28 May 2018

Memorial Day for those in the US. All respect and honor to those who gave their lives in service to our Country and Constitution.

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A busy week last week, building new systems for new services, retiring old systems, and generally doing modern system administration stuff. Continuing to build out the configuration management system to improve system repeatability, reliability, security, and availability. So there’s that. The three day weekend had a bit of lawn work, a bit of garden work, coffee roaster maintenance and roasting, etc. Oh, and a bit of old-school wood working:

Breaking out the block plane to smooth a small cutting board glue-up.

Breaking out the block plane

 

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I’m also signed up for this year’s Capclave. Such an awesome small literary speculative fiction (F/SF/etc) convention. Wonderful, supportive, inclusive, and diverse … and such a deal: 3 days of convention for $55 currently (it goes up in $5 increments as the last weekend in September 2018 approaches, but even at the door, it’s only $65!) Are you in the DC Metro area? Can you be, in late September? Join us!

Oh, hey: Annapolis Shakespeare‘s production of Molière’s The Miser opens tomorrow night for an 18 week run in the courtyard at Reynold’s Tavern in Annapolis. Exceptionally, for us, we’re going to miss an opening night, but we’ll see it soon. Gonna be fun! Dinner. A show. You should go!

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Conrad A. Robinson, 36, of Los Angeles, California, who died on May 24 at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, from a non-combat related incident.

20 May 2018

Howdy. A full work week, followed by chores and theatre on Saturday, and mowing a wet, wet, tall set of lawns today. We had just one rainy stretch – it lasted from Saturday the 12th until this morning. All in, according to my still-poorly-sited rain gauge, we got just under 5″ of rain in that period of time. Not too shabby.  The abbreviated garden hasn’t drowned or died from lack of direct sunlight, either … yet.

I’ve been working my way through some Python (programming language) training, and I’ve reached once again the point where I spend more time fighting to understand how to solve the problem as poorly-posed, than I do on solving the problem. The underlying issue is that the specification and sample code in the exercises end up displaying only a passing resemblance to the solution code. If I make my best guess about just what the author of the tutorial wants, I end up with either slightly or dramatically different code, sometimes solving problems that clearly aren’t as described in the text. Maybe that’s part of the lesson – do the best you can with incomplete specifications and remember that it’s not permissible to kill the stakeholders. Harumph!

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DoD reported no new casualties in the last week. US school districts did, sadly. Our elected representatives should be doing more to address that than their corporate donors would prefer.

6 May 2018

Whoops. One third of a year is gone. And we apparently went straight from Winter to Summer this last week. It was still Winter on Monday, with a frost coating all the lawns and roofs in our neighborhood. Spring lasted about 6 hours. I say this because, for me, Spring is the period of time between turning off the furnace, and turning on the air conditioning. That lasted about 6 hours on Wednesday (it was a 40°F wake-up temp), I figure the furnace was running until about 10 AM; I turned on the AC at 4 PM (it was 87°F out). Yay? Two days over 90 this week. Unusually warm after a long stretch of unusually cold.  On average: perfect. Grin.

Friday night we attended Opening night for Kiss Me Kate at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company. The 17 cast members gave us a kaleidoscope of song, dance, wonderful costumes and marvelous acting. In return, we gave them a standing ovation. Ben Russell and Robin Weiner shine as Fred/Petruchio and Lilli/Katherine. What a joy. We’re going again. Are you in the DC Metro Area? Join us and buy tickets – Annapolis Shakespeare.

Chores on the weekend, including getting the front porch hanging baskets fettled and hung, as well as lawns mown front and back. This evening, our neighbor from across the street joined us for supper with her 4-ish year old son. Good to spend some time with her, and her son is a hoot – high energy and fearless. Good news, too – nothing broken. I would not have been able to accomplish that at his age.

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Our condolences to the familly and friends of Spc. Gabriel D. Conde, 22, of Loveland, Colorado, who was killed in action on April 30 as a result of enemy small arms fire in Tagab District, Afghanistan.

1 April 2018

I don’t have anything particularly amusing going on just now that is pertinent to April Fool’s Day, but there’s always an RFC, so here’s one of two from this very day: Internationalizing IPv6 Using 128-Bit Unicode. If those terms aren’t in your weekly vocabulary, then you’re probably not going to find much distressingly funny about the other end of the link, but I had a chuckle or two.

We had a lovely week, with my niece Alex joining us for much of it. She got some quality museum time in, and saw some friends from elsewhere. She also joined us at The Glass Menagerie Friday night at Annapolis Shakespeare. She found the play to be as powerful and strongly performed as we did. Still highly recommended, and there are eight shows left over the next two weekends! Alex also kicked our butts playing assorted board games (it’s good to be young, eh?). We also ate well this week: Shrimp scampi, chicken and 40 cloves,  spicy marinated pork chops … and pizza. Today we did an Easter brunch, which was also tasty. All good things come to an end, though: we put her on the plane this afternoon.

I spent a fair bit of time trying to migrate an old interactive site to a new platform last week, to no avail. Now I’ve got to figure out what Plan B is, since leaving it on the old platform for much longer isn’t really an option.

I did get the front gardening cleanup done, and first mowing of the lawn, too.

From last weekend:

Lexi, after vet visit

Lexi, after vet visit

Yep, betrayed, she mopes all the way home.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas, who died on March 30 in Manbij, Syria as a result of injuries [caused by] an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his patrol.

18 March 2018

Well. Busy week. Work and patching and appointments filled my week. We attended The Glass Menagerie opening night Friday at Annapolis Shakespeare. That show is a joy. All four actors nailed their parts, but special props to Claire Schoonover’s portrayal of Amanda Wingfield. She was triumpant!

I worked on chores and some infrastructure builds in the woodshop over the weekend. Up this morning at 0630 to finish up the production systems patching. And we just got home from the Broadway on Demand cabaret at the theatre. v.tired. More later or next week, but first…

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Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors, who died on March 15 when an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq:

  • Captain Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • Captain Andreas B. O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York.
  • Captain Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York.
  • Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York.
  • Staff Sergeant Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York.
  • Master Sergeant William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida.
  • Staff Sergeant Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida.

21 January 2018

My friend Bob Thompson died last night of complications from heart and lung issues. We hadn’t traveled to see Bob and Barbara for a few years, and I’m a bit sad about that, just now. We’d speak on the phone or via email a few times a year, though. Bob was a smart, smart guy, pleasant to converse with, and uniformly helpful to folks: family, friends, and neighbors. We’re going to miss him. Here’s his obituary on the funeral home site.

16 January 2018

G’day. Yep, I was busy. Sunday we did the shopping, then I started in on chores and such. About halfway through the afternoon, I saw an email that Annapolis Shakespeare Company needed a hand. It was the first load-in day for the set of the next play, and the expected carpenters had bailed on them. So I gathered some tools and went off to Annapolis to help out for several hours. I got home before 10, though… I went back the next day and gave a hand for another few hours. When I wrapped up my participation, all the walls and bracing that could be done were done. Glad to be of service. Still taking ibuprofen, though. And the extra holes in my skin (mostly hands) are beginning to heal. Yay! Good to have spent MLK Day doing volunteer service for our favorite 501(c)3, as well.

I’m not sure I’d be good at set design. I’m a build-to-last kind of guy. Sets are designed to look great for 6 weeks, and be rapidly dismantled before they fall apart of their own volition. Heh.

Not much else to report. I did get some coffee roasted – a Tanzanian from Sweet Maria’s. It’s resting, and I’ll start brewing from that in another couple of days.

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I recently finished reading Fluency (Confluence Book 1) (at this writing: $0.00 for Kindle) by Jennifer Foehner Wells. I’ll admit to a fair reluctance to dive headllong into the new wave of Speculative Fiction – there’s so much unevenly edited crap out there… But I can usually tell within a few pages whether I’ll be swiping the book to the archives, or reading it through. Fluency got a read-through. I enjoyed Ms. Wells’s writing style. The premise of an insectile spacefaring enemy that hasn’t arrived yet, a ship whose only remaining crew is the squid-ish navigator, and a human team of folks who might be able to get along and complete their mission, if it weren’t for the space slugs and the rogue nanotech… Okay, it’s a bit of a mashup, with shades of Red Dwarf and a few special easter eggs. I enjoyed reading it through, and more importantly, I am going to read the next book in the series. That doesn’t happen much, so can count as a reasonable recommendation. I could wish for two lead characters who weren’t starved for the physical attentions of the other, unrequited except in alien-mediated virtual reality. I’ll see how the second book stacks up. Recommended.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Javion Shavonte Sullivan, 24, of Fort Mill, South Carolina, who died on Jan. 8 in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident.

7 Jan 2018

First post! Of 2018.

Lunacy continues in some quarters, in others, it’s just bloody cold. Yes, yes, 3°F is winter-time heatwave/shorts weather… in Fairbanks. Here, it a nuisance. But we’re due for some warming up this week, which I’m looking forward to.

We got a lot done this weekend, including the dismantling and boxing of the holiday paraphernalia. That buys me ten and a half months until I have to pull those out of the garage attic again! I roasted a pound of Kenyan beans from Sweet Marias, after picking up the mess left from a stack of trim falling off the wall in the woodshop:

The stack of wood trim fell off the storage at the top of the wall, leaving a mess of pickup sticks!

Pickup sticks: trim fell

Tonight we went over to Annapolis Shakespeare and enjoyed an evening of instrumental Broadway and jazz, with Marc Irwin (pianist and Musical Director of the Company) and guest Maeve Royce on the bass. Quite wonderful!

Also, I see from Barbara’s updates on Bob’s page that he’s finally due to leave the hospital and get into rehab (and hopefully soon from there to home)! We’re very glad to see Bob making progress!

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golin, 34, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who died on Jan. 1 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, after being engaged by enemy small arms fire while on a dismounted patrol.

24 December 2017

Merry Men’s Shopping Day, if you celebrate that… Me? Shopping and wrapping all wrapped up weeks ago.

Today, after the weekly shopping, I spent much of the day cleaning house, as one does on Christmas Eve. That and we had cookies and leftover mac’n’cheese for the celebratory supper. Yes, leftover. We have had lots of foodstuffs arrive here at the hovel as gifts of the season. The selection from my brother and his family included several delicious Spanish cheeses. We enjoyed them here and there on crackers and such, then decided yesterday to make an extravagant mac’n’cheese with them. So:

  • Saute on medium: 1/4# of thick cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut in 1/2″ strips, in a high-sided 12″ pan, with a splash of EVOO. Cook until all the bits are brown.
  • Deglaze the pan with a splash or two of chardonnay  (Glen Ellen, in this circumstance), then add 1 large yellow onion, chopped fine. Cook until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Add several tablespoons of additional EVOO and three+ tablespoons of butter, then perhaps 3/4 cup of AP flour. Lower heat and cook the flour down only to light brown. We’re going for getting rid of the flour taste from the roux, not to get additional color.
  • Bring the heat back up to medium high, and add milk (low fat, because that’s what I have). I started with about 3 cups, and stirred constantly until the sauce thickened. I added a bit more milk, and then a bit more, until sauce stayed at a consistency for a medium even coat on the back of a spoon
  • Then add all three of the cheeses, shredded, plus a little Mexican blend, and stirred until sauce was fully incorporated. Sample, then add salt, pepper  to taste. Remove from heat.
  • Cook noodles to al dente (we used elbow macaroni for that classic style), drain (but don’t rinse – leave the starch for the sauce to stick to) and put back into the pot.
  • Add sauce to the noodles. I made enough sauce for twice the amount of noodles, so that’s reserved for another night. Stir gently, and let rest for a few minutes, for the noodles to finish cooking and taking up some flavor from the sauce.
  • Serve and eat. I top with a twist or three of fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan.
  • Stop eating before food coma sets in.

Nope, no pictures. It was too tasty to slow down and document at the time.

Enjoy your holidays, best as you can.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Avadon A. Chaves, 20, of Turlock, California, who died on Dec. 20 at Al Asad, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident.

13 December 2017

Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday this month. And yes, yes, it isn’t Sunday. Sunday we were out at Annapolis Shakespeare‘s A Broadway Holiday in Annapolis. They gave us holiday and seasonal standards, marvelous singing by the company and friends, including the extraordinary and talented Rachelle Fleming. Simply wonderful. And a late Sunday night out rather gets my week off on the wrong foot – not much energy at all the last couple of evenings. But I’m back … just in time to spend tonight patching systems remotely. Yay?

Bob Thompson is continuing to battle health issues, and we’re pulling for him.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. David Thomas Brabander, 24, of Anchorage, Alaska, who died on Dec. 11 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of a non-combat related incident.