Passages

Thursday: Oh, right, you heard from me on Thursday, at least to show you the yummy chili.

Friday: Work, then I wrote that 600 word paper that came out to 840 or so words, and turned it in. Shortly thereafter, I noticed that the instructions didn’t just say must be 600 words, but also included the “must not be over 800 words” category. Really? The prose that described the topic to be addressed was 534 words. Why can’t I use as many words as I want? F#@(*U&. So I pulled the paper back, then edited down to 783 words, by dropping some impactful but ultimately unnecessary verbiage from from the introductory paragraph. It no longer read as well, but it was under the arbitrary limit.

Saturday: I weeded and mowed in front and in back. About 4 hours worth, for the first time in over a month. We’ve been getting a bit of rain recently, and the lawns had transitioned from mostly dead to zombie:Mostly dead, but with a mullet of green here and there.

Sunday: Shopping and cooking, mostly.  A bit of catch-up reading from the 18″ tall stack of periodicals that have accumulated while this database class took every non-paid waking moment. Supper (chili, duh) with Linda and Marcia, and an episode from Season 5 of Babylon 5. And in other good news, I got all the available points for that paper.And now we’re caught up.

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The duty: I’m unhappy about this. It’s going to be an f’ed up week, with that chopper downed eight days ago… Our condolences to the families and units of these forty one fallen warriors:

Sgt. Daniel J. Patron, 26, of Canton, Ohio, died Aug. 6 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Adan Gonzales Jr., 28, of Bakersfield, California, died Aug. 7 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Joshua J. Robinson, 29, of Omaha, Nebraska, died Aug. 7 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Alessandro L. Plutino, 28, of Pitman, New Jersey, died Aug. 8 in Paktia province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, California, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Arkansas, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Connecticut, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Massachusetts, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, West Virginia, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Michigan, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, California, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, North Carolina, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Nebraska, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Florida, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, California, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minnesota, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colorado, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kansas, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Nebraska, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Washington, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kansas, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Florida, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, California, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pennsylvania, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott, 23, of Manchester, New Jersey, died Aug. 10 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Hospitalman Riley Gallinger-Long, 19, of Cornelius, Oregon, died Aug. 11 while conducting a dismounted patrol in the Marjah district, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Edward J. Frank II, 26, of Yonkers, New York, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Spc. Jameel T. Freeman, 26, of Baltimore, Maryland, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Spc. Patrick L. Lay II, 21, of Fletcher, North Carolina, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Spc. Jordan M. Morris, 23, of Stillwater, Oklahoma, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Pfc. Rueben J. Lopez, 27, of Williams, California, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Down to the wire

Summer session is wrapping up for me pretty quickly. Final assignments for both classes are due this weekend, so I’m taking a day off work to work on school. I’ve got to do a PowerPoint (blargh!), and normalize a data set, as well as write a 600 word paper. In a perfect, undistracted world, I could accomplish all that today. I hold out hope…

The Fall session starts for me in mid-September, with a course on Gerontology, which fulfills one of the remaining general education requirements. I finally got around to buying the book today, and the list price aged me considerably: $157.00! Seriously? I guess that’s how much you have to charge for the book you write when you’ve got a PhD in Gerontology and no real other source of income, eh?

Something In The Air Tonight…

No, not the Phil Collins song, although I like that a lot, too. But I as I sit here in the family room with this airy bit of fluff that is nearly the fastest computer I have, I am pretty damned pleased. I liked the MBP when I got that a few years ago, but at that time, the Air was still a year away from introduction. When it came out, it was gorgeous and light … but underpowered in almost every measurable way.

Today’s Air is a powerhouse. Seriously. It’s not got enough moxie to be a decent virtual machine host, but as a standalone box, light and capable, I am pretty impressed.

Thoughts on Lion: I can dig it. There are some interesting UI decisions that Apple made, such as doing away with spaces (as such) and having apps that go to full screen. The most impactful change is the scrolling activity. My brain has been wired to use scroll bars on a computer for approximately ever. But using the inverted scroll worked well for me almost from the first day. It’s a natural small-screen (phone) action, and it turns out to be a natural for multi-touch touchpad use, too.

Now Marcia is home and we’re going to finish watching Holmes Inspection. Ciao!

The True Cost

The true cost of this war is in the lives our our men and women who die doing their duty. This is a debt that we can never repay, yet we keep “raising the ceiling.” Our condolences to the families and units of these fallen warriors:

Sgt. William B. GrossPaniagua, 28, of Daly City, California, died July 31 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Pfc. Brice M. Scott, 22, of Columbus, Georgia, died July 31 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

Staff Sgt. Leon H. Lucas Jr., 32, of Wilson, N.C., died Aug. 1 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Patrick R. Dolphin, 29, of Moscow, Pennsylvania, died July 31 while supporting combat operations in Herat province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Dennis E. Kancler, 26, of Brecksville, Ohio, died July 31 while supporting combat operations in Herat province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Christopher M. Wrinkle, 29, of Dallastown, Pennsylvania, died July 31 while supporting combat operations in Herat province, Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Kirk A. Owen, 37, of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, died Aug. 2 in Paktia province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Spc. Barun Rai, 24, of Silver Spring, Maryland, died Aug. 3 in Logar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover.

Pfc. Cody G. Baker, 19, of Holton, Kansas, died Aug. 3 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Pfc. Gil I. Morales Del Valle, 21, of Jacksonville, Florida, died Aug. 3 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Capt. Waid C. Ramsey, 41, of Red Bay, Alabama, died Aug. 4 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked with small arms fire.

Sgt. Anthony Del Mar Peterson, 24, of Chelsea, Oklahoma, died Aug. 4 in Paktia province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.

Sgt. Daniel D. Gurr, 21, of Vernal, Utah, died Aug. 5 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Spc. Jinsu Lee, 34, of Chatsworth, California, died Aug. 5, in Kunar province, Afghanistan.

Spc. Mark J. Downer, 23, of Warner Robins, Georgia, died Aug. 5, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade.

OMG, Tomatoes!

Tomatoes much?

Tomatoes much?

Yeah, forty or more pounds of tomatoes out of the garden today. And that was after a morning and early afternoon spent working with Marcia restructuring her sewing and fabric rooms. Tired now: I made gallon of salsa, and started another lobster pot of red sauce. Last weeks was down enough to transfer to another pot. I’ll be freezing that batch tomorrow, and cooking down the new batch, too.

But I’ve *got* to do some schoolwork tomorrow, too. I wanted to mow, as well, but I’m running out of hours and days … less than 18 months if all goes to plan, then school is done. Whew. Whoops! Time to walk the little dog for her last outing of the day. Ciao!

 

Agog, Shiny

Shiny is actually an attribute of the new machine, henceforth known as Agog. Agog was my state of being when kindness by others turns out to have been expressed in the form of a 13″ MacBook Air. Core i7, 4G, 256G flash drive. Fast, light, and gorgeous. It’s funny, really, that I should have decided, just last night, that the right choice was to get a new battery for Darla, the MacBook Pro I picked up in January of 2007. Darla runs OS X Lion just fine, if a little bit slow. But slow is relative. I executed a test a short while ago, cold-booting both systems:

  • Darla: 48.9 seconds to the login screen.
  • Agog: 19.7 seconds to the login screen.

And Agog takes about 3 seconds to wake up from sleep – the huge advantage to flash disks.

Getting it to the state of minimal usefulness for a mobile machine: email, remote connections to work and home – that all took about half an hour. Now it’s supper time. Ciao!

Ownage

Apologies – work and schoolwork have owned my days and nights. Project 3 is now in for the database class, and work remains busy. But here’s the project that required slots cut into wood: A framed cork board to substitute for someone who wanted to stick cork tiles onto the gorgeous book-matched veneer on that desk you’ll see when I can upload pictures again (/tmp is full on the server we’re on).

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Later: I executed an end-run by putting the picture on the static Orb site, then linking to it here.

An over-engineered corkboard

An over-engineered corkboard

Seven Down, Five To Go

July is wound down, days are getting a bit shorter, and while the heat is with us for another month or so, I can already see the end of the year. Time seems to go a bit faster with each passing year, eh? But summer isn’t over yet: the tomatoes, as you saw below, are in full production.

I took most of that stack and made a red sauce yesterday: 20# of tomatoes, a couple of onions, a bunch of garlic, half a cup of olive oil, two small cans of tomato paste, five bay leaves, and a bottle of 2007 Turning Leaf Merlot. That simmered all afternoon, making the house smell wonderful.

Today, I used up the rest of the potatoes, making up another two week’s worth of lunches (with mild Italian sausage and spinach). Late this afternoon, I browned up 3# of turkey, and added some chopped peppers from the garden, some more sautéed onion, a couple of large cans of dark red kidney beans, some chili powder and dried cumin. To that I added about a third of the sauce that I made yesterday, for a big pot of killer chili. Between the wine and the fresh tomatoes, the sauce is a bit sweet, but that mostly cooks out over time.

In between all the cooking, I made a big dent in the third SQL project for my database class. I’ve got until next Sunday evening to get that completed.

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Dammit! I skipped a beat there. For just a second, I thought there were no new casualties reported since last weekend! Too good to be true, and my eyes picked out the one report … Our condolences to the families and units of these fallen warriors:

2nd Lt. Jered W. Ewy, 33, of Edmond, Oklahoma, died July 29 at Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Spc. Augustus J. Vicari, 22, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, died July 29 at Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.