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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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!

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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.

25 Sept 2016

By the calendar, it’s Fall. By my reckoning, we’re really close. I count “Fall” as the first morning below 50° F. Close, today, at 52°. A busy work week, productive but long after several “short” weeks under my belt. I also went to the office yesterday to do some work that required off-business hours AND onsite for “just in case the SAN firmware update fails.” All went smoothly this time, thank FSM.

The big events of the weekend were yard work ones. I used the hedge trimmers and the electric chainsaw to clear out the front garden beds and rid us of an elderly and crufty forsythia. I’m going to have to find something else to plant in that corner, but not immediately. Then I used a hoe and finished cleaning up the beds, a de-thatching rake to clean up some of the weedier areas of lawn (more to be done there) and got everything necessary out to the curb for tomorrow’s green waste pickup.

Tonight: ibuprofin.

This evening I composed a dish of red potatoes, mild Italian sausage, a yellow onion, some garlic (to taste, and I like a lot), several green bell and hot peppers (from the garden), and green beans. While the four pounds of potatoes boiled, I browned the 2 pounds of sausage in a sauce pan. Once the potatoes and the meat was drained and combined, I deglazed the sauce pan with a splash of chardonnay, then dropped in the  onion, garlic, and peppers. After a couple of minutes, I added the 2 pounds of frozen green beans and let everything veggie steam for a couple of minutes. All that went in on top of the sausage and potatoes, along with a liberal helping of additional dried red pepper flakes. Fold to combine, and enjoy! The pot contained enough to feed a small army, or me for most of the upcoming week.

This Tuesday is your last chance to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), staged by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company at the Reynolds Tavern courtyard. Just sayin’ …

Current (re)reading: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Tenth Anniversary Edition

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Airman Devon M. Faulkner, 24, of North Carolina, who died on Sept. 20 of a non-combat-related injury while underway.

17 July 2016

A long week, and not much in the way of exercise, either. I only got one proper day of exercise in, on Tuesday. The rest of the days were too busy, too hot, or both. But there was some good news:

First 2016 salsa

First 2016 salsa

Yup, first salsa! Huzzah! Still no jalapeños, so here’s the ingredients:

  • 2/3 of a bowl (that bowl, pre-chopping) of roma and sweet cherry tomatoes, chopped fine.
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced.
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced.
  • 1 immature red habañero.
  • 3 immature serrano peppers (to taste, natch).
  • cilantro to taste (a couple of tablespoons is my sweet spot).
  • 1 teaspoon cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes.
  • A couple of grinds of sea salt.
  • A few grinds of black pepper.
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.

That made a mighty fine salsa!

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Of note, I went to a CALUG meeting on Wednesday, where Berend Tober spoke on his PostgreSQL-based trading game, Fairwinds. Interesting stuff, because I know less about PostgreSQL than several of the other database systems extant. Now I know a tiny bit more, thanks to Mr. Tober.

Friday I took the day off work, so that I could do chores, wash the car, etc.

Today I spent mostly doing remote work, with a long break in the middle. New production deployments require non-business hour work – that’s how the game is played, and it’s a joy to finally get some of these systems into production after long preparation and testing.

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

17 April 2016

This was a good week. Not a great week – that would have required all seven days to have been above 32° F for the full 24 hours each. That only happened four times. That said, work was good and productive, including the weekend work that ate half of yesterday, as well as patching last night and this morning.

The rest of the weekend was given to yard work of assorted types. I mostly did lawn care, but we did get a couple of new rose bushes for the front porch pots, a couple of herbs for the herb box in back, and I’ve stocked up on mulch (for yard bed dressing) and manure (for garden bed amendments). I’ll probably take a couple of days off this week to get the beds turned over and that manure turned in, so that it can rest for a week before I start planting veggies in the last week of April.

Oooh. Marcia made a couple of superbly yummy apple pies yesterday. We might have completely demolished one of them already. I’m taking the second one to work, tomorrow.

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Technology update: I’ve gotten OrbDesigns.com setup with SSL, finally. This long-overdue development is courtesy of letsencrypt.org: “Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority brought to you by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG).”

I’d always been a bit of a cheapskate about SSL on the sites, mostly because I don’t do any financial or personal transactional business here. And an SSL certificate for  just orbdesigns.com would have cost me more than the annual domain registration fees. I’d been following the progress of Let’s Encrypt with some interest, and jumped on the bandwagon, totally by chance, the day after the public Beta ended. I’m pleased that the service is available, and that there’s a couple of options for FreeBSD. I took advantage of the directions on Bernard Spil’s blog on the topic at wiki.freebsd.org/BernardSpil/LetsEncrypt.

I’ve still got to setup auto-deploy to accompany the automatic renewals that are already configured. And I’ve got certs for Marcia’s two main sites already: I just have to configure and deploy to those.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt, 22, of Glen Burnie, Maryland. He died on April 15 in Southwest Asia as a result of injuries sustained after extreme winds caused structural damage to the building in which the airman was working.

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.

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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.

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

11 Feb 2016

Lexi under a shawl

Lexi under a shawl

Yeah, Lexi is a spoiled dog and she knows it, but all on her own, she’ll go find something a bit like a blanket, on whatever piece of furniture is convenient. She’ll burrow in, then turn a couple of times and end up with her face poking out so that she can see what’s going on. Just in case we’re doing anything interesting, don’t you know? This time, it was Marcia’s red shawl, draped (for a while) on the back of the sofa. Lexi hauled that down, and draped herself. Cute as beans.

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It was roasting day today.

Roasting a Columbian coffee

Roasting a Columbian coffee

I generally roast about once a week, a pound at a time. This morning I put the last half pound of beans into the burr grinder hopper, so tonight is a good time to roast. That gives the freshly roasted beans a few days to rest before they’re up to bat, which is a good thing. Roasted beans should always rest first.

It was 6 years ago this week that I got my Behmor 1600 Roaster from Sweet Maria’s. I’ve upgraded the panel to the 1600 Plus version, last year, for $50. Including original shipping, I’m all in on this roaster for $375, and at 52 roasts a year, yielding 7 pots of coffee each … why that’s a cost of under 20 cents a pot against the roaster. Given my travel mug and Marcia’s soup tureens (yeah, she uses very large coffee beakers), it’s under a nickel a pop amortized. Good value for money, and still going strong! Behmor coffee roasters: Highly Recommended!

I will say, I take good care of it, including cleaning it well, on schedule. I’ve also taken the whole thing apart a couple of times to clear all the chaff and cruft out of the gears and the electronics and whatnot. Handy to have a shop, and an air compressor with a good nozzle on the end of the hose.

Returns with a Vengeance

Summer, that is. We’re in a pattern of high heat and humidity right now, which makes working outside (and walking the dog) less than utterly pleasant activities. I strive, however, to not let that stop me. Today, after shopping and such, I managed a 3-gallon harvest out of the garden, much of which turned into the contents of these jars:

Mmmmm. Salsa.

Mmmmm. Salsa.

Yep, there’s still salsa coming out of the garden. It’s been winding down for a week or more, but there may be one more batch before the year’s production is done.

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My dance card was full last week because Marcia was travelling. She did an eight day trip to Michigan, spending time with family and going to a quilt show in Grand Rapids. She tells me she had a good time. I won’t know how good a time until I’ve seen the credit card bill, however (grin).

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DoD has reported no new casualties in the last few days. Ciao!

Another weekend gone

Also this weekend, I baked cookies, and made an army’s worth of chili. I used the last of the summer’s freezer-reserve tomato sauce, a couple of pounds each of ground turkey and ground spicy italian sausage, and mixed red kidney and black beans. Heat and chili powder added. Yum! Sadly, the cookies are almost gone…

I got the second coat of white on the shelving today. A small roller with a smooth-coat cover, and a gallon-size rolling grid solved the problems I was having with painting. I still have to decide what to do next: Poly or no poly. I’m thinking yes, because it’ll make the finish much more robust. And I shouldn’t be lazy about it.

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Our condolences to the family, friends, and unit of Sgt. Schoonhoven:

  • Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven, 38, of Plainwell, Michigan, died Jan. 20, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device on Dec. 15, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan.