8 Octogre 2018

For Starters

A day late and a dollar short. Well, one of those, anyway. Yesterday was a half-day at work, updating firmware versions and upgrading hypervisor versions on the fleet at $FIRM HQ. When I say half-day, I mean in the CEO-sense: 12+ hours… long day. But it all got done, and everything was still working when the ball dropped. That’s not always guaranteed when working with systems that get rebooted and/or power cycled with no regularity at all. And BIOS updates are a feature in one of the special circles of Hell.

Since I was planning on a long Sunday, I took Friday off. I’d started my week with reasonably comprehensive plans about what and how much I would accomplish on the home front over the three day weekend-with-a-one-day-interruption, but that was not to be. I felt a bit peaky on Thursday, and got my annual flu shot that afternoon. Friday morning, I decided to take the day as it came, and hang the chores. And Saturday. And today. So, we did get a lot of Tennant-era Doctor Who watched, which was great fun. And via DVR, we watched the season opener of the new Doctor Who, starring Jodie Whittaker. She’s brilliant. I’m excitedly anticipating how  Whittaker and fresh showrunner Chris Chibnall move the character and the show forward.

Not Talkin’ Politics

No sirree, not a all. There is nothing good I have to say about how the Senators treated Dr. Ford. There is nothing good to say about the mockery made of her by the holder of the highest office in the land. There is nothing good to say about … anything that went down in Swamplandia in the last couple of weeks. So I have nothing to say. Yet … I believe her.

Unwinding

Seriously, perhaps it’s the events of the last couple of weeks that are leaving me queasy and unsettled. I need to unwind. But also, tomorrow, work.

Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. James A. Slape, 23, from Morehead City, North Carolina, who died on Oct. 4, 2018, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device.

5 September 2018

How was your holiday weekend?

We did fun stuff – got out fishing (but very little ‘catching’, eh?). We had such a lovely long weekend I lost track of time, and here we are. The best part is that ALL Maryland schools started back on Tuesday. So, everyone’s back from holiday, and headed back to work … plus all of the big yellow things that block roads major and minor for random amounts of time – these are all rolling at once. What. A. Treat! Catching up on work email from a long weekend is no joy, either.

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

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy A. Bolyard, 42, from Thornton, West Virginia, died Sept. 3, 2018, of wounds sustained from small arms fire in Logar Province, Afghanistan.
  • Staff Sgt. Diobanjo S. Sanagustin, 32, from National City, California, died Sept. 4, 2018, from a non-combat related injury at Bagram Airfield, in Bagram district, Parwan province, Afghanistan.

26 August 2018

Well. By this time next week, we’ll be two thirds of the way through the year. Whew! While it’s been a relatively cool summer for us, there have been plenty of storms with lots of flash and bang. Not really Lexi’s favorite. Last weekend, she came down to the basement and barked at me until I let her sit in my lap while the storm boomed outside and the coffee was roasting inside:

Lexi: The thunder always wins, so she sits in my lap and shivers..

Lexi: The thunder always wins…

Speaking of Lexi, she’s got a couple of growths on her gums. We spotted one of them while prying her mouth open to put in a few drops of mutt anti-anxiety meds, a week back. The vet isn’t worried about malignancy, but she wants them excised, so Lexi gets to visit anesthesia land next month, and is going to have her teeth cleaned in the bargain. Note: I don’t think Lexi is going to regard this as a bargain in any sense of the word.

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The commutes around here are always … I’l be honest, I’ve got a great commute: 22 minutes when it’s great, and a bit over 30 when I miss a couple of lights. But even with my lovely, mostly back road drive, there are a couple of choke points, and choke points are known for bringing out the special drivers:

 

Special driver, wrong side, on-coming traffic. 'nuff said.

Special driver, wrong side…

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Yesterday, I spent the day painting at the Annapolis Shakespeare theatre, helping to make the public spaces prettier. It’s mostly down to trim now, with a couple of walls needing a second coat of the field color.  I brought the box office window doors home to trim them down a bit – they were perfectly sized for their openings … before paint was applied to all the surfaces. This morning, after early remote work at the office and shopping, I went back to the theater, installed the box window doors, sanded and painted out a couple of ventilation grates, and prepared for some future work. Then back home to do more remote work, roast coffee, walk the dog, etc. A productive weekend, IMO.

Theatre note: there are 5 more weeks of The Miser playing Tuesdays at Reynold’s Tavern, and Comedy of Errors previews starting on September 28, and officially opens with the third production the following night. It’s set in 1890’s steam punk London. So, so looking forward to this.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Taylor J. Galvin, 34, from Spokane, Washington, who died on Aug. 20, 2018, in Baghdad, Iraq, as a result of injuries sustained when his helicopter crashed in Sinjar, Ninevah Province, Iraq.

15 August 2018

Busy times – I managed a fair bit of yardwork this last weekend, and we wrapped with Sunday at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company’s August Cabaret Night, featuring Christine Asero. What a talented, lovely lady. From show tunes to her own country songs, she put on a hell of a show.

Marcia got herself a pasta accessory for our Kitchen Aid stand mixer. She put it to good use yesterday:

Homemade pasta, garden tomato and chili

Homemade pasta, garden tomato and chili

Marcia made the fettuccine pasta, we got the sauce out of a jar, adding sauteed chicken. A tomato from the garden, shared, and a serrano chili for me. Yum!

Note to self – arrange to go to WorldCon someday. Today, however, is not that day.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Reymund Rarogal Transfiguracion, 36, from Waikoloa, Hawaii, who died on Aug. 12, 2018, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near him while he was conducting combat patrol operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

15 July 2018

Another productive week, and a much more productive weekend. Saturday was for detailing cars and seeing Annapolis Shakespeare’s lovely outdoor production of Love’s Labour’s Lost. Superb! We saw it with some friends after a nice supper at Luna Blu, an excellent restaurant serving Italian cuisine, walking distance from the show on the lawn under the trees at St. John’s College in Annapolis. All highly recommended.

Today: shopping, coffee roasting (a Burundi from Sweet Maria’s), and house cleaning. Enough, I think.

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

  • Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32, from Summerville, South Carolina, died on July 12, in Afghanistan, of wounds sustained as a result of enemy small arms fire while conducting operations in support of a medical evacuation landing zone in Zurmat district, Paktiya province.
  • Staff Sgt. James T. Grotjan, 26, of Waterford, Connecticut, died on July 12 at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, from injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident July 8 at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

8 July 2018

Well, that was a busy week. And although we had a lovely weekend, weather-wise, it was mostly downtime for me. I wasn’t feeling very chipper yesterday. Today, I got the bare minimum done – shopping and coffee roasting. I did spend some time playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, though. I play these shooters in story mode, and they’re fun for me that way. I’m not fond of the die-every-minute mode they’ve put in for the fun kids with extreme fast twitch reflexes.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Cpl. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, who died on July 7, 2018, in Tarin Kowt District, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained during an apparent insider attack.

24 June 2018

We’re back! We had a two week vacation! Destinations: three days in Ithaca (NY), a drive-by for Ticonderoga (NY), three days in Stowe (VT), and a week in Winthrop (ME) at Cobbosseecontee Lake. We managed some hikes in Ithaca, along with visits to the gardens and arboretum at Cornell. On the drive to Stowe, we stopped in Ticonderoga, and beamed up to the Enterprise for a quick visit:

Marcia in the transporter room at the Star Trek Set Tour in Ticonderoga, NY.

Marcia after transport…

The Star Trek Original Series Set Tour is great fun. Licensed by CBS, the team at TOS Set Tour have put together most of the sets you saw through three seasons of TOS. We dropped Lexi off for a grooming, had pizza for lunch, did the tour, and back on the road to Stowe.

Stowe is lovely, although it rained much of our drive there, all of the first full day, and part of the second. But we did some driving tours around the area. Did a big circle drive including Smuggler’s Notch, saw some covered bridges, and made it down to Unilever Ben & Jerry’s for a tour and some ice cream. Saturday we drove up to Maine.

In an utterly surprising move, the weather was lovely for us. Last year, we did weeks in Maine in June and in September. Of those 14 days, 9 were rain-outs. All in, we had just one cloudy day last week on the lake, and it rained politely overnight that night. This picture exemplifies the  trip this year:

Cobbosseecontee Lake in Maine

Cobbosseecontee Lake

We also managed to get out fishing on the pontoon boat each day. On day one, I landed a large northern pike, probably about six pounds. But we didn’t have a keeper box, so I put it back.

Brian caught a northern pike

Brian caught a northern pike

Later in the week, I caught another, smaller (4#) pike – and we had a cooler and bag to bring the fish home, so I did. I followed some instructions from this Internet thingy to attempt to get some boneless fillets, but I made a hash of it. So no pike for us. Marcia was the tournament leader for the week, hauling in several fish, including a tasty 17″ 2# brown trout that we had for lunch on Thursday. Overall, we had a fun time, and wrapped with a 10 hour drive home yesterday.

Today: chores. They’re done.

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

  • Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Conrad, 26, of Chandler, Arizona, died on  June 8, in Somalia, of injuries sustained from enemy indirect fire.
  • Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew I. Holzemer, of Tennessee, died on June 17 at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, as a result of a non-combat related incident.

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.