I got the leak stopped and water back on in the house by about 8:30 Friday evening. The water to the fridge was restored by Saturday mid-morning.

Thereafter, yard work on both days. I’m exhausted and ready to get back to work so that I can relax and recharge.

In other, most excellent news, it seems that Bloom County is returning to life. Huzzah!

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

More Rain

Well, not today, exactly. Nor yesterday, as such. But we had a pretty good storm roll through on Saturday. Sunday … (yes, yes, the day I forgot to post on, again. Sigh.) Sunday, I was talking to my folks, and realized that since we returned home from California in the waning days of May, some 31 days past, we’ve had 11.7 inches of rain. Our weather has been positively tropical. I’m looking for mahogany and teak trees to start growing before my very eyes!

We got a few more tomatoes out of the garden, about twenty HUGE FREAKING cucumbers, and what looks like the last of the zucchini. Weirdly, all of the zucchini plants look like they’re dying … and dying differently than prior years. Hmmm. I do expect to be making some salsa by the Fourth, however.

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No new casualties have been announced by DoD in the last eight days. Ciao!

Heat

Summer officially arrives next weekend. But so far as I can tell, it arrived this last week. 90+ degree temps, high humidity, big thunderstorms. Today, in fact, we had a storm line pass through that gave us a bunch of lightning and thunder, and 1.4″ of rain in 45 minutes. Note: Lexi really hates thunder. She spent the entire storm (and last night’s late storm) huddled against me, trembling.

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The garden is doing okay with this heat, though. I saw one tomato starting to turn color – that’s a good sign. Once I spot that, I’m usually about two weeks away from eating lots of yummy salsa, etc. Tonight, we had freshly killed broccoli from the garden, and tomorrow night, I’m expecting to pull out a bunch of zucchini.

Garden - 14 June 2015

Garden – 14 June 2015

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The surprise for me this Hugo season is The Goblin Emperor, a fantasy novel by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette). While I tend towards the harder, SciFi end of the speculative fiction genre spectrum, this Hugo-nominated work grabbed my attention and held it all the way through. I’m looking forward to the next installment in this series. If I were king-maker for the Best Novel Hugo, I think I’d have a tough time picking between this and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword. There’s still time to become a supporting member of Sasquan, and vote in this year’s Hugo balloting. Don’t fret about the ruckus. Just get the packet, read the works, vote for what you like. Given what’s in the Hugo packet, it’s $40 US well spent, any way you look at it. And if you’re a fan, you should support, read, and vote. You can ALSO pay the separate voting fee to become a supporting member (see the Site Selection tab on the Sasquan site) for the 2017 WorldCon, and vote for DC17. Just sayin’ …

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Krissie K. Davis, 54, of Talladega, Alabama, a member of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at Anniston, Alabama, and deployed to DLA Disposition Services Bagram as part of the civilian expeditionary workforce. She was killed on June 8, during an indirect fire attack on Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan.

 

Garden goodies

The garden is still just getting rolling. The tomato plants are all 2′ high or so, and the pepper plants have all been suffering through the last week of rain and cooler temps. The cucumbers and squash are trying to produce fruit. But while Marcia’s cousin Barb was visiting us over the last week, we did get to enjoy some broccoli out of the garden:

Broccoli from the garden

Broccoli from the garden

There’s not much else to report – I had a busy week dropping back into the groove at work, and spent a few hours today working on lawns and gardens. Oh, yeah, I stripped out all of the cilantro from the herb bed. It was volunteer from last year, and producing far to early to be useful for me in salsa, etc. So I cleared that section of the bed and replanted from harvested seed. It’ll be coming up again as the tomatoes come into full production, I think.

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

Vacation Over

So… the big deal is that we were in California for purposes of vacation and only vacation – 15 days worth. We visited family in the SF Bay Area, in San Diego, and near Sacramento. We visited friends in Saratoga (SF South Bay) and Dillon Beach (North coastal Marin). What a wonderful, wonderful trip. Oh, oh – AND I got to make it to Maker Faire Bay Area 10th Anniversary. That was fun and awesome, too. I could give you the full rundown on the trip, but it’s a lot like inviting you over and showing you slides, so I won’t. But it was a pleasant trip, and great to see everyone on one fell swoop. Here’s one glimpse of beauty – fog rolling east in the early morning, over the Berkeley hills:

Fog over the Berkeley hills

Fog over the Berkeley hills

We got home in time for two things:

One – The seventeenth anniversary of our wedding. That was yesterday. Seventeen years and I’m still giddy in love. Joy.

Two – A desire to have applied a fast-acting popular herbicide to my entire yard before departure. Yeah, I’ve been doing yardwork for three straight days. Mowing, weeding, pruning, weeding, etc. Both flower beds and garden beds. All my relaxation up in a puff of 90 degree days and high humidity, doing yardwork. Any weight I gained on travel is long gone.

The veggie garden is doing nicely, though:

Bilbrey Veggie Garden - 31 May 2015

Veggie Garden – 31 May 2015

That garden picture from “two weeks ago”? Yeah, that was a three-week old picture. I don’t like talking about travel until it’s done. I don’t do foursquare, either.

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On the subject of Science Fiction, I’ve managed now to get my Site Selection Voting Fee paid, and I’ve got my envelope set to mail in – Go DC17! See http://dc17.org/ and http://sasquan.org/site-selection/ for details. Paying and voting also gives you a supporting membership in the 2017 WorldCon, which, should it be in DC (Go DC17!), you could convert to an attending membership with the addition of more funds, and join in all the fun. It’d be a blast, and if it comes to DC (Go DC17!), I’ll be there, too! The least of attractions, surely, but I’d enjoy meeting any of y’all there.

Further, I’ve gotten the Hugo Nomination packet, and am working my way through the nominees. It’ll take me a while to read and vote. If I could trivially do so, I’d try to manage a blind reading and rating (no names attached), then vote the way my heart desires. But some things can’t be unseen, sadly. I’ll do my best to vote the work and not the personalities and politics. That’s what the Hugos are for.

Other factors can’t be ignored, either. For example, ESR is up for the Campbell this year (Note – the Campbell Award is NOT a Hugo). As Eric notes in his post Me for a Campbell Award? Huh? : “I’d probably say something encouraging about it being a solid, craftsmanlike first effort that delivers what its opening promises and suggests the author might be able to deliver quality work in the future.” I can but agree with that. Eric Raymond is one of my role models in a number of ways. But I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction over the last few decades, and much as I approve of Eric breaking into this field of endeavor, he’s not leader of this pack. OTOH, he’s not going to succumb to the politically popular “No Award” either, at least from me. On the gripping hand, I’m glad I read his story, and I’m looking forward to his future efforts.

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No new casualties have been announced by DoD in the last five days. Ciao!