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!

11 Dec 2016

G’day. What a lovely day. Well, not temperature-wise, as it was 24F when I got up and walked the dog this morning, and had barely crept up to the freezing point by noon. But, still a nice day. We took Linda and Mike to see the matinee showing of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, staged by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company. It’s running through Christmas Eve, so you have plenty of time to go see it yourself! This is the second year we’ve enjoyed this production. While some might say it’s not the cheeriest of stories, it is indeed a wonderful show. And there’s plenty of humor in the actors interacting in their “radio studio” as the play goes on. And as usual, towards the end, something manages to get into my eyes. Sally Boyett and her team put on a great show, and you’d love it. Go. GO!

Beyond that, a busy work week behind, another one in front. Other than roasting a pound of Honduras coffee yesterday, there’s not much to report.

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A moment of silence to mark the passing of John Glenn.

He was heroic, in the best sense of that word. He flew and fought in two wars. He went to space and into orbit, in a tin can perched atop a tube of high explosives in 1962. Then did it again in 1997 (at age 77!) on the space shuttle. He was a US Senator from Ohio for a quarter century. He’d been a hero of mine for decades, and the world is a poorer place without him in it.l

Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. First Class Allan E. Brown, 46, of Takoma Park, Maryland, who died on Dec. 6 at Walter Reed National Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan, that occurred on Nov. 12.

20 Nov 2016

Windy, cold day today. Quite a shift from yesterday’s 70° loveliness. That’s okay. I stayed busy all week and all weekend. Today, for example:

  • 0645-0800 – Start laundry, start coffee, then patching a set of production linux systems
  • 0800-0845 – Walk dog, breakfast
  • 0845-1030 – Shopping, food organization
  • 10:30-1200 – Email, patching another set of production linux systems
  • 1200-1300 – Walk dog, lunch
  • 1300-1400 – Roast coffee (an Ethiopian SO bean from Sweet Maria’s)
  • 1400-1600 – Putter about, relax for a couple of hours
  • 1600-1800 – Cooking
  • 1800-1845 – Feed and walk dog
  • 1845-2000 – Dinner, make bed, email, blog time…

Marcia is doing great. She’s done with the cane, mostly. She did most of the laundry work today, other than the “carry bits up and down the stairs” part. Strength is going up, pain is going down, and she’s weening off the last of the heavy pain killers in the next couple of days. Next up: Driving!

We enjoyed watching the first episode of Amazon’s new car show: The Grand Tour this week! I’d missed having those blokes doing new, fun things with cars. Sorry, BBC – your B-Team isn’t nearly good enough!

*      *      *

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

  • Sgt. John W. Perry, 30, of Stockton, California, died on Nov. 12 of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan.
  • Pfc. Tyler R. Iubelt, 20, of Tamaroa, Illinois, died on Nov. 12 of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan.

15 May 2016

According to the record books, this last stretch of rainy days ended at 15. But that was measured at a local airport. MY backyard meter got measurable rain on 18 consecutive days, with today being the first rain-free day. Yowza! And let me tell you how unhappy my plants are! They’re not as unhappy as they might have been with a late hard frost, but too much water stunts and kills. The tomatoes haven’t grown, and continuous moisture encourages early rust, which would be … bad. The cantelope seedlings are dead. The happiest looking plants in my backyard (aside from the lawn, which is very happy indeed) are the broccoli. We’ll see how that plays out over the next few weeks.

*      *      *

Huh. Video games leaking out into real life, much? I snapped this shot off the telly screen last night from the Science channel show What On Earth? :

Is this Cave Johnson?

Is this Cave Johnson?

Hmmm.

*      *      *

Yesterday, I cleaned most of the coffee-related apparatus in the house, roasted a pound of Costa Rican green beans from Sweet Maria’s in my Behmor 1600 Plus roaster, mowed the lawns, and weeded out the veggie beds.

In the evening, we went to Annapolis Shakespeare to see their production of Romeo and Juliet. The costume and musical designs reflected the late 1940’s, but the language was the Bard’s. The show is directed with a fine touch by the company’s Founding Artistic Director, Sally Boyett. I’ll admit to my weakness for this play – I *love* Mercutio’s monologue on dreams. And Brian Keith MacDonald’s rendition stole the show, for me. Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of the show. Brendan McMahon and Olivia Ercolano as Romeo and Juliet were fun, and completely perfect in their roles. And the rest of the cast, superb as usual, with a special note to the talented and hard-working Renata Plecha, who always seems to have more roles to learn than anyone! Wonderful! Go, see it. There are two more weeks of production!

Today, I cleaned out my office closet. I generated a box of working gadgetry that’s going to the donate stack at work. I generated a can full of trash. I generated a can full of recycle. And I sanitized three phones of elderly provenance:

Secured data.

Secured data.

I carefully secured the data on these three old phones. Out of juice, power adapters long gone, I needed a solution, and Art is the answer.

*      *      *

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

8 May 2016

I spent yesterday cleaning house, and half of today doing yard work. THEN Marcia let me know I was supposed to be doing that for my mom, not us! Wrong coast, be damned. Grin.

Nothing much to report for the week. It was wet all last week, I think it rained every day. Even though today was sunny all day, it rained in the wee hours (very polite, that, if you ask me). The NOAA forecast for the week is, well, rain. Every day. The veggies that could be growing, aren’t. The cantelopes are dying, sadly. We’ll see if they recover, but I expect that cooler than expected temps and too much rain are doing them in. Same thing could happen to the tomatoes.

I should have roasted coffee today, but that can wait until tomorrow evening. Ordering more coffee? That I should do right now, since I only have 4# on hand at the moment. {Pleasantly mind-numbing hold music}

Coffee ordered from SweetMarias.com. I’ve got 10 different 2# batches of green coffee beans on the way, with origins in:

  • Burundi
  • Brazil
  • Ethiopia
  • Java
  • Zamibia
  • Sumatra
  • Columbia
  • Bolivia

*      *      *

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

  • Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles H. Keating IV, 31, of San Diego, California, died May 3 in Tall Usquf, Iraq, of combat related causes. 
  • 1st Lt. David A. Bauders, of Seattle, Wash., died May 6, on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, in a non-combat related incident.

28 Feb 2016

One more day to go … in February. So very odd.

Did I mention that Marcia baked and decorated a wonderfully delicious cake for me to take to work in celebration of a recent parenthood event? Yeah, this is it:

The Cake Marcia made

The Cake Marcia made

Well, that’s part of the cake. We’d already started digging into it before I was thoughtful enough to take pictures of my own. Delicious: chocolate in many ways, plus raspberry compote layers in between. And I’m told there are very few calories involved. I should believe that, I think.

*      *      *

Yesterday, I got the new over-the-range microwave oven installed, replacing the one that died a few weeks back. Today, some cleanup, some freshly roasted coffee (a Java from SweetMarias.com, and a bit of relaxation. Back to the mines tomorrow.

*      *      *

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

Ice

The weather liar says this is the first day of meteorological Spring. The weather itself says, “ICE!” They’ve been treating the roads and such, but there’s an eighth to a quarter inch of ice on lots of the rest of our area. Trees are deeply unhappy, with branches coming off due to weight. Lovely, really. And such a pleasure when taking the dog for a walk.

Today: Patching systems remotely for work, weekly food shopping, roasted coffee:

Roasted a Columbian today

Roasted a Columbian today

I generally roast early enough that the beans have enough time to rest for at least three days (and outgas most of the CO2) before first grind and brew. No different today: We’ll probably be drinking off of this Columbia SO coffee by Thursday.

I also cleared most things out of Marcia’s front sewing room, and did wall work: sanding and re-spackling. Later in the week, I should be able to get the shoe moulding installed, do the final sanding, and get some primer on the walls with the intention of color coat on the weekend. We know where intentions lead, yes?

*      *      *

In computing news, I puzzled my way through getting bhyve (the BSD Hypervisor) running on Serenity, the FreeBSD workstation/home server. It’ll be better to experiment with things in a virtual machine, than directly on the host. What I wasn’t able to do was get the tap and bridge networking up and running while *also* using PF, the host-based firewall. I like using firewalls as one layer in a robust security posture … but for now, not so much. The first experiment: PostgreSQL. I’ve worked some with Oracle’s database, and with MySQL (and the MariaDB fork thereof). But there are capabilities in PostgreSQL that I want to explore, and a small Python based project I’d like to write to spend some time with both the language and the database. More if there’s more to report at a later date.

*      *      *

Gladly observed: still no new casualties announced by DoD in the most recent week. Ciao!

Pre-cooling

While the West is unseasonably warm and horribly dry, we’re hovering around normal on precipitation here in this back yard – .28″ measured for 2014 to date. But the temps we’ve got coming are something else again. Today was a summer-ish 38° F, with some rain to knock down most of the snow, more’s the pity. It was pretty outside, but not so much, now. Day after tomorrow, we should be around 0-2° F over night, with a high around 12° or so. That’s cold, baby! And dicey driving on roads slick with snow-melt that stopped melting. After that, oddly, we’ll be back up into the 40’s for a few days.

*      *      *

I’ve been working on a small project. Here’s a piece of it in progress:

Working with wood

Working with wood

It’s nothing to do with a Buffy remake, if that’s what you’re thinking.

*      *      *

Coffee – For these two weeks, we’re drinking a Guatemala Huehuetenango – Tono Sanchez. It’s roasted to City+, about halfway between first and second crack. Delicious!

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. Jacob M. Hess, 22, of Spokane, Washington, died on Jan. 1, 2014, while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
  • Sgt. First Class William K. Lacey, 38, of Laurel, Florida, died on Jan. 4, 2014, in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when the enemy attacked his unit with rocket propelled grenades.

New Coffee Roasting Cart

So, I’ve got the week off, this week. And we’re not going anywhere, so I have time for projects, mixed in with the schoolwork. The first project is to clean up and reorganize the woodshop a bit. To do that, I need to get the coffee roaster and vent hood off of my workbench, where it’s lived for the last two years. I haven’t minded much, because I’ve been too busy to do much woodworking, but you never know.

Sitting in a box. I had components for a 6′ tall slender rack, rolling or standing. An alternative is to build two half-racks: one rolling, one standing. So I did, and the rolling cart, with a top applied, is the new roasting cart:

Coffee Roasting Cart

Coffee Roasting Cart

In a minute, the maintenance guy for our HVAC is going to be here, then I’ll continue with working in the shop. Ciao!