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!

 

 

 

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.

*      *      *

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.

4 Dec 2016

We had a lovely supper tonight at Seasons 52 in Columbia – a holiday dinner with my co-workers and plus ones. I had half a chicken, Marcia had some seared cow, both were delicious. Dessert: tiny, delicious, and overpriced. Still, we’ll go there again: Recommended.

Marcia continues to make great progress in her hip replacement recovery. She’s been driving for a week now, and spending a fair bit of time standing, walking, and working on stuff in the house each day. Huzzah!

The week was weird. I took a couple of vacation days on Thursday and Friday. Got a few things done around the house, but mostly relaxed and tried to unwind a bit. I roasted a pound of an Ethiopian SO, cleaned the roaster, etc. It’s almost time to build something in the woodshop – I’m getting that familiar itch.

I’m also getting used to my early Festivus present: an Apple Watch. I like it very much, and it’s hugely more comfortable to wear (as well as much better for my eyes) than the FitBit Charge it replaced. But it doesn’t replace all of that functionality – the biggest lack for me: no sleep tracking, which I really appreciated on the FitBit. That said, I’m provisionally happy with the change, and getting used to the features and integration of this device.

Also from the week past, as posted on teh twitters, where I can be found as @bilborg: Best thing I read in November, BTW: Sarah Tolmie’s The Dancer on the Stairs, in @strangehorizons. Support speculative fiction mags, authors Please do visit Strange Horizons, read, enjoy, and support them if you can.

And with that, and no casualties reported by DoD in the last few days, Ciao!

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.

23 Oct 2016

A good week for theater!

On Wednesday, we attended Poe… And All The Others, a new play by Tony Tsendeas, as presented at Reynold’s Tavern by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company. Last year’s production of Poe was one of the first shows we saw from this company, and it was a good show. This year’s production, again featuring Brian Keith MacDonald and Renata Plecha, is simply superb! The new script is much stronger, but still works very well in the confines of a dining room at Reynold’s Tavern. We turned up at 6:45 or so, and enjoyed a good salad and supper (I had grilled salmon on pasta, and Marcia had a chicken breast) before the play started at 7:30. 40 enthralling minutes inside Poe’s head later, we had intermission and dessert service (we can recommend the tea cakes). The second act kept bringing the power of Poe’s writing, aptly adapted by Mr. Tsendeas, and brought thoroughly to life by Mr. MacDonald. All the while, Ms. Plecha played every other character in the show, often several within a matter of seconds, all flawlessly! Whew!

Then after a couple of days of rest (or, in my case, work), we attended Twelfth Night last night at the company’s intimate theater on Chinquapin Round Road. I’ve seen Twelfth night staged several times, here and there. Last night, though… The Bard’s words, set at the end of the Roaring Twenties, some set to music and dance! A forceful farce, flawlessly fulfilled by this wonderful group of actors! I’d call out especially good individual performances, frankly all were awesome, so special hats off to Olivia Ercolano, Renata Plecha, Brian Keigh MacDonald, Laura Louise Smith, and Jamison Foreman. How good? This show got the first standing ovation I’ve seen at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company! And they deserve every bit of it – especially Founding Artistic Director Sally Boyett, who directed both shows we saw this last week.

I’d go see both shows again, in a heartbeat … but we’re going to be out of commission for the next several weeks due to Marcia’s pending hip replacement surgery (Wednesday, 10/26). You should go see these shows, and anything else this Company puts on. Seriously.

*        *        *

Alongside all that fun, I fought a cold, had a productive work week, and helped get things organized for the post-surgical eventfulness to come. Wish us luck!

*        *        *

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

  • Sgt. Douglas J. Riney, 26, of Fairview, Illinois, died Oct. 19 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces.
  • Michael G. Sauro, 40, of McAlester, Oklahoma, died Oct. 19 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces.
  • Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan, 34, of Anaheim, California, died Oct. 20 in northern Iraq, of wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast.

16 October 2016

That was an interesting week. I went to Ohio on a one-day business trip, but got bogged down by flight delays getting out there. That didn’t leave enough time to get the work done that needed doing, so I extended a day. Unexpected, but much better than a second trip Real Soon Now. And all the work got done.

Yesterday evening, we had Linda and Mike over for supper, and a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity. Very much fun, thanks to the CAH team, and Walt’s Cards, the vendor at Capclave that I picked up the game from at last weekend’s con.

Lexi the lazy sundog

Lexi the lazy sundog

Not much else to report, which is good, I guess.

*      *      *

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

10 Oct 2016

A day late, but a full weekend nearly behind me, so that’s a good thing. Not much on the exercise front last week though, sad to report.

I had a wonderful time at Capclave this year. Y’all may recall that I missed last year entirely due to food poisoning. This year I met new authors, discovered new works, and really enjoyed myself. The Guests of Honor were Sara Beth Durst and Tim Powers – talented writers both, expressive about their craft and the passion they have for their books. Lovely, lovely weekend. And as we were asked in at least one panel, “If you’re not writers, why are you here?” I find it fascinating to see how this particular sausage is made. So there you go.

And for the icing on the event-filled weekend’s metaphorical cake, my brother and his wife were in town for the Annapolis Boat Show (Sail), so we got to see them for a while and go out to supper. Excellent!

Books I picked up this weekend: Cherie Priest’s The Family Plot, Unidentified Funny Objects 4 and 5, edited by Alex Shvartsman, Find the Changeling by Greg Benford and Gordon Eklund, Tales of Time and Space by Allen Steele, A Legacy of Stars by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and the first bits of Backstage by Joan Wendland. I’ve already started reading The Family Plot (I’ve been waiting for this one).

Coming up on the entertainment dance card: We’re seeing Poe and Twelfth Night this month at Annapolis Shakespeare. They’re running the latter play from this upcoming weekend through mid-November, and Poe is playing from tomorrow through late November. If you’re in area, or going to be visiting, this company is superb: you should get tickets and enjoy one play or many! For us, we’re seeing the shows back-to-back before Marcia’s hip replacement surgery late this month. That gives her several weeks of recovery time before we’ll be attending It’s a Wonderful Life in December.

Today is a Federal holiday, so I’m off work. That means that I slept in a bit, relaxed this morning, and now it’s time to plow through the email and tickets so that my workday tomorrow isn’t ruined. I’d best get to that, in just a moment…

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas, 31, of Takoma Park, Maryland, who died on Oct. 4 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device that exploded during dismounted operations.

 

2 October 2016

A good week: At work, I got several long-term tasks completed. Things went well enough that I took Friday off. To celebrate that banner event, I spent the morning cleaning the main floor of the house, then went out to lunch with a friend from NFR days. It was great to see Sharon, and we had a nice chat while enjoying an excellent meal at Woodmont Grill. From there, she went back to her office, and I headed up the road to the Apple Store in Columbia. I now have a new small tablet, and it’s ALSO a phone! The 7+ is working well for me so far, and given my common use cases, the larger screen is better.

I got some further household chores done over the weekend, including replacing the screening on a few windows. In my spare time, I’m mucking about with node.js. It’s pretty cool, and seems like a reasonable tool for rapidly building small web applications, of which I have a few in mind. Also, Fitbit says I got five days of exercise in. I say that I got three. Oh, well. An exciting life, I know!

Fun stuff coming up this month, though, so stay tuned…

Recent Listening: Dresden Dolls Live from Coney Island and lots of Pink Floyd from my collection

Recent Reading: Iain M. Banks: Consider Phlebas, Smithsonian magazine, assorted ACM and IEEE publications.

*      *      *

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

19 Sept 2016

Yarrrr. Avast. Etc. Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day.

It was a busy week and a busy weekend. I fully intended to get something up here last night, but failed. Then I slept badly until the dog (accompanied by thunder and lightning) woke me and left me that way in the wee hours this morning. So I’m not in much better shape today, sadly. But moving along…

Work was work. On the weekend, the lawns got shaved, the dog got bathed, bathrooms were cleaned, and coffee was roasted, along with assorted other chores that escape me at the moment. Sunday we got over to Cash Lake. Lexi and I walked all the way around it while Marcia fished off the pier closest to the parking area.

Ooooh. Tuesday last, we went to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), staged by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company at the Reynolds Tavern courtyard. A lovely, riotous evening. Brian, Matt, and Johnny put on a hell of a show. It certainly helps to have seen a fair bit of Shakespeare, but a neophyte can enjoy this show. It’ll run again this week and next,  and that’s the end of a four month run. So go, GO! Next month, we’re seeing Poe and Twelfth Night.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Warrant Officer Travis R. Tamayo, 32, of Brownsville, Texas, who died on Sept. 16 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in a non-combat-related incident