About bilborg

I am who I am, there's plenty of data on this site to tell you more. Briefly, I'm a husband, computer geek, avid reader, gardener, and builder of furniture.

1 August 2018

We still have a few of the Tiger Lily blooms extant in the front yard beds, which is unusual. They’re often utterly gone by the third week in June. I’ll put it down to a generally cooler summer here (so far), and a couple of weeks of rain. All flowers generally get along with more water and less heat. Note that I was watering them weekly during the 4 weeks of little-to-no rain from late June through late July. Here they are from a couple of weeks ago:

Tiger Lilies in bloom

Tiger Lilies in bloom

31 July 2018

And that puts the fork into the seventh month of this dismal year.

In such good news as there is, I got the major yard work – lawns, etc. – done this last weekend, and several other chores to boot. Not much else to report. I did finish up the last few pages of that V.E. Schwab book, A Darker Shade of Magic. Fun tale, with the boring caveat that almost everyone lives, which seems unreasonably unrealistic. But the book is well written, and I’ve gotta find out what happens next… Now all I have to do is fit more of those books into my reading budget (money and time).

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In the boy-howdy-can-people-ever-be-shitty-to-other-people department, check out the recent Everywhereist (aka Geraldine DeRuiter) post What Happened When I Tried Talking to Twitter Abusers. Assholes on Twitter are just one of the many reasons we can’t have anything nice anymore.

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last few days. Thank Cthulhu. Now it’s time to go roast some coffee: a Guatemalan from Sweet Maria’s.

26 July 2018

Well, I guess it’s been a bit. I participated in two long painting days at the theatre last week, and by Sunday, after chores, etc, I was plain tuckered out. Since then, I’ve just been either busy or forgetful … I can’t remember which.

Upcoming is the last weekend of Love’s Labour’s Lost presented by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company at St. John’s College in Annapolis. Also, still running through late September, The Miser is on in the courtyard at Reynold’s Tavern. We’ve seen and loved them both (and we would, even if Marcia wasn’t volunteering as a part time office manager, and I wasn’t on the Board). The next season is going to be a joy, too! Get tickets, bring your friends, see the work, love the work, become subscribers. That’s precisely how we got hooked!

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What I’m reading in my copious spare time: Fran Wilde’s Cloudbound (book two of her Bone Universe trilogy; I loved Updraft, and Horizon is on deck – she signed all three for me at Capclave last year, yay!). These are wonderful, extravagantly envisioned works of fantasy. Fran crafts characters that I care about immediately, and gives them a consistent place above (and in) the clouds for them to love, contend, and try in their own ways to save themselves and their society. Inevitable conflict is the main story. However, the little touches of side story show that this author is superb at building a universe much larger than we can see, and showing us just what’s necessary for the story. I love these books, and I think you will, too. You can find them at many booksellers.

I’m also reading V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, set mostly in three Londons. Magic missing, magic mostly in balance, and magic as weapon … then there’s Black London. I’m enjoying the tale a lot, and I’ll probably pick up the rest of the series. Then there’s my late night bedside re-reading of some of Iain M. Banks Culture novels – love those a lot.

I’ve been listening to a lot of David Bowie, The Eagles, and Amanda Palmer of several incarnations, of late.

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The garden has been producing a quart or so of cherry tomatoes every couple of days, which is delicious and wonderful. Last night I made a south-of-the-border-ish dish with pork, rice, shallots, a couple of serrano peppers and a double handful of halved cherry tomatoes. Yum.

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Recently roasted coffees include single origin beans from Guatemala and Burundi.

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week and a half.

15 July 2018

Another productive week, and a much more productive weekend. Saturday was for detailing cars and seeing Annapolis Shakespeare’s lovely outdoor production of Love’s Labour’s Lost. Superb! We saw it with some friends after a nice supper at Luna Blu, an excellent restaurant serving Italian cuisine, walking distance from the show on the lawn under the trees at St. John’s College in Annapolis. All highly recommended.

Today: shopping, coffee roasting (a Burundi from Sweet Maria’s), and house cleaning. Enough, I think.

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

  • Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32, from Summerville, South Carolina, died on July 12, in Afghanistan, of wounds sustained as a result of enemy small arms fire while conducting operations in support of a medical evacuation landing zone in Zurmat district, Paktiya province.
  • Staff Sgt. James T. Grotjan, 26, of Waterford, Connecticut, died on July 12 at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, from injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident July 8 at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

8 July 2018

Well, that was a busy week. And although we had a lovely weekend, weather-wise, it was mostly downtime for me. I wasn’t feeling very chipper yesterday. Today, I got the bare minimum done – shopping and coffee roasting. I did spend some time playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, though. I play these shooters in story mode, and they’re fun for me that way. I’m not fond of the die-every-minute mode they’ve put in for the fun kids with extreme fast twitch reflexes.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Cpl. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, who died on July 7, 2018, in Tarin Kowt District, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained during an apparent insider attack.

1 July 2018

Half of the year is gone, and all things considered for us, things could be worse. But between the political situation and all the shitty men doing shitty men things to women, things could certainly be a lot better. Additionally, we were touched by the tragic shooting in Annapolis – Marcia and I know a couple of the Capital Gazette folks, and Wendi Winters was one, now gone. Also killed were Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, John McNamera, and Rebecca Smith. Rest in peace. Our condolences to the affected families, friends, and coworkers.

Other than that sad news, it was a productive week, fully back in the saddle at work, with 5 days regular and supporting/patching work both days this weekend. I did get the front yard mowed early on Saturday before the heat moved in. All the rest of my planned chores are also done and I had some time to relax.

At the Annapolis Shakespeare  Company, The Miser is running Tuesday evenings in the Courtyard at Reynolds Tavern on Church Circle in Annapolis, through September 25. We saw the show before we left for vacation and it was a joy. We’ll be back to see it again, for another fun date night! Opening July 13 at St John’s College in Annapolis: Love’s Labour’s Lost. High expectations for this one, and with just nine shows over three weekends, get thee to the site and buy your tickets before they’re all gone!

DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.

24 June 2018

We’re back! We had a two week vacation! Destinations: three days in Ithaca (NY), a drive-by for Ticonderoga (NY), three days in Stowe (VT), and a week in Winthrop (ME) at Cobbosseecontee Lake. We managed some hikes in Ithaca, along with visits to the gardens and arboretum at Cornell. On the drive to Stowe, we stopped in Ticonderoga, and beamed up to the Enterprise for a quick visit:

Marcia in the transporter room at the Star Trek Set Tour in Ticonderoga, NY.

Marcia after transport…

The Star Trek Original Series Set Tour is great fun. Licensed by CBS, the team at TOS Set Tour have put together most of the sets you saw through three seasons of TOS. We dropped Lexi off for a grooming, had pizza for lunch, did the tour, and back on the road to Stowe.

Stowe is lovely, although it rained much of our drive there, all of the first full day, and part of the second. But we did some driving tours around the area. Did a big circle drive including Smuggler’s Notch, saw some covered bridges, and made it down to Unilever Ben & Jerry’s for a tour and some ice cream. Saturday we drove up to Maine.

In an utterly surprising move, the weather was lovely for us. Last year, we did weeks in Maine in June and in September. Of those 14 days, 9 were rain-outs. All in, we had just one cloudy day last week on the lake, and it rained politely overnight that night. This picture exemplifies the  trip this year:

Cobbosseecontee Lake in Maine

Cobbosseecontee Lake

We also managed to get out fishing on the pontoon boat each day. On day one, I landed a large northern pike, probably about six pounds. But we didn’t have a keeper box, so I put it back.

Brian caught a northern pike

Brian caught a northern pike

Later in the week, I caught another, smaller (4#) pike – and we had a cooler and bag to bring the fish home, so I did. I followed some instructions from this Internet thingy to attempt to get some boneless fillets, but I made a hash of it. So no pike for us. Marcia was the tournament leader for the week, hauling in several fish, including a tasty 17″ 2# brown trout that we had for lunch on Thursday. Overall, we had a fun time, and wrapped with a 10 hour drive home yesterday.

Today: chores. They’re done.

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

  • Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Conrad, 26, of Chandler, Arizona, died on  June 8, in Somalia, of injuries sustained from enemy indirect fire.
  • Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew I. Holzemer, of Tennessee, died on June 17 at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, as a result of a non-combat related incident.

3 June 2018

Well, another wet week. We had, today alone, way more than the 1.5 inches the gauge shows. Over 12 inches of rain in the last month if my rain gauge (and memory) can be trusted. The good news is that, while muggy and warm yesterday, I managed to get all of the required outdoor work done: mowing, pruning, weeding, fertilizing.

Today, shopping and a couple of hours of remote work (patching) took up the morning. The afternoon … well.

Marcia’s been providing an extra bunch of hours to the theater for the last couple of weeks, what with people out on vacation, etc. Between the shows we saw on our own, and her seatings as House Manager, she ended up seeing Kiss Me Kate seven times. I broke down and joined in for this afternoon’s matinee – we saw the show close, and got to give all of these wonderful actors a big hug and congrats on a great, great show. What fun!

Thank you to the actors: Matt, Zach, Dexter, J.B., Nate, Robin, Christine, Julie, Drew, Allie, Ben, Jennie, Ian, Bethany, Joe, Alex, and Laura … as well as everyone behind the scenes: Sally, Marc, Jacob, Nancy, Sandra, Nate (again!), and Caitlin.

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Oh, hey. Did I mention that we celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary this last week? Yup. Clearly, she’s a saint! And I’m a lucky, lucky bloke.

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.

 

28 May 2018

Memorial Day for those in the US. All respect and honor to those who gave their lives in service to our Country and Constitution.

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A busy week last week, building new systems for new services, retiring old systems, and generally doing modern system administration stuff. Continuing to build out the configuration management system to improve system repeatability, reliability, security, and availability. So there’s that. The three day weekend had a bit of lawn work, a bit of garden work, coffee roaster maintenance and roasting, etc. Oh, and a bit of old-school wood working:

Breaking out the block plane to smooth a small cutting board glue-up.

Breaking out the block plane

 

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I’m also signed up for this year’s Capclave. Such an awesome small literary speculative fiction (F/SF/etc) convention. Wonderful, supportive, inclusive, and diverse … and such a deal: 3 days of convention for $55 currently (it goes up in $5 increments as the last weekend in September 2018 approaches, but even at the door, it’s only $65!) Are you in the DC Metro area? Can you be, in late September? Join us!

Oh, hey: Annapolis Shakespeare‘s production of Molière’s The Miser opens tomorrow night for an 18 week run in the courtyard at Reynold’s Tavern in Annapolis. Exceptionally, for us, we’re going to miss an opening night, but we’ll see it soon. Gonna be fun! Dinner. A show. You should go!

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Conrad A. Robinson, 36, of Los Angeles, California, who died on May 24 at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, from a non-combat related incident.

20 May 2018

Howdy. A full work week, followed by chores and theatre on Saturday, and mowing a wet, wet, tall set of lawns today. We had just one rainy stretch – it lasted from Saturday the 12th until this morning. All in, according to my still-poorly-sited rain gauge, we got just under 5″ of rain in that period of time. Not too shabby.  The abbreviated garden hasn’t drowned or died from lack of direct sunlight, either … yet.

I’ve been working my way through some Python (programming language) training, and I’ve reached once again the point where I spend more time fighting to understand how to solve the problem as poorly-posed, than I do on solving the problem. The underlying issue is that the specification and sample code in the exercises end up displaying only a passing resemblance to the solution code. If I make my best guess about just what the author of the tutorial wants, I end up with either slightly or dramatically different code, sometimes solving problems that clearly aren’t as described in the text. Maybe that’s part of the lesson – do the best you can with incomplete specifications and remember that it’s not permissible to kill the stakeholders. Harumph!

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DoD reported no new casualties in the last week. US school districts did, sadly. Our elected representatives should be doing more to address that than their corporate donors would prefer.