2017 June 18

Most of a post-vacation work week gone by – I’ve just been dropping back into the groove. We’ve got patching and virtualization updates scheduled for the near future, so I’ve got a fair bit of planning to do to pull it off without causing unplanned downtime. This weekend was … hot, mostly, and humid. It’ll take me a while to drop into summer accommodation mode. We did celebrate a friend’s birthday this weekend, and we’re going to help a neighbor celebrate a birthday next weekend.

I made the Father’s Day phone call today, it was nice chatting with my folks – their weather is right now as hot as ours, but the humidity is much, much lower. Yay, California!

Here’s a happy Lexi who spent a couple of hours snoring on my chest yesterday:

Lexi snoozing on me

Lexi snoozing on me

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Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors – I mentioned the initial notification last week, now we know who we mourn:

  • Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Maryland, died on June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained there.
  • Sgt. William M. Bays, 29 of Barstow, California, died on June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained there.
  • Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 of Youngsville, North Carolina, died on June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained there.

5 June 2017

Sorry for the delay – I’m in the midst of a long weekend. Last week was a three-day work week. So far the long weekend has been as much about helping a friend with some to-do items they’re unable to deal with at the moment as it has been about relaxing. But overall things are going swimmingly. Lexi’s confused, having me around for more than a couple of days in a row, however. But she’s not complaining much about the fact.

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On Tuesday last, we tried to catch The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged. Annapolis Shakespeare is putting it on in the courtyard at Reynold’s Tavern again this year. It’s such a blast. Sadly, the rain, it did not agree with the idea of an outdoor performance that evening. We’ll try for another presentation soon – it’s running all summer!

*      *      *

More another time, when the “relaxing” is done.

*      *      *

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

 

28 May 2017

In entertainment news, we attended the theater last night. Annapolis Shakespeare’s Donald Hicken gave us a superbly directed production of Richard III. Visiting actor Kurt Elfmann was wonderful as the murderous, treacherous, and slimy Richard. His introspective Richard was for me most compelling. ASC company member Brian Keith MacDonald played both Brakenbury and a strong, well-executed (heh) Buckingham. It’s tough playing second fiddle to an erratic schemer. I don’t but wonder what sort of role models he had for that, these days?

Also ASC regulars: Olivia Ercolano and Laura Rocklyn (Lady Anne and Queen Elizabeth, respectively) lent strength and passion to their portrayals. Doomed in their interactions with Richard, the women in this play do their best to survive at the cost of horrid compromise. Dexter Hamlett’s George (Duke of Clarence) also stood out for me, playing out his character’s fate and pain with dignity and power.

The whole cast, some eleven in all, built an exquisite mind palace for this play, making do with but three pieces of furniture in the black box of the company’s education stage. Well-designed  and executed (there’s that word again!) music, drums, and lighting provided the necessary complement to this powerful Shakespeare history. Runs at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company through June 11, 2017. Highly Recommended.

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It’s a holiday weekend. So of course it’s been raining straight through. We just cracked a year’s worth of rain, some 44″ worth, since I last changed the battery in my backyard rain gauge. That year’s worth of rain did, however, take 15 months to fall. So we’re still a bit short. Friends over for supper and games tonight, and anticipation of a relaxing day, possibly with some wood-working thrown in, for the actual Memorial day. Here’s how Lexi handles a rainy holiday weekend:

Rainy Day Lexi

Rainy Day Lexi

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Etienne J. Murphy, 22, of Loganville, Georgia, who died on May 26, in Al-Hasakah, Syria, of injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover related incident.

8 May 2017

A good week, past. Got lots done at work, including some annual testing that went as well as can be expected from a technical perspective, and finished an hour ahead of schedule, which is wonderful, for weekend work. The balance of the weekend went to chores: from roasting coffee to cutting the hay in the front and back 40’s. Seriously, about halfway through the back yard I stopped and sent a text to Marcia asking her where she was with the baler, because stuff was piling up…

Oh, I also managed a couple of hours back on the coast road to Nova Prospekt, playing the Half Life 2: Update release. Much better visuals, etc – it’s basically Half Life 2, remastered. See this article from GameSpot for more details.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, Maine, who was killed during an operation against al-Shabaab on May 5, in a remote area approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu.

30 April 2017

I spent two awesome days attending BSidesCharm this weekend (not an HTTPS link, odd for a security conference, eh?). I was there from morning keynote through final talk both days, and I learned something from every speaker. So, big win. If you’re in (or interested in) InfoSec, and you’re local to the Baltimore/DC area, you really should be going to this conference. The tickets sell out fast, so keep your eye on things for next year.

That said, I got absolutely nothing else done this weekend. As it should be. Catching up should be fun… NOT!

*      *      *

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

  • Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Illinois, died on April 27 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations.
  •  Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, of Kettering, Ohio, died on April 27 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations.
  • 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Georgia, died on April 29, in Mosul, Iraq, from injuries while conducting security as part of advise and assist support to partnered forces.

 

16 April 2017

Oh, first: Release your tax info, President Trump. Note: No one paid me to say that. Just do the right thing, please. Just this once…

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Here’s a happy dog:

Lexi relaxing on my lap

Lexi relaxing on my lap

This dog had to deal with Marcia’s trip, immediately followed by mine. About 16 hours after Marcia got home, Saturday last, I hopped onto a plane headed for Denver. There, I spent a week in a Red Hat Automation with Ansible class, wrapping up with a brutal four hour practical exam. I learned a bunch of stuff, and I passed the exam. That also extended my RHCE/RHCSA certs into 2020, which is good.

The weekend was full of chores. I’m full of tired.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, of Edgewood, Maryland, who died on April 8 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations.

2 April 2017

A busy week and weekend – I got lots of things started, and a number of them finished. Along with shopping, laundry, front yard edging and mowing, and a car wash … I made progress both days on the closet project for Marcia: After taking down the old wire racks, I removed the anchors and started the wall patching process.

starting the patching process in Marcia's closet

Starting the patching process

Meanwhile, in the woodshop, I :

  • pre-sanded all of the component parts with 150 grit
  • wiped them down with a damp rag
  • let them dry, then resanded with 180 grit
  • coated them with a pre-stain sealer (drying, below), and
  • final sanded them with 220 grit.
Closet components drying, after pre-stain sealer application.

Drying after pre-stain sealer application.

My next steps are to final coat on the wall patching, sand and paint in the closet proper. Then for the components … I’m not sure. Probably just polyurethane for the slats and the rods, and wall-color paint for the brackets. I was going to stain some parts, but time is my enemy.

*      *      *

Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, 25, of Umatilla, Oregon, who died on March 28 in northern Syria in a non-combat-related incident while deployed in support of combat operations.

27 March 2017

Whelp. Another week gone. A good work-week with an informative, day-long VMUG event smack in the middle. Wood working on the weekend. I’m making progress on that closet system. All the parts are fabricated and first sanding is done. Next, sealer, resanding, stain, and poly. A couple of weeks should see it done.

*      *      *

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

  • Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Boniface, 34, of San Luis Obispo, California, died March 19, in Logar Province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.
  • Staff Sgt. Alexandria Mae Morrow, 25, of Dansville, NY, died March 22, in Southwest Asia, while performing maintenance duties in support of combat operations.

12 March 2017

Wednesday, I attended an Ansible Automates event downtown. I’ve been making use of Ansible for configuration management for nearly three years now, but the rate of change and new capabilities since the project was purchased by Red Hat about 18 months ago is stunning. There’s a lot I have to learn to find out what else I should be automating with this tool.

A good weekend: got assorted things done, including roasting some delicious-smelling Tanzania Mbozi – Iwezya Station beans from Sweet Maria’s. We (mostly Marcia) cooked a lovely salmon supper followed by a blueberry pie for dessert last night. I had one responsibility: the garlic bread. It was all gone, so i guess I did my part okay, too.

Up next: Getting my Hugo nominations in, that closes on Friday, so I’d better be getting to that… Done. And I got my driver’s license renewed for another seven years.

*      *      *

No new casualties were reported by DoD in the last few days. Ciao!

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!

*      *      *

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.

*      *      *

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.

*      *      *

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.