10 April 2016

A good week, overall. I was on-call for the first half, which is tiring, even when nothing happens. Yep, I sleep a lot more lightly when responsibility requires it. But one week out of every few weeks ain’t bad – and our monitoring and remediation are in a state of continuous improvement, so we get far fewer alerts and calls than in years past. All to the good.

I also executed terminal retirement on a stack of former virtualization hosts. Spin down, uncable from last network connections and from the SAN, spin up again with a DBAN disk in the optical drive: boom. No more data. Some may be repurposed as a lab environment, but the decision hasn’t been taken yet.

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It was a fairly relaxing weekend, since the house is fairly clean, and it’s too darn cold to do any yardwork … Hey, did I mention that we had sleet, graupel, and snow on Saturday morning? Did I also mention that four days in the last week started off below freezing? So much for Spring. It had been warming up, and everything started to bloom, then BOOM: be cold and die, little plants! Good thing I’d not planted any veg in the garden yet, eh?

So we had Linda and Mike over to supper last night. Marcia made a wonderful, hearty, chicken stew, complemented by Asiago wheat bread and a green salad. Desert was a shortbread laden with blueberries. A good game of Ticket to Ride followed … good because against all odds, I won.

Both weekend days, I gave a few hours to playtime in the world of The Talos Principle (which I finished), and the Road to Gehenna DLC (which I started). Fun puzzle game: Recommended.

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I’m currently reading Cordwainer Smith’s The Rediscovery of Man collection, along with last month’s Strange Horizons. I finished up the April edition of Clarkesworld earlier in the week, too. And I’m continuing to work my way through Learning Ruby the Hard Way, 3E. I’ve been spending years getting just enough knowledge to get the job done, but I want some more depth on something, anything. So, before I work on a substantial project, best to begin at first principles. That’s what I’m doing.

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

27 March 2016

Boring, I’m sure. First mowing of the year, yesterday. The front lawn is looking lush – that’s normal for this time of year. Today, no shopping because the store was closed for Easter Sunday. But since Easter is also a sigil of Spring, I used the day to clean house. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than it was before I started.

Oh, oh, we saw a WONDERFUL Annapolis Shakespeare Company production of The Importance of Being Earnest. The excellent company cast was superbly directed by Founding Artistic Director Sally Boyett. It’s a great play, Oscar Wilde was such a joy as a writer and playwright. If you’re in our area, it’s on for just another couple of weeks and you really, really should go.

That’s really all I’ve got. I’m working on learning Ruby, because it’s been a long while since I’ve picked up a new language. It’s slower going than I’d like, frankly. But probably to be expected. Good to exercise the gray cells, no doubt.

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

17 March 2016

There once was a service called FandangoNOW, ah, Fucking Bastards, the company formerly known as M-GO. I logged into it once, because it was a featured service on our Roku box. As of this morning, I had neither purchased nor rented any content from M-GO. This is a good thing, because it appears that with the acquisition of M-GO by Fandango, you can either accept their new Terms and Privacy Policy (including the privacy policies of their corporate parents, NBC Universal and Warner Brothers), OR YOU, THE CUSTOMER, CAN GO TO HELL. Well, not HELL, as such. But if you’d “purchased” content from M-GO, but you assert that you cannot accept the conditions of the change of ownership … you lose access to anything you’ve purchased. In my opinion, that’s called theft, but then I’m an old-fashioned bloke. Here’s a quote from the exact text from the email I received last night:

If you prefer to opt out of these changes, click here and follow the instructions on the resulting page. If you opt out, we will remove your information from our database, including movies you have purchased.

Fucking bastards. Yes, I’ve had my information removed from their database, and I’m glad of it. But I’m glad that they didn’t get to steal any of my money from me in the process. I’m assuming that most people will just roll over on this sort of thing, but if they’re up front about being willing to deprive you of stuff you’ve paid for now, I’m willing to guess (and it’s just my opinion, mind you) that they’d do it to you again and again, in a heartbeat. Bend over, FandangoNOW customers.

In other news, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. May the Saint Piss Stale Beer All Over The FandangoNOW Business Plan.

14 Feb 2016

Happity Saint Valentine’s Day. Did y’all have a nice massacre?

To pre-celebrate the day, we went out to supper and the theatre last night. The show was Annapolis Shakespeare Company‘s production of Anton Chekov’s Three Sisters. It was a crowded main stage (20′ x 25’), between set dressing and at times all eleven cast members at once!

Three sisters is a melancholy and ever-so-slightly depressing drama about the titular sisters and their brother, trapped far from the desired Moscow in a semi-rural backwater of Russia. As the play opens, with their father the General dead a year past, the family’s slow slide into resentment, and the eventual acquiescence to their fates is just picking up speed. Well-played by Teresa Spencer, Olivia Ercolano, and Chelsea Mayo, the sisters Olga, Masha, and Irina, play off the poisonous Natasha (another excellent performance by  Renata Plecha) as she seduces their brother Andrei (James Carpenter) and slowly takes over their household. Natasha also is a barometer for the dreams of the sisters, large and small. From love to Moscow, all are dashed in the end. Even Brian Keith MacDonald’s fine portayal of Baron Tuzenbach, who remains stoutly optimistic in the face of all that turn of the century Russia doesn’t have to offer … well, no spoilers.

So you’d be surprised to hear me say that this cast made us laugh, from time to time. The wincing faces of Ms. Spencer and Ms. Mayo as they waited for their sister’s confession of her love for Colonel Vershinin (perfectly pompously played by Steven Hoochuk) had everyone giggling, as did the Colonel himself, from time to time. And to be sure, the blind optimism (or cynicism, in the case of Michael Reid’s Solyony) of some of the characters passed straight through tragic and into comedy. This did for me what a good, well-staged and excellently acted play should do – I cared about the characters and their fates, even when the outcomes were so clearly written in the stars. Highly recommended!

We’ve got our tickets for the next few productions lined up, too! Importance of Being Earnest as well as Romeo and Juliet are upcoming.

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

13 Dec 2015 – Wonderful

It’s a Wonderful Life – staged as a 40’s radio play – was presented in properly wonderful fashion by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company for our amusement this afternoon. We decided to hit the matinee instead of an evening performance because, frankly, I’m still recovering a bit from last weekend’s fun. But I’m at 90%, and took great joy in ASC’s 110% performance this afternoon. George Bailey’s story is one that many people know from the marvelous 1946 movie with Jimmy Stewart. I loved this live production directed by Jay Brock, which featured Kevin Alan, Sally Boyett, Nick DePinto, Rob McQuay, and Teresa Spencer. This show brought fresh life to the story for me, along with the requisite laughter and some scenes where something must have gotten in my eyes… If you’re local, just follow the link at the front of this paragraph, buy tickets for the show before it ends in early January, and go!

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I made it back to work on Wednesday, then overdid it with nearly a 12 hour day on Thursday, supporting other folks at a different site, over a long, painful, but ultimately successful day. I’ve got a long list, and a lot of focus needed, to get specific things done during the work week upcoming, before I take a couple of weeks off work. I’ll be local and available for problems and emergencies. But my goal is to whittle away much of my outstanding vacation time before I lose it to end-of-year accounting. Wish me luck.

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DoD has announced no new casualties over the last week. Ciao!

2015 Nov 22

This last week, we saw a brand new play, Poe, staged at the Reynolds Tavern by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company. An excellent show, good food, and a wonderful evening. How can I tell that a new play is wonderful? It leaves me wanting to know more about the subject, and in awe of the actors plying their trade. The 1747 Pub in the basement of the Reynolds tavern is a great place for the work, too. Only two more nights, this week, so go if you can! We also had Linda and Mike over to supper and a game of Ticket to Ride last night. Otherwise it was a normal, if busy, week catching up from my conference week. Nothing too exciting to report.

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

Central Time

Me, I’d set every clock to UTC, and just work with it. Marcia would, however, balk at the idea. Yep. DST is over for the “year” but they A) paid back the hour without interest, as usual, and B) are going to steal it back again in just a few months. Sigh.

Fun: We went over to see the Annapolis Shakespeare Company production of As You Like It on Friday evening. It was a blast. I’ve seen two or three productions of As You Like It over the decades, but they’ve generally been fairly traditional stagings. Not that I’m knocking that. Compared to some interpretations, traditional is most excellent. However, Director (and ASC founder) Sally Boyett put together a lively production set in 1930’s Appalachia, with period specific (and play appropriate) musical interludes between many of the scenes. It made for a rollicking good show, while not sacrificing any (well, not much) of the Bard’s original language. We both enjoyed the show immensely, and plan to be regulars at future ASC performances. Highly Recommended!

Hallowe’en has come and gone. We kept the lights off, which keeps the dog much, much calmer and happier. Pleasantly, we found while walking the dog today that not much in the way of candy or discarded wrappers were strewn about. A departure from prior years, but one that is welcome.

Speaking of Lexi, here she is in a recent photo, paying attention to the world and not to me:

Lexi on "Relaxed Guard" duty

Lexi on “Relaxed Guard” duty

Now if we can only keep the kids on dirt bikes from abusing our trails and roads (and keep those kids from getting themselves killed by inattentive drivers). I got a picture of some of them yesterday, and posted it to our neighborhood website, in hopes that the parents in question would observe and take action. We’ll see what happens. Next for me, a rocker for the front porch, so that I can shout at people walking near our lawn.

And yeah, I’m still waiting for my car. If I’m lucky, it’ll be before the end of this week.

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DoD posted no new casualty announcements over the last week. Ciao!