29 May 2024

Almost 26 Years

Tomorrow is our 26th anniversary, Marcia and I. It’s been joyous, occasionally challenging, and all wonderful. Yay, us!

Catching up

Georgia has been standing in the water a lot – this is her normal routine at the 3/4 mark on our daily walk.

black on white american bully mix rescue dog, standing chest deep in pond
Georgia standing in the reservoir

Spring has been springing – lots of stuff has been coming into bloom. The lilies are coming up, the roses are pending, the lilac smells wonderful…

Small cherry tree in bloom
Small cherry tree in bloom in our front yard

Time to go fishing – We put the boat in the water a couple of weeks ago, and have made it out fishing a couple of times already. On Sunday last, we both caught some bass…

Small mouth bass caught at the lake,  shoreline and boat motor in background
Small mouth bass, caught then released

And that’s the highlights of the last few weeks. It’s been busy.

20 April 2024

Quick Takes

  • Georgia Aileen, the american bully rescue mutt, is whuffling and twitching on her bed here in my office/foyer. It’s a good life, I think, being the dog that owns Marcia and I.
  • I pre-ordered Robin Sloan’s next book, Moonstruck, this evening. I *think* I have everything he’s written, and I enjoy the hell out of his premises, his characters, and his writing style.
  • Looking back in email searching for something else, I came across something I wrote to Jerry Pournelle back in December 2011:

Congress is a bunch of loons whose only concern is where the money is coming from for the next election. Yeah, there are occasional principled and knowledgeable folks there, but follow the money.  Who goes to jail and who doesn’t? 

The record companies are said to rob their artists blind … and no one cares one whit. Their old business model has gone the way of the buggy whips, and their response? Artists sue for not getting paid, and the companies sue the fans of the artists. My only real thought on your comments below is that suing your customers is a great way to ensure that when you’re done, you don’t have any customers. 

Use guilt? Sure. Market the hell out of yourself online and in the social media scene. There’s plenty of folks making a living doing just that. This includes former nobodies like Pomplamoose and Zoe Keating and Robin Sloan, and well-established authors like Gaiman and Scalzi.

And it’s pertinent to this conversation that it’s TRIVAL to get a copy of nearly anything today. So, on a purely technical basis, I need never pay for content again. I pay for books and music to support the artists and creators who do the work I love.

Those who won’t pay, mostly never would. You can make it so difficult to use a DRM copy that you make legitimate customers run screaming, and it won’t stop the “piracy” for a moment. And while we’re at it, let’s not keep helping the bastards by framing the argument in terms of assault  by ship on the high seas.

It’s silly to argue that every unpaid copy is a lost sale, but that’s what the BSA and the MafiAA  would have our legislators believe. But for our bought and paid representatives, it’s polite to at least pretend to believe in the people who fund your next campaign. And that “pretend” is what gets turned into sausage. Errr, law.

  • There was a .signature quote from another email I glanced at:

My favorite yoga pose is the one where I stand upright, watching the class through the window while eating a cheeseburger. — @shazzz_lee

  • Finally, I broke the shorts streak this week – it was cold and raining today, so back on with the jeans for walking the dog … but she still went and walked into the reservoir when we got to that point in the journey. Yay, dogs.

19 April 2024

More Catch-up

So … we were in California last week. Sadly not for fun, but to lay my mother to rest. She passed in late February after a short battle with leukemia. It wasn’t expected, because the meds were moving her blood work in the right direction, but in the end, we think her heart gave out. She was wonderful, caring, sharp as a tack, and interested in just about everything. I’m missing her terribly. While it was lovely to see all the family, everyone in town to console each other, I wish it had been for just about any other reason.

There. That’s enough of that for here.

Shorts Week

So, still in the 30’s and occasional high 20’s (F) overnights, but I’ve set the jeans aside – it’s shorts weather every day now, including the dog walks (as long as it’s mid 40’s and up when we start the walk – I warm up quickly at our pace). At about the 3/4 point on the walk, we get to the reservoir, and Georgia walks right in:

Georgia, an american bully mix rescue dog, black on white, standing in the water at the edge of the nearby reservoir.
Georgia standing in the water

And spring is springing – the first crocuses are pitching up their flowers. Then first the yellow, then the white daffodils started opening. Spring flower season in our front yard is fun.

Crocuses blooming - light and dark ... purple?
Crocuses blooming in the front yard at our house

That’s all I’ve got for y’all today. Back again soon, I hope.

24 March 2024

A Boston Song (aka Long Time)…

I got a wellness check email from the estimable Rick Hellewell recently, which brought to mind just how long it’s been since I was here. Let’s just say, it’s not you, it’s me.

As I noted in my reply, I’ve been hideously busy with work, which I can’t really discuss publicly. And some family stuff has been going on and distracting, which I won’t discuss publicly. So the things that have consumed most of my mental energy don’t currently have a place here. I haven’t had time for much in the way of interesting fun things to share, so this just dropped off the radar for me for a while.

Maybe I’ll just post with some more regularity, but on trivial outtakes for a while, to try to get back in the groove. Wish me luck.

From early last month – Georgia and her cousin Raven hanging out in a patch of sunshine in our dining room:

Georgia (black on white, american bully mix) and Raven (black lab)
Georgia and Raven

From earlier this month – Georgia watching television, as dogs will:

Georgia (black on white, american bully mix)
Georgia watching something on Discovery streaming

From today, a couple of views of yesterday’s snowstorm output:

Snow covered landscape, dog prints on snow in foreground.
Snow covered landscape view east from our house, planter boxes in foreground, fields and distant ridgeline.
The view from my home office (aka, the foyer)

The snow was supposed to be 20″ plus of fluffy stuff, but about 8-10 inches in, it switched over to sleet/ice/rain for a couple of hours, creating a thick, crunch layer. Then we had a bit more snow before the event ended overnight. Not super fun to clear. Good thing my snow blower works and is substantial.

9 December 2023

Snow days

Snow days don’t really matter much unless the storm takes out the power and the internet, these days. What snow days do is make everything prettier … and slightly more difficult. Everything is an exercise in dressing appropriately for the task and the wind and the temperature.

Last Sunday night, it started snowing right around sundown. We were due for 4.5 inches or so ending mid-Monday morning. Instead we finished up with around 6 inches early in the afternoon, then another inch or so that night. Here’s my Monday morning (12/4/2023) view from my office window:

Snowy view east from our house, fields and brush all coated.
Snowy view east from our house

The snow was heavy enough that I used the machine instead of shoveling, late morning on Monday. I did, however, shovel out some walking and bio-break spots for the dog on the front yard. Through the week, Georgia and I did make it out each day on abbreviated walks, only a mile and a half or so, I had to break out my snow and ice cleats, it gets treacherous pretty quickly:

Georgia the rescue american bully mix dog, in her safety orange vest, on a tree-lined trail, everything covered in snow.
Georgia scouting ahead.
Georgia the rescue american bully mix dog, in her safety orange vest, on our way though one of the quarry areas, snow-covered granite blocks in the middle distance.
Georgia trying to figure out the ATV tracks

The other treacherous bit was the bitingly low temps for this early in the season. Overnights dropped hard into the single digits: 9°, 8°, 5°, 4° – that was Monday through Thursday night lows. Since then it’s warmed a little bit, but not much – we got all the way up to freezing yesterday. Today we got up to the mid-30’s, and Georgia went walking out on one of the smaller, shallower frozen ponds on our walk today.

Be well.

23 November 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s t-shirt weather outside, midday today. We hope you have a lovely holiday. But here’s what it looked like yesterday morning…

Snow, 1" or less, on front walk and yard, first of the season.
First real snow of 2023

Might as well get used to posting black & white pictures for the next few months…

10 October 2023

Busy Times

We’ve had family visiting in the past few weeks. First Marcia’s brother and his wife, then Marcia’s niece and her family (hubby and three kids). It was hectic, and fun. We went to the local Common Ground Fair (pricy, crowded … meh). We went for lobster on the coast (or, in my case, bacon-wrapped scallops), and we did some fishing. Then with the second group: cook outs, a family party, and fishing. A reasonably good time was apparently had by all, including us. Georgia, the rescue mutt, did pretty well with all the hustle and bustle, too.


The fishing this year was good. Not great, but we’re getting better at it with practice as one might expect. We’re better at finding the fish, and tricking them into biting. Now if only we had time for more time on the water.

This last weekend was the last fishing weekend of our year. Saturday was a rain-out, in every sense of the term. My back porch rain gauge measured 3.5″ over about 16 hours. Yeah. So Sunday early I headed over to the lake to empty the bilge on our yacht. Oddly, 3.5″ of standing water in the bottom of the boad. So after emptying the bilge, as I was already there, I got out on the water and spent a few hours fishing. Caught a couple of fish just like bass, only smaller (less than 1#), had a good one on the line but it jumped and thrashed and threw the bait/hook off. Sigh. The fishing is done.

On Monday (Indigenous Peoples / Columbus Day = a Federal holiday that my work observes), after coffee and dog walks, Marcia and I wrangled the boat up to the Monmouth public ramp, loaded it onto the trailer, and drove to the house. There I did some maintenance, including replacing the windscreen that got shattered by a drop shot weight earlier in the year. (Yes, by me!)

Our fishing boat in the driveway, after I replaced the starboard windscreen.
Our fishing boat in the driveway, after I replaced the starboard windscreen.

Then I drove the boat up to Waterville, where it’ll get serviced, have a couple of glitches fixed, and they’ll store it indoors for us for the winter.

Speaking of Winter

Yeah, winter is coming. I expect our first evening in the 30’s (F) one night this week. The pellet stove is coming on for a few hours over night now. And the leaves are robustly expressing their opinion of the situation:

Leaves on a couple of trees turning red, reflected in a small pond between the camera and the trees.
Color season in the Northeast…

Meantime, it’s also the time of year when I regularly get lovely sunrises at a time when I’m awake and can appreciate them. Through most of the summer, sunrise is just too early. But now it’s just at the start of my day.

Red clouds in the sky, just before sunrise.
Red sky in the morning…

Lovely, innit? Yep, just a reminder that’s the view out of my home office window (aka the foyer of our home).

See y’all again soon…

11 June 2023

Moist Spring

It’s been gray and raining far more often than not these last few weeks. Nothing ever really dries out. Not me, not the dog. We got the boat out of storage on a Saturday in early May … immediately followed by 3.6 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. Everything flooded. Bits of docks were floating away. It was two or three weeks before things stabilized and we could put our boat in the water. We’ve been out a few times, caught a few small bass and a monster of a great northern pike that I got to the boat, but it came off the lure before I could land it.

Last week I finally got about 36 hours without much rain, and re-mowed the front yard – the property was looking abandoned, which isn’t a good look. Now the lawn is flat, the tulips and daffodils have come and gone, but the rhododendrons are stunning this year.

Front yard pink rhododendrons in full bloom
Front yard rhododendrons in full bloom

Now if only it would warm up and dry up. So of course the forecast for Tuesday through Friday is rain. And other than a couple of warm days, we’ve left the pellet stove plugged in and it’s been running itself from middle of the night to mid-morning nearly every day (about a bag of pellets every 3-4 days) – not a warm start to the late-spring / early-summer season, either.

Still, the rains have keep the smoke and particulates that afflicted much of New England (and other aread) from affecting us at all. So, upside, there.

Have a good Summer. I’ll try to get better about posting from time to time.

19 April 2023

Weather or Not…

Nearly three weeks ago, the (perhaps) last snow of the season came and went. (I’ve doomed us, now.) Friday last, it was in the high 70’s (F) hereabouts, shorts and tshirt while walking the dog. This week, we’ve been back down in the mid-thirties overnight most night, and might approach freezing again a few times.

That said, I’ve arrange for us to pick up the boat from winter storage at the end of the month (I’ve doomed us, again). The weather doesn’t look auspicious for early May fishing yet, but if the boat isn’t out, there’s no hope at all.

Weird Dog

I’ve said it before, but Georgia is weird. She certainly watches television, which none of our other dogs have. While she often does respond actively to pets and wildlife onscreen, she’s also often content to just watch whatever’s on. In this case, the Great British Bake Off (err, “Baking Show”, sorry Pillsbury)…

Rescue dog watching television, resting her head on the arm of the futon.
Georgia watching Paul Hollywood on #GBBO
Georgia reclining on the futon sofa, watching Great British Bake Off
Georgia watching Suri make marzipan on #GBBO

So much weird.

19 March 2023

Our Weird Dog

Hunting season is long past, but Georgia Aileen and I stay in orange, me to make us easier for drivers to spot and avoid when we’re walking along the road to our trails, and Georgia so that I can find her when she’s more than twenty feet away in the snow and shadows…

Black on white rescue dog in an orange vest on a snowy tree-laden trail.
Without her orange vest, Georgia is a fully camo winter dog.

When it’s TV time in the late afternoon and early evenings, Georgia continues to watch TV with us. So much more than any other dog we’ve had.

Black on white rescue dog sitting on futon sofa watching television.
Georgia watching television.

A normal weekend day

Well, normal-ish – it’s also production patch Sunday. So I was up with Georgia at 0630. Got the coffee started, then took the dog outside for her morning ablutions, then she got a treat. By quarter to seven, I was at my desk, signed in and doing prep for production Linux patching (remote). All that, and documenting the first phase of the work was about an hour.

Then Georgia and I went in to wake Marcia. Everyone had breakfast. Then I started in on the next round of patching activities. That took about another hour. Thereafter, Georgia and I went on our usual morning walk: about two miles up to the brush piles, around the trail and up to the local reservoir, then back home – about 45 minutes.

I sat and did the email and news online routine for a short while, then on to house chores. I turned off the pellet stove, so it could cool. In the basement, I did the periodic (every 5-6 weeks) coffee roaster cleaning, and ran water in the fixtures that don’t see much use (keeps the traps full of water and the sewer/septic gas out of the house).

Next chore, split and stack another couple of weeks of firewood for the downstairs wood stove. That was about an hour and a half. Final big chore of the weekend was cleaning/vacuuming the main floor pellet stove. We have a dedicated vacuum for that (steel canister, steel hose, etc, in case of live embers). 45 minutes put paid to that task. At which point my energy was … drained.

That’s not an unusual list – sometimes it’s cleaning, sometimes (in warmer months) it’s mowing, etc. But I’m glad to be able to be here and doing the things to maintain our home and our comfort.

Be well.