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.

1 July 2018

Half of the year is gone, and all things considered for us, things could be worse. But between the political situation and all the shitty men doing shitty men things to women, things could certainly be a lot better. Additionally, we were touched by the tragic shooting in Annapolis – Marcia and I know a couple of the Capital Gazette folks, and Wendi Winters was one, now gone. Also killed were Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, John McNamera, and Rebecca Smith. Rest in peace. Our condolences to the affected families, friends, and coworkers.

Other than that sad news, it was a productive week, fully back in the saddle at work, with 5 days regular and supporting/patching work both days this weekend. I did get the front yard mowed early on Saturday before the heat moved in. All the rest of my planned chores are also done and I had some time to relax.

At the Annapolis Shakespeare  Company, The Miser is running Tuesday evenings in the Courtyard at Reynolds Tavern on Church Circle in Annapolis, through September 25. We saw the show before we left for vacation and it was a joy. We’ll be back to see it again, for another fun date night! Opening July 13 at St John’s College in Annapolis: Love’s Labour’s Lost. High expectations for this one, and with just nine shows over three weekends, get thee to the site and buy your tickets before they’re all gone!

DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.

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.

3 June 2018

Well, another wet week. We had, today alone, way more than the 1.5 inches the gauge shows. Over 12 inches of rain in the last month if my rain gauge (and memory) can be trusted. The good news is that, while muggy and warm yesterday, I managed to get all of the required outdoor work done: mowing, pruning, weeding, fertilizing.

Today, shopping and a couple of hours of remote work (patching) took up the morning. The afternoon … well.

Marcia’s been providing an extra bunch of hours to the theater for the last couple of weeks, what with people out on vacation, etc. Between the shows we saw on our own, and her seatings as House Manager, she ended up seeing Kiss Me Kate seven times. I broke down and joined in for this afternoon’s matinee – we saw the show close, and got to give all of these wonderful actors a big hug and congrats on a great, great show. What fun!

Thank you to the actors: Matt, Zach, Dexter, J.B., Nate, Robin, Christine, Julie, Drew, Allie, Ben, Jennie, Ian, Bethany, Joe, Alex, and Laura … as well as everyone behind the scenes: Sally, Marc, Jacob, Nancy, Sandra, Nate (again!), and Caitlin.

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Oh, hey. Did I mention that we celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary this last week? Yup. Clearly, she’s a saint! And I’m a lucky, lucky bloke.

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.

 

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.

14 May 2018

A day late, and a bit more than a dollar short. We missed the storms this evening by attending the ASC Cabaret – lovely. Weekend: yardwork, getting a bunch of stuff done, but just one bed fully prepared, planted, and protected from the wrascally wrabbits.

2018 garden - one bed planted so far.

2018 garden – one bed planted so far.

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DoD reports no casualties in the last week. Ciao!

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.

29 April 2018

Fun weekend. After the first full week back from vacation, I put in a grueling day and a half at BSidesCharm. Talks and panels all day and into the evening on Saturday, then I came back for half a day today. I missed a couple of afternoon talks and the closing ceremony so that I could catch up on the mowing, etc. Favorite talks: OSX/Pirrit by Amit Serper on Saturday,  and Effective Monitoring by Russell Mosley and Ryan St. Germain on Sunday (yep, I’m biased about that one). The Saturday evening Straight Up panel was a lot of fun, only slightly affected by all the folks who wanted to sit in the panel room but talk among themselves instead of being quiet so that others could enjoy the panel.

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Upcoming this week, Kiss Me Kate opens at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company. Get your tickets now!

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Kwanzan Flowering Cherry over mowed lawn

Kwanzan Flowering Cherry over mowed lawn

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.

22 April 2018

Well. That was one of the longest breaks I’ve had in posting since I started 18 years and change ago. Reasonable reason: We went out to California to visit family. Other than puttering about working on Python a bit here and there, I was offline most of the time. A very relaxing trip, but hard to jump back into the groove.

We got back near midnight Wednesday. Thursday was shopping, picking up the dog from the boarding kennel, and (apparently) sleeping much of the rest of the day (but a couple of hours patching systems remotely in the mid-evening hours).

Friday we had an appointment to keep, but I got to work around 1:30 in the afternoon, in time to take care of a monthly task that’s normally mine. Then we slept another long night – 12 hours abed!

Saturday after slug-a-bed: a bit of outside work, including staining the fence sections I built after the windstorm a few weeks back. Alternating crouch and stretch – that was enough for me, yesterday.

Today, though, was full up. The alarm went off at 0645. I made the coffee and started patching production systems – about an hour’s work. Walk the dog, breakfast, and out for the weekly shopping. Then I mowed the lawns front (second of the season) and back (first). The front yard also got an  insect treatment to keep down the grubs. A brief lunch, and it was time to wash both cars. After that, the outside work was done. I came in, and finished some systems patching processes. Then it was time to roast coffee and cut my hair. THEN I was done with chores at 17:15, so just enough time for a shower before feeding and walking the dog. Whew.

Tomorrow: back to the full tilt boogie at work.

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Two pictures from our travels:

Orinda Communtiy Center

Orinda Community Center

The building that is now the Community Center in Orinda, California, used to house Orinda Union School. It was either K-8 or K-6 … I don’t recall. I was there K-2, when that school was closed. I shifted over to the brand new elementary school campus at Wagner Ranch. That was an awesome, innovative, experimental school. Orinda Union lay fallow for a couple of years, I think , then got refurbished into the Community Center.

A REAL Iron Chef!

A REAL Iron Chef!

We spotted this metal sculpture at Mankas Steakhouse in Suisun Valley, California. Excellent food, and a lovely day with my folks, and most of my sister’s family (excepting Alex). We also had a superb supper at RÊVE Bistro in Lafayette, California, the night before returning home. Both places: Highly Recommended!

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last three weeks.