Category Archives: Daily Blog

A blog entry with personal information tied to the day it was created.

Still Post Processing Vacation Shots

I’m still working my way through the vacation shots I’ve got. Lots to go still but running faster than I generally have in the past. Partly pulling t his off because work is relatively quiet (no significant hours beyond 40 at least) and I’m pushing off home front sandbox engineering projects. Hoping that in a few more days I’ll have the shots done…then I’ll try to get back to posting sets up here.

I’m also going to try to put a bit of hierarchy in place with an overall vacation page linked to a page for each day with highlight shots for that day and then links down to chunks of the full shot sets for each day. It takes longer to sort things out to this level of detail, but in the end it makes for a better presentation.

Now for a small album of preview shots…

Monday, April 15, 2019


Got started on yard work items over the weekend. Finished up the long run of the in-law apartment walk and got the next step completed to lay down the side spur by the coal house. Still need to dig out the fourth run on the ‘T’ and get some mason’s sand in the trench to level things there.

Once that is complete, I’ve got a couple of areas to move fill to (and with the various projects that have been done over the last few years, there’s plenty of fill available).

Bought some one inch dowel to make the ‘topper’ for our cruise ‘fish extender’ hanging thing. Annoying…home depot was out of only that size dowel up in Nashua. Happily Lowes filled in the gap and provided me with what I needed. Still need to get it over to the saw and cut an appropriate length or two. Probably not today as it is rather drippy out there.


We saw the new Hellboy movie over the weekend. It was a fun but forgettable comic action movie. Didn’t have the ‘heart’ that the previous movies had for us but was a fun romp.

It Snowed in April Yesterday

Yuck…I left work yesterday to little ice pellets bouncing off my head and drove home in a late season snow storm. Cold and overcast…still looking for spring to arrive for good I guess.

Plenty to get done around the yard now that things are looking decent out there. Digging into technical bits along the way (see pandamallet and career areas for more details on that stuff).

Vacation coming up in May…though a short one without any Disney World time. It will be a nice break, but not as long as we’ve usually done…trying to be budget conscious isn’t much fun 🙂

Alyssa is still out at sea and out of touch. Seems as if she’s doing ok all told, but I’ll be happy when she’s back on land and we can stay in touch better.

Sam and Malcolm coming over to do VR coding

On Friday Malcolm and Sam are coming over to do some Unity VR coding. If all goes well we’ll probably continue this on alternate Fridays going forward.

I’ve spent some time over the last few days getting the VR area in the basement straightened out and appropriate development tools loaded on the machines around the house.

I did realized earlier this week that I had created a stripe set on the VR system using WD green drives that had been booted out of the upstairs machine’s stripe set with parity because they don’t play nice as part of an array. I wound up pulling everything off of them, breaking the set and reformatting them as individual drives…a bit of a pain, but necessary.

At this point things should be pretty well set up and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can get done.

Reindeer is done

The reindeer sculpture is finally stained and coated with spar urethane and it looks pretty good. I was surprised to find that it goes together exceptionally well too. I can only guess that when we’ve taken it apart in the past it had soaked up a bunch of water and swelled up as I’ve added thickness in urethane and it doesn’t grab at all.

Looking at unity

Digging into the unity engine this weekend. Reading and watching some YouTube videos. Looks like it uses dependency injection pretty extensively with a rather slick UI wrapped around things.

I’ve gone through enough to see how a basic set of objects gets created and scripted in the UI interactively. I’m now on the hunt for methods for creating templates for objects and then creating instances of those objects programmatically. I’d like to be able to modify the geometry on the fly as well, but that isn’t really needed immediately.

I’m thinking of wrapping together a small wargame that draws its inspiration from stellar conquest. Same basic structure but with no copyrighted material pulled over. The system level combat also likely wants to be automatically resolved to make offline, turn based play smoother. The player is the general/admiral directing overall strategy. The in-system combat is handled locally and the player only sees the end result.

Far more reading and experimentation to be done. I also need to be able to bolt in much more complex C# code on the back-end to implement the rules management (or push that to the PHP code on the server perhaps and make this all pull together. Should be an interesting run.

Wed, January 2, 2019

Back at work after the annual KMC week off between Christmas and New Years. KMC is the first place I’ve had this sort of stretch of time off without something else to get done in a long time…not off on vacation but just at home for the holiday.

Woke up to a rosy red dawn over the pond this morning.

Quiet one this year as Alyssa is on deployment and its just the two of us and the in-laws. Went for a goat hike (SLR pictures coming soon) before Christmas and got various work around the house done but otherwise was a quiet time. No gift exchanges in the house this year…neither of us really needed anything and we’re trying to budget wisely.

Got a bit of sandbox programming done (and pushed to github). Hoping to keep the momentum up and get this tool working rather than rehashing the same bits of code (with improvements) again and again.

Looking at improving my python programming as well. Not my favorite language but (as with Java) an important language to have in the toolbox in the modern world. This stuff can provide a nice side line when tool building is a bit much so should keep rolling over the next few weeks.

In the process of staining the big plywood reindeer that sometimes stands out in front of the porch at Christmas time and then coating it in spar urethane. Staining is done, sealing is a longer process as the spar urethane takes some time to cure between coats. Expecting that this will take the balance of the week if not a bit longer to wrap up.

Still plenty of sorting to do as can be seen from the other half of the back basement…

Boxes of paperback books on the shelves but the stuff to the right needs sorting…

Once the work table is clear of reindeer parts I’m going to see if I can reassemble to partially broken monitor from the office and perhaps use it on the VR machine (which currently has two really old monitors attached) to play some of the steam games I’ve got loaded there.

I moved that machine to clear room around the heavy bag but it is going to have to move again to get it close enough to the open area in front of the TV for the VR to be usable. Got to get to that soon so that I can try out doom VR…had intended to try that over Christmas but wound up doing more practical things instead.

Sometime between early morning and mid-afternoon on New Years day our light pole toppled over. The cause remains a mystery at this point as the pole is part way up the driveway and a pretty stout piece of metal. It had been bumped in the fall by the guy who clears our leaves, but was still firmly standing. Currently the steel pole is torn loose from the cement footing and only vertical because I have two six foot steel bars propping it up.

I expect that I’ll have to dig out the footing i the spring and buy a replacement post. A quick online search found only black and white posts so perhaps we’ll have to live with a color mismatch…we’ll see come spring. Perhaps they’ll have stocked up on additional color options at that point.

We had some real snow New Year’s eve but by the time I went to bed it had mostly melted away.

Bought a new snow blower but haven’t needed it yet this year. I’m expecting that an Ariens should last me at least as long as the Craftsman is replaced 🙂

The happy new snow blower in its new winter quarters


Ringing out a year of higher highs and lower lows, many of which I still can’t discuss in detail. It seems that we ring out 2018 in about the same spot we rang it in. Some things looking a bit up and others less than happy but nothing major to complain about.

Hoping for a more stable year to come with an upward course along the way. Much is in process and moving steadily ahead as we slide into 2019 but far more is nascent than ready to go.

I expect that we’ll soon have the basement squared away (it has been a bit of a nightmare as I embarked on a long deferred cleaning out of things no longer needed). I hope to have much of the pending work on the house squared away as the year runs on.

We’re budgeting better than we have in the recent past and finances should be in a better place when 2019 rolls over to 2020 than they were when 2018 arrived.

With the basement in a usable state and friends willing to help out, I’m expecting to get my long stalled RepRap 3D printer work moving forward again and I will be disappointed if I don’t have a working printer in service by this time next year.

A new snow blower is now in the garage so the twenty year old craftsman model that dies a year ago has finally been replace and shoveling is less of a concern. The walkway to the in-law apartment won’t get its finishing touches until the spring thaw but it is largely complete.

I’ve found time over the KMC winter break to get some programming work that I’ve had pending for a long time moving forward again and have hopes that I’ll finish some tools I need to get built. Previously this has tended to be ‘two steps forward, one and three quarters back’ as other priorities intruded.

I’m hoping that I can get this work wrapped up and spend time on some other projects I want to play with including some VR programming and some more web development (angular, vue and/or react). Working on my drawing and learning how to run blender competently would be good as well.

We’re expecting a bit less on the vacation front this year with a week in Orlando (cruise only, no time at Disney) and a week in San Diego to visit Alyssa. It will be great to see ‘Lys and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the San Diego area as well.

Overall, I’m guardedly optimistic that 2019 will be a good year. Likely one without the spectacular potential that 2018 offered, but hopefully without the major down-sides as well. Getting back to a stable course and with a firmer hand on the tiller is a worthy goal…

Monday, Dec 17, 2018

Another quiet weekend. Mostly spent sorting and cleaning in the basement. I’ve almost got my work bench ready to use again after some time partly buried under various things that needed sorting out.

Once I have the work bench back in a functional state, I’ll likely get started taking the next steps towards building a RepRap 3D printer. Malcolm at work has offered to print the plastics for me (got to buy a spool of filament to support this) and I’ve dug out my stepper motors and main electronics board. I may have to re-buy some stepper controllers as those I bought before seem to have scattered to the four winds (I currently have one in hand) but they’re not that expensive.

We went to Sherrill and Ed Cieleszko’s Christmas party and, as always, had a great time. Didn’t even get lost on the way (google maps doesn’t really understand their address and can misdirect pretty badly on the way).

It has been a somewhat crazy year and we’ve got to get back in touch with folks as the new year rolls around. Lots has been dealt with so we should be pretty well primed for a less crazy 2019.

I had been writing paper letters (printed not hand-written as my writing is less than legible) to Alyssa for a while. As of this last week I’ve realized that sending her emails on a daily basis is probably a better thing as Lorna is sending paper letters and boxes and the emails are more immediate and a continuing stream of them is likely helpful.