27 March 2017

Whelp. Another week gone. A good work-week with an informative, day-long VMUG event smack in the middle. Wood working on the weekend. I’m making progress on that closet system. All the parts are fabricated and first sanding is done. Next, sealer, resanding, stain, and poly. A couple of weeks should see it done.

*      *      *

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

  • Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Boniface, 34, of San Luis Obispo, California, died March 19, in Logar Province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.
  • Staff Sgt. Alexandria Mae Morrow, 25, of Dansville, NY, died March 22, in Southwest Asia, while performing maintenance duties in support of combat operations.

19 March 2017

It was a fairly uneventful work week, if by uneventful you mean a snow-day in mid-March. Three people made it to the office on Tuesday: I was one of them. We have an external vendor event on Tuesdays, and while it *can* be put off in an emergency, an inch or three of snow doesn’t stop me from getting the job done. I did my early morning work remotely, then spent about 45 minutes shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. Then off to work, and stayed there from 9 to 12.

*      *      *

The weekend, though, has been fun. I started out Saturday with a few chores and coffee roasting. Then I went over to one of the local lumberterias to pick up the materials I needed to build Marcia’s new closet system. Clearly, I chose the right transport for the job:

The right tool for the job - BMW M235i for the lumber run.

The right tool for the job

I unloaded the car, and broke down the long boards in the garage to rough design length before hauling downstairs. That pine is going to be the slats on the shelves, eventually.

*      *      *

Yesterday evening, we went over to Annapolis Shakespeare, in their new digs, for an evening cabaret of show tunes and sonnets. It was a lovely two hours of show, followed by a spot of mingling with cast, crew, and audience. Great fun. Next up with ASC: Alice In Wonderland (I think. It may be Richard III, in May … getting a new theatre operational is challenging).

*      *      *

Today, after the shopping, I went down to the woodshop and started making jigs, in order to repeatably make the parts that will end up being part of Marcia’s new closet:

Fabricating main supports using a 30° jig

Fabricating main supports

Much of the initial work was done on the table saw, for both the main supports and the backing wall attachments. Eventually I also hauled out the mitre saw for some angle cuts and working with the poplar I used for creating the supports for the hanger bars. Those got a through-hole put in them with a 1.32″ Forstner bit (in a specific location via stops), then cut to the right size on the miter saw, then a bunch of slots, etc. cut in batches on the table saw. The final bit before assembly was to round over all the outward facing corners, freehand, with a round-over bit on the router table.

Hanger bar supports in process

Hanger bar supports in process

I finished up the day gluing, pinning, and screwing the main support assemblies together. Here they are with spare parts: When I make a batch of identical parts, I’ve found it’s a good idea to make a spare or two while the setup is together. That way, if I ruin a piece, I don’t have to setup to make just one more. It costs little bit in materials, but saves a bunch of time in case of mistakes. Not to mention I’ve got templates to work from if I decide to build something similar again.

Support assemblies completed

Support assemblies completed

What’s next for those is to cut and add some slat attachment surfaces along the top edge of those supports, then sand and finish them. Then I’ll make the slats themselves. Everything will get sanded, stained, and a coat or three of poly. THEN we can dismantle Marcia’s closet, patch the walls, sand, paint, and assemble the new closet system. It’ll be a while, yet. But the job is finally started, so we’ve got that going for us.

*      *      *

DoD announced no new casualties in the last week. We are grateful for that. Ciao!

 

 

 

12 March 2017

Wednesday, I attended an Ansible Automates event downtown. I’ve been making use of Ansible for configuration management for nearly three years now, but the rate of change and new capabilities since the project was purchased by Red Hat about 18 months ago is stunning. There’s a lot I have to learn to find out what else I should be automating with this tool.

A good weekend: got assorted things done, including roasting some delicious-smelling Tanzania Mbozi – Iwezya Station beans from Sweet Maria’s. We (mostly Marcia) cooked a lovely salmon supper followed by a blueberry pie for dessert last night. I had one responsibility: the garlic bread. It was all gone, so i guess I did my part okay, too.

Up next: Getting my Hugo nominations in, that closes on Friday, so I’d better be getting to that… Done. And I got my driver’s license renewed for another seven years.

*      *      *

No new casualties were reported by DoD in the last few days. Ciao!

7 Feb 2017

Wow. Am I a slacker, or what? I’ve been really busy. Work is keeping me on my toes, and (wonderfully), we’re finally cooking with gas!

Cooking with gas: Our new KitchenAid Dual Fuel range

Cooking with gas

We got a KitchenAid Dual Fuel range – a natural gas range (that could be converted to LP if needed) with two electric ovens. Yay! Getting the range was Marcia’s birthday present, and she got the gasfitter to run the line for Valentine’s Day. No massacres yet!

*      *      *

On the professional front, I’m working on the options for extending my Red Hat Certified Engineer status. I’m probably going down the automation path, with Ansible, for a variety of reasons. So I’ve got to spend a fair bit of time building test environments and building my skill set with the range of capabilities that Ansible offers today. I’ve been using it for a few years now, but not taking advantage of all that the tool suite has to offer. Should be fun.

*      *      *

Books: I finally finished reading Leviathan Wakes – Book One of The Expanse by James S. A. Corey. Wonderful space opera set believably in our solar system (so, no light speed drives required to move the action along). Miller and Holden. Holy cow. If you’ve not read, you should. I’ll be reading the books before I start watching the series, which I hear is also seriously awesome. Next up, Born To Run, by the Boss.

*      *      *

Lazy lookout guard - Lexi has to rest her head

Lazy lookout guard

Lexi had her annual check-up last weekend, and flew through with flying colors. The nail trimming and first round of shots didn’t make her very happy, though. She’ll be even less happy when she goes back for two more shots in a couple of weeks. The rabies vaccine booster was part of this year’s regimen, so the vet likes to split up the shots when there are a bunch, for a little dog like Lexi.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Brian. P. Odiorne, 21, of Ware, Massachusetts, who died on Feb. 20, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident.

19 Feb 2017

Well, here we are, barely a month into this Republican Administration. How do you think it’s going. I’m pretty disappointed. By now, I was sure we’d ALL have gold-plated hotels of our very own. Sad!

*      *      *

I was helping Marcia box up some stuff in her sewing area in the basement, and I may have gone overboard:

Lexi's ready to go!

Lexi’s ready to go!

Of course I blamed the dog for this. Why wouldn’t one?

*      *      *

We’ve had an unseasonably lovely President’s Day weekend so far. Unlike the heavy snows of the last few years, we’re up into the 60’s and 70’s for highs. That’s probably going to end in sorrow (and snow) though, because I washed both cars this weekend. We all know that car washing beats forecasts, every day of the week. That, with other chores and remote work for the office has meant a full weekend so far. Tomorrow’s moderate temperatures are indicative of yard work, more’s the pity.

*      *      *

DoD has reported no casualties in the last week, for which we are grateful. We can but hope that this Republican Administration doesn’t lead us into new wars. Ciao!

 

 

12 Feb 2017

A quiet weekend around here. A haircut, some shopping, a few dog walks. Ooooh, yeah: I got my BSidesCharm 2017 tickets tonight. Yay. It’s a superb, impactful, (mostly) defensive security conference. I’ve enjoyed the first two years of this con, and the third year’s program looks like it will be a worthy continuation. The first round of badges has already sold out. The second half of the tix go on sale 26 February. Keep an eye on @BSidesCharm on twit that day. You may need to be quick…

*      *      *

This Republican Administration continues to disappoint, to no one’s great surprise.

*      *      *

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

5 Feb 2017

A good weekend, as such things go. Saturday, I roasted some coffee. In the evening, we headed over to the Annapolis Shakespeare Company‘s new digs, and enjoyed a superb performance of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town. Not a play I’d seen before. Excellent direction by founder Sally Boyett, and powerfully performed.  Patrick Ryan Sullivan takes a very pleasing and strong turn as the Stage Manager, but my personal favorite for this show has to be the tender  and heart-rending Emily Webb as given to  the audience by the talented Laura Rocklyn. As each season with this company progresses, I see new depths in each of the Resident Company Actors – frankly I love them all – and I’m already looking forward to Alice In Wonderland! Aaaand, I just scored our tickets to see The Tempest in July, in the gardens at the Charles Carroll House. We saw Midsummer Night’s Dream in that venue last year – a great place for a show!

Today, shopping, 2016 taxes, and associated year-end paperwork. All done and submitted. Not the most pleasant of chores, to be sure, but done for the moment. Just a couple of missing bits of paper to add to the documentation pile – I know what the numbers are, but I want hardcopy of the things just to be safe.

*      *      *

For many people, these past weeks have brought about a great deal of uncertainty and trepidation. In the face of such circumstances, clearly a diversified portfolio is the correct strategy. When you don’t know what’s going to succeed, through the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks…

Diversify your portfolio!

Diversify your portfolio!

*      *      *

Alternatively, just lick your nose and hope for the best, as Lexi does:

Is my nose okay?

Is my nose okay?

*      *      *

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

3 Feb 2017

Another interesting week near the heart of power. Well, when I say “heart”, I mean corroded hunk of radioactive tin encased in an orange waste of skin. Ah, well. One does what one can while watching the wreck of trains, above and below.

In the meantime, I managed to get Kubuntu installed on my old Mac Air (2011). The install was fairly trivial, just a couple of trips to the search engines to get me over the occasional install hump. Everything but the thunderbolt port works flawlessly, and here it sits next to it’s new big brother:

AirBuntu next to the new-ish MPB

AirBuntu next to the new-ish MPB

The primary failing of the Air was one of battery life – it had a semi-useful 2 hours worth, which sucked when I found myself stranded in Columbus without a power brick last Fall. The other main issue is the screen. In the last 6 years, my eyes appear to have aged about 10, and with the amount of information I like to keep on screen, the larger, higher resolution MBP is just better. Let’s be clear: compared to the Air, the Retina screen on the MacBook Pro is glorious. Oh, and a much faster processor doesn’t hurt at all either. The air will serve well as a conference laptop. The MBP is a superb work machine for me. All I have to do is get used to floating my palms off that bloody huge touchpad.

30 Jan 2017

My gast is utterly flabbered. Donald of Orange, elected as President, signs his name and commits his office to actions I find reprehensible. More evil is coming, of that I am sure. We donated tonight to Planned Parenthood and to the ACLU, both doing good work in “interesting times.”

*      *      *

I had a busy weekend. Okay. I had a lazy Saturday, and a Sunday filled with shopping and housecleaning, followed by dinner out with the cow-orkers. Lovely food and evening at Seasons 52 up at the Columbia Mall. Recommended.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois, who died on Jan. 28 in the Arabian Peninsula of Yemen, of wounds sustained in a raid against al-Qaida.

22 Jan 2017

It’s a hell of a thing. But let’s be clear. I’m not really an optimist. Most days, I plan for the worst. In the end, most days I’m pleasantly surprised by how well things went. Given my imagination, really, I’m not going to actually have the worst day I can envision.

Sadly, I don’t think the President has the chops or the self-control to build a team that will give us good government. For me, this makes bad days more likely. I think it’s the absolute unpredictability of the man that is most bothersome. Well, that and the sycophants that parrot and back up whatever shiny lunatic lies pops out of his mouth. I suspect our best hope in the short term will be an adversarial press, and an active electorate.

It was awesome to watch the crowds come together yesterday for the Women’s March. I was an event chauffeur, driving Marcia and a neighbor down to the Metro early, and picking them up in the afternoon. You can (and people do) pick apart any agenda, but I’m impressed with the general direction and motivation from the Women’s March. The big take-away is to be active. Become and stay involved in politics. Watch how your local, state, and national representatives act on your behalf, and let them KNOW you’re watching. Let them know when you don’t approve, AND when you do. Both are important. Actively support the groups doing good work: the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, etc. Stay active and be ready when it’s time to go to the polls again. If you don’t like how things work, and you don’t vote … well, that’s just sad.

The man who is President won, I believe, due to electorate lethargy and apathy. These are fatal to a Democracy. In the year to come, his actions and our level of activity will distinctly influence mid-cycle elections. Our Legislative Branch will then have to shit or get off the pot. Be part of the solution, make a difference. That’s my take.

Of course, as a died-in-the-wool pessimist, I expect none of this to make a difference. And there’s still a rock out there with our name on it. But maybe not tomorrow.

*      *      *

Lexi doesn't want a walk...

Lexi doesn’t want a walk…

I asked, really I did. It was an unusual Monday for the dog, because I was home all day on MLK Day. That sort of thing messes with her expectations of how life should go. I should be home for two days, then gone for most of the next five.

“Do you want to go for a walk, Lexi?”

That usually elicits an excited tail-wagging response that leads directly over to the leash. But on Monday last, the answer was clear:

“Nope. Belly scritch. Now.”

*      *      *

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