9 June 2016

The weather has cooled dramatically, after a day of wind and a spot of rain yesterday. This morning it was 47° F during my drive in. Busy week, what with chores and a CALUG (Columbia-Area Linux Users Group) meeting last night.  The speaker was Eddie Roache, on the topic of Docker. That’s something I know very little about, which makes it fun! Now all I have to do is find time and resources to play with it…


Monday – 60 sit-ups, 40 squats, 24 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 6150 strides on the elliptical in 46 minutes.

Tuesday – 48 sit-ups, 30 squats, 21 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 4100 strides on the elliptical in 32 minutes.

Wednesday – 64 sit-ups, 40 squats, 28 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 6100 strides on the elliptical in 45 minutes.

5 June 2016

On the exercise front:

Monday – Holiday.

Tuesday – 75 sit-ups, 50 squats, 30 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 5100 strides on the elliptical in 38 minutes.

Wednesday – 45 sit-ups, 30 squats, 18 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 6060 strides on the elliptical in 45 minutes.

Thursday – 60 sit-ups, 40 squats, 24 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 6130 strides on the elliptical in 45 minutes.

Friday – My back was wonky from a new addition to the “assorted stretches”, so I took the day off. I didn’t even get up to 10K steps (but close-ish at 8900).

Saturday and Today – Yardwork counted by Fitbit as exercise to the tune of 3.5 hours and 30K steps. Good enough.

*      *      *

Yep, the lawns are edged and mowed. The veggie gardens are weeded. And I pulled out enough broccoli to provision three dinners for two. Tonight’s was brown rice cooked with chicken stock, chicken breasts braised in chardonnay and fresh chives, and … broccoli. I also added some chopped fresh chives from the yard to my rice.

I spent some time in the woodshop working on a project for my dad, and that covers the non-working week.

*      *      *

I’m falling behind on my reading, though. There just aren’t enough hours and energy in these summer days.

Ooooh, yeah. There was something else…

I have a large primary UPS here in my home office, to run the always-on home server and assorted network gear, along with backing up a couple of other computers that are running from time to time (but I never like exposing a computer to line power). I’ve had it for several years now, and while the available run time has dropped off a bit, I never got a “replace battery warning”. Instead, at about 10 after 6 (AM) yesterday, it startled me out of sleep with a screeching alarm and an error code that didn’t make sense in context (overloaded). Hmmm. A bit of exploration online, and it seems that there’s something fundamentally off. More than just replacing the battery will fix, I’m sure. So instead I went down to Best Buy and picked up a replacement APC XS 1500 unit. On trying to shut down the old one a last time, I managed to elicit the same error that woke me in the morning. So it’s a good thing I replaced it.

*      *      *

DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.

29 May 2016

Exercise this weekend was due entirely to yard work. The Fitbit reports that I managed nearly 32,000 steps in the two days, and based on activity, gave me nearly an hour of heart rate + activity actual exercise time each day. So that counts.

The garden itself has really appreciated a week of sun and warmer temperatures. I lost a couple of squashes and all of the cantaloupe to the month of rain and lower-than-normal temperatures. The cantaloupe I replaced today, but here’s a snap from yesterday afternoon:

Garden : Late May 2016

Garden : Late May 2016

The tomatoes have gained a lot of ground in the last week and the broccoli look great. But the best that can be said for the peppers and the remaining squash and cucumber plants is this: Not Dead Yet.

Today, the morning was nice (hot, actually): we got the shopping done, then I pruned ivy along the fence line and got that staged for green pickup next week. Then I went to the nursery, picked up some replacement plants, got those installed, and weeded in the garden for an hour or so. Just in time for more rain, yay? We got half an inch or so today, and more expected over the next two days. So much for holiday Monday, eh?

We’ll celebrate anyway, both in remembrance of those who died in service to our country, and to enjoy our 18th wedding anniversary! Huzzah! Oh, yeah, I also picked up some lovely red roses for my bride and gave them to her today.

Reading this week: I enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. You will, too. Highly Recommended.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Gunner’s Mate Seaman Connor Alan McQuagge, 19, of Utah, who died on May 26 of a non-combat related injury while underway in the Red Sea.

25 May 2016

Monday: 40 sit-ups, 20 squats, 12 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 3600 strides on the elliptical in 30 minutes.

Tuesday: 40 sit-ups, 20 squats, 12 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 4000 strides on the elliptical in 33 minutes.

Wednesday: 60 sit-ups, 30 squats, 18 push-ups, assorted stretches, and 4350 strides on the elliptical in 35 minutes.

Being more public about my workouts might help with my consistency in such activities, so thanks for observing.

Pushing harder

First, exercise. I’ve been pushing a lot harder the last couple of weeks. I’ll do 20-30 minutes of alternating stretches and exercise (squats, sit-ups, push-ups), followed by 45+ minutes on the elliptical. My “best” day of the week was yesterday: I managed 60 minutes, 8200 strides, 1000+ calories burned on the machine. I probably pushed too hard – it hurt when I did a normal workout today. But overall, I feel better, and I sleep better. Those are both good things.

I skipped a day on Wednesday. The body was demanding a short break, and the UP24 was mis-behaving. Taken together, those are good enough reasons – I only managed about a total of 4500 steps that day, which dragged my daily average for the week down to 13,500 steps a day. The week before was nearly at 15K steps daily.

*      *      *

Turns out that among certain circles, last year’s Hugo winners were seen as an upsetting bunch of diverse and progressive upstarts. So this year, the upset ones decided to mount an outright campaign to return the awards to people they like (which appear to be mostly conservative/libertarian white folk). This, while playing within the rules of the Hugo nominations, has now upset a bunch of the progressive wing of SF&F (authors *and* fandom). Here’s an article on io9 that might bring you up to speed if you care to know more. Me? I liked many of the stories that were nominated last year.

More to the point, there are an unlimited amount of fucks I don’t give about the politics going on. There are lots of wonderful people and authors in SF&F. There are some who are … less wonderful. Some are outright assholes.  But, importantly, what I want is good stories. Since I’m not a good enough writer to make them myself, I want other people to write them. I don’t care (much, if at all) about the politics, gender/sex orientation, race, or anything else about an author. What I care about is that the author has one job. ONE JOB. Entertain me. For their sake, I hope there are lots of other people that they can entertain, too, or they won’t eat well.

So this year, for the first time ever, I’ve become a WorldCon Supporting Member. This means that I can vote for the Hugos in the way that’s most important to me: The stories. The stories. If it turns out that the stacking of the nominations means that the stories I like are written by people who dislike diversity and people having sex with some old white guy non-approved person … oh, well – I like the story and it will get my vote. IF, however, the stories suck … it doesn’t matter who wrote them. No vote for you.

If you’re a Science Fiction fan, and want to make a difference in the fiction that’s rewarded by fans, in a way slightly less important than, say, buying the author’s work, then register for this year’s WorldCon – Attending if you can, Supporting if you can’t. And vote. If you want to vote on the politics, fine. If you want to vote on the stories, well, that’s what the Hugo’s are for, and I’d like you to do that. But you can’t make a difference if you don’t register and vote.

Also remember – the most sincere way you can register your love of an author’s work is to support their anti-social writing habit by buying the stories they produce. If you like short fiction, subscribe to those markets (I’m a fan and subscriber of Clarkesworld, myself). If you like novel-length work, buy the books. Support the authors so that they can write more. Hugos are nice on the mantle, but royalty checks can feed the family.

Oh, yeah: As a favor to me, if you do register, remember that I’d like it very much if you voted to bring the WorldCon to Washinton DC in 2017. Just sayin’.

*      *      *

Last week, I impact tested one of my remote backup disks to the point of failure. So I bought a new 1TB drive, which should arrive tomorrow. I’ll talk soon about how I’m encrypting these backups.

Also coming up, a new table is getting ready to emerge from the woodshop. I’m also putting another new handle on one of our kitchen knives, since the plastic is crap was cracking.

*      *      *

No casualties were announced by DoD in the last week. Yay. Ciao!

Staying Busy

It’s a long list of small-ish chores that got done this weekend, too dull to enumerate. But lots got done, which is good. We’re hopeful that by next weekend, Marcia will have the sewing room and fabric room reassembled and nice enough to show y’all a picture or two of how it came out. But right now it’s a slice of Hell for the compulsive tidier…

It was pretty cold this weekend – hovering around freezing. So, no yard work (not that I had time for any). On the exercise front, I’m back in full swing, however. According to my Jawbone UP24, I did a shade over 100000 [Corrected to 100K+ on 3/30] steps in the last 7 days: Monday through Sunday. Whoa!

*      *      *

Still no new casualties to report, according to DoD.

Welcome to Winter

I’m thinking of Jerry Pournelle a lot these days, and wishing for him a speedy and complete recovery from his recent “small” stroke. What I *want* is for Jerry to keep defying odds, and keep putting out first rate science fiction (selfish of me, I know), and for Jerry to keep enjoying life. Not much to ask, is it?

*      *      *

Just another busy weekend for me, though. Much of yesterday I was in the woodshop, and repeated that again today. Among other things, I dismantled an old humidifier that was wasting space. Most of it is now in the recycle bin, but I scavenged the fans, controller, wheels, and inlet grid.

Scavenged from a humidifier

Scavenged from a humidifier

I built a box yesterday, and finished it out today, cutting holes and mounting bits until the new shop air cleaner was up and operational.

New shop air cleaner

New shop air cleaner

The prior “air cleaner” was a filter duct-taped to a box fan. The horizontal exhaust of that setup seemed to cause some extra dust issues, sometimes. And it was prone to falling over. This new one, bigger and sturdier, certainly isn’t going to fall over, and exhausts straight up, which should be good for keeping the air circulating in such a manner as to get more of the dust out of the air and onto the filter. AND the filter is easily removable, which is also a win.

I was also working on rebuilding some front legs for a Sauder shelving unit that was damaged by the water issues from last June. The feet had swollen badly, as MDF is prone to do when exposed to moisture. So I partially dismantled the unit, and removed the front legs (which are actually the full verticals from floor to top, making up part of the face frame). After making some measurements, I did a glue-up yesterday to get a couple of new legs of the right size. Today I cut them down to final dimensions, and used the router table to cut a slot in each to mate up with the shelf sides. I’ve got some sanding, staining, and sealing yet to do for those, so it’ll be another few nights before that project is finished. Then I can get back onto the remodeling of the basement: flooring, touch-up and paint on the walls, and reassemble Marcia’s sewing area.

*      *      *

The exercise continues to treat me well: In my ~20 minute warm-up routine, I’m up to 60 sit ups, 30 push ups, and a variety of stretches. Then, my current elliptical routine runs like this:

Goal: 134-142 steps per minute (excepting two minutes of cool-down at the end).

Goal: 6000 steps in under 45 minutes (below 44 when things are good).

Elliptical stages:

Resistance Slope Duration Elapsed
2 10° 2 2
3 10° 2 4
4 15° 2 6
5 15° 2 8
6 15° 2 10
5 20° 3 13
6 20° 3 16
7 20° 3 19
6 20° 3 22
5 20° 3 25
5 25° 3 28
6 25° 3 31
7 25° 3 34
6 25° 3 37
5 25° 3 40
4 20° 3 43
3 15° 3 46
2 10° 2 48

Boom. Today: 6000 steps in 43:27, total of 6550 steps in 48 minutes. A good day! The elliptical says I burned 850 calories doing that. My UP24 monitor insists that I only eked out 810 calories for the same work. Moot point, though. Feels good.

*      *      *

DoD reported no new casualties in the last week.

Year Winding Down

We’re about two weeks out, and at 36″+,  just a little under eight inches shy on precipitation compared to annual normal. Of course, the tree abutting the deck has put on some bulk in the last couple of years, and it’s entirely possible that the current siting of my rain gauge is in tree shadow part of the time. I’m thinking of re-siting it (or even getting a more comprehensive weather thing) in the next year. But that’s a project for another day (month?).

But this year certainly has flown by.

*      *      *

If you saw what I was working on last week, you’ll be pleased to know that I got the sump pit monitor (incorporating a Raspberry Pi, an HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor, and code courtesy of Al Audet) functioning and in place yesterday. The most recent output: “21:06:05,8.0” – That’s eight centimeters of water above pit low. Eventually I’ll graph some of the data, but right now I’m just happy that it’ll send me a text if the water gets too high. There ware a couple of gotchas in the distributed code that I’ll want to document and get back into the public code base – mostly just comments that need to be in the raspisump.conf file to ensure that configuration items are done properly so that people don’t make the same mistakes I made.

*      *      *

I also got some coffee roasted, applied polish and elbow grease to my dress shoes, had a couple of good days on the elliptical, and finished up the monthly patch cycle of a batch of $FIRM systems (late Saturday night and early Sunday morning). What am I forgetting: that doesn’t seem like enough stuff to fill a weekend. Hmmm, oh, yeah: Shopping. Sending some ZFS filesystem snapshots from a production host to a copy of said host for testing purposes. Email read and responded to. Tickets reviewed, commented upon, and resolved, as appropriate.

*      *      *

Recent Reading: I’ve been re-reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon on the phone in dribs and drabs. I use the phone as dead-time reading because I don’t carry the Kindle or any dead trees with me much anymore. At the bedside is Aspirin & Nye’s Myth Alliances, which I’ve apparently had on the shelf for a good long time, and somehow never managed to pick up before. And on the Kindle (also bedside reading) is Joseph Lallo’s Unstable Prototypes. Plus I’ve got a stack of IEEE, ACM, USENIX ;login:, and woodworking magazines to get through one of these days.

*      *      *

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

  • Sgt. 1st Class Ramon S. Morris, 37, of New York, New York, died Dec. 12, in Parwan Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Wyatt J. Martin, 22, of Mesa, Arizona, died Dec. 12, in Parwan Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.


Progress Elliptical

Elliptical progress

Elliptical progress

That’s the highest single-session stride count I’ve done to date. That plus 96 sit-ups, 48 push-ups, and assorted stretches filled up my late afternoon between arriving home and feeding the dog. Not too shabby.

A Good Day

Work was work. But the workout was good.

After a bit of stretch, I put in 60 sit ups, 21 push ups, and this:

Elliptical Fun!

Elliptical Fun!

My UP app (from Jawbone, same as the UP24 I wear) tells me I’ve done a million monitored steps since I first put on the device on 31 May. A significant percentage, more than half I’d guess, was done on the elliptical. Go me!