Mon, October 22, 2018

Alyssa’s birthday yesterday. Talked to her on the phone in San Diego. She had duty yesterday, but was able to talk for a bit. Hoping all goes well on her upcoming deployment.

Heard geese honking as they flew overhead this morning. Finally feeling like fall with the chill in the air (below freezing by a bit overnight) and the leaves falling.

Malcolm came in this morning with a 3D printed pumpkin spider that was pretty cool. Printer has to come together over the winter at some point. For now, baby steps.

Got some work java coding and some tooling code in C++ done over the weekend. GitHub was a mess when I tried to upload my little unique file identifier retrieval program last night. Hoping they’ll get their act together better by tonight and I can try the upload again.

Didn’t get much done on the walk this weekend. Pulled up the stones in the strip between the walk ‘T’ crossing and the parking spot and replaced them with sifted topsoil as Lorna is looking at filling that strip with ground cover. I’ll need to finish packing the base level for the main run after work this week so I can get started with the aggregate and sand base soon. This has to get done before we get snow.

The local turkeys continue their depredations, showing up when Lorna puts out food for the local woodland critters. Haven’t seen the opossum again though.

Tues, October 16, 2018

More work on the walk last night. A bit drippy, but got the edging in place for the ‘T’ crossing (had run the trench a bit too narrow and had to dig out the edges in places to get it down).

Also sifted a bunch more soil to add to the bed level in the long run to the in-law apartment door. That is currently in piles as it was full dark by the time I was done so I’ll have to rake that out tonight. I think I also should use some dirt for edging on the aggregate runs as I expect that I’m going to be touch and go on aggregate by the end of the run.

I’m currently holding on to a couple of wheel barrows of small rocks that I may very well use to edge between the parking spot and the ‘T’. Hoping that this will keep down the weeds.

I’ll probably sift some topsoil tonight to use as fill around the edges that aren’t adjacent to the parking space and then put some clay in on top 

Thinking of dipping my toes back into Facebook again…staying away from the politics side of things, but probably visiting the Disney groups to see what is going on there…

Mon, October 15, 2018

Painful weekend in a number of ways. Did get the first run of walk laid down. I still need to dig out the sides to get the edging in place and then back-fill with topsoil.

The final version of this seems a bit more evenly spaced against the parking spot border stones. Hoping this isn’t a bad omen for the long, fifty foot run back to the in-law door…

Next step is going to be more serious heavy lifting as I need to lay down an inch or two of additional soil in the long trench and then see about laying in some soil edges to limit the amount of aggregate I need for the main bed.

The weather was significantly better than the forecasts had predicted with much of the weekend being beautiful fall weather…a bit chilly if the sun wasn’t out, but quite nice otherwise.

It is sad to see Sears declaring chapter 11 bankruptcy. I haven’t been in a Sears store in quite a few years and what I saw during that last visit was not a proud or happy thing.

I remember going to Sears with my grandparents when I was young. The stores were beautiful (I particularly remember Christmas at the one in the Natick mall) and well run. They were my grandparents’ preferred source for tools and appliances and seemed to deserve the business.

I can clearly picture myself standing in front of the first video game console I ever saw (one of the early Ataris) and desperately wanting on of those expensive things.

The Sears catalog was huge and varied and the Christmas wish book was anticipated long before it arrived and scoured for amazing toys once it was in hand. Later I got one of those old reprints of original Sears catalogs and was amazed at the crazy things that could have been ordered back in the early days (I think there was even a small pre-fab house in there).

Wonderful memories but there seems to be virtually nothing left of that place in the current ragged remnant. 

Thurs, October 11, 2018


The pandamallet part of this site is beginning to come together. I spent most of last night on work stuff so I didn’t have a chance to add anything interesting to that area but I’m expecting to start doing something in the near future.

I’ve still got plenty of assets to work out over there as well. I want some sort of banner strips for posts where the color and content of the strip calls out the type of entry. I also need to load up icon and banner assets…panda mallets need to come out and be seen 🙂

Wed, October 10, 2018

Another unseasonably warm day today. Work staying busy…was doing work stuff ’till midnight last night.

A conversation earlier in the week caused me to grab my copy of Error Control Coding to rummage around a bit. I don’t need forward error correction often (and when I do there’s generally a library to handle the heavy lifting) but it is an interesting bit of technology and the devil is in the details there…

Interesting…when I hopped over to Amazon to look for a link to the book I’ve got, I saw that there is a newer version by the lead author that gets much better reviews for usability. I appreciate the mathematical grounding of the second edition, but having a version that can be directly approached would be nice.

In the background as I’ve been doing other things lately, I’ve been listening (mostly) to some segments from a historian/gamer from England who covers a broad range of topics in an engaging manner on YouTube

Seems that the turkeys are back in our yard again for the fall and today Kitty Khan was playing ‘scatter the flock’ with them. He stands no chance of catching anything so he was just leaping into the middle of a group and watching them scatter. Lorna spent some time trying to corral him and get him inside before some critter got hurt and bumped her face on the mirror on Leo’s van along the way. In the end though she triumphed and all was well-ish…

Sat, October 6, 2018

Saw Venom yesterday. It was better than some of the reviews had suggested it would be. A fun romp with the usual Marvel mix of humor and action and no more than the necessary amount of suspension of disbelief issues for a comic book movie. Clearly set up for a sequel and this version of venom is clearly being positioned as a slightly dark hero rather than a villain.

Got the ‘T’ part of the walkway trench expanded to the necessary width and depth for about half of its length. I’ve been dumping the dirt down the face of the slope in the front yard to build that up and provide a terrace behind the rock ring I created half way up. The smaller stones (pretty much rounded gravel) go on the two paths up to the side yard on the far side of the driveway. I had considered crushed rock there, but we’re have to order more for that. This stuff is free, looks pretty good and should do the job.

Lorna cleared out the lower front bed and mulched it so that it looks great.

I had been planning to drive down to Gloucester today to try out some hiking/walking trails in that area (Ravenswood Park). This weekend looks like a mix of partly cloudy and rainy so I’m thinking of trying some fallback options. Driving an hour and a half to walk some nice trails on a not so nice day seems less than ideal.

The other options I found within reasonable range (to the south) are Harold Parker State ForestWard Reservation, and Weir Hill which are all much closer in the Andover area. May try one of those today or perhaps just hit one of the more local options.

Thurs, October 4, 2018

Another rather gray day out.

Got the lift cable replaced on the garage door last night. Turned out to be easier than I had anticipated…just attach the cable to the pulley,  shove a piece of wood (2×2 stock I keep around was fine) and lever the door up enough to loop the cable to the attachment point and done. Much easier than the torsion spring replacement of a few years ago.

Lorna got some Halloween candy for me to put out at work. Seems a bit early to start with that so I’ll probably wait until next week or so before I put it out.

Going to an introduction to meditation class tonight that Lorna found at the local library.

Tues, October 2, 2018

A drippy, grey morning today. 

Re-synced my data backups of my main home machine so feeling pretty good about that. Too much on there that I’d rather not lose. I still want to have an offline mirror of the vacation photos (8 TB covering quite a few years) but will likely need to code up some tools to make that happen.

I’ve got to clean up the rsync scripts that handle this chore sometime soon. Currently they’re scattered all around the system and named things like aaa.cmd and such. I should run this process more often to make sure that I don’t lose too much if I have a problem…making that easy is the first step to making it happen…

Got to grab the Xilinx Spartan-6 tools sometime soon…even if I’m not ready to do too much with VHDL, having them around would be nice. Just created a Xilinx account for work reasons anyway so should be straightforward.

Mon, October 1, 2018

Relatively unexciting weekend overall. More digging and some image post-processing of shots from our trip to England a couple of years ago (yeah, it seems to sometimes take that long to get these things done). I’ll probably post some galleries here once I get some decent sets of shots finished. Mostly focused on shots for Lorna’s scrap-booking first though.

Finished digging out the main trench for the walkway and back-filled it with sifted clay to the level that I want to start from. I’ll likely wind up putting another inch or two of base in there before I get to layering in the aggregate.

The main trench finally done.

I did find out that the ‘T’ on the trench (which I had thought was fine) is actually neither wide enough or deep enough. I’m in the process of getting that addressed at this point.

Not deep enough…

I’ve been dumping the sifted soil from this area down the front slope as that is more convenient and I’ve got plenty of material in the piles that were dug out earlier to top up this trench once it is deep enough.

I’m also putting the left over small rocks (from the sifting process) on the paths up to the far side of the driveway. I had planned to put crushed rock here, but the supply for the parking spot was used up elsewhere and these stones are available so I’m expecting that they’ll do.

The weekend finished on a down note at one of the life cables for the garage door snapped. Amazon did come to the rescue as they have replacement cables and so I should have a pair (may as well replace both) in hand by mid-week.

Thoughts and Considerations…