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February 23rd, 2017


07:35 am
Happy birthday, dqg_neal!

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February 22nd, 2017


07:59 am
Happy birthday, mieaga!

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07:59 am
Happy birthday, jfargo!

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February 19th, 2017


08:55 am
What have we been up to in the last week or so?

Sunday last we spent much of the day visiting my mother in her new digs. It's clear that she's settled in comfortably and she's getting used to the cycle of life in the building. She admits that she still drives back into her old neighborhood because she knows where everything is back there which I guess should be fine. She was glad we stopped by and I was glad to see she was safe and snug.

During the week we did walk the dogs a couple of times. brushette finds it a bit difficult to keep up with the other dogs when it's chilly out, so one day I pressed for us to take them out relatively early and she seemed better.

Valentine's Day my beloved put together a spectacularly tasty meal, the highlights of which included broccoli from the backyard garden and steak with her special rub. Thinking of it brings a smile to my face.

Yesterday we were out early to meet up with the Weinsteins, and we went to the LA Convention Center to see what Los Angeles Cookie Con was it all about. It turns out that they were pretty disorganized. They didn't open the doors for nearly an hour after they were supposed to, and then when we entered, we found that the booths rarely displayed cookies, cookie production materials or similar things. For example, why in the world would anyone be interested in a booth devoted to New York Life Insurance? Or the LA Weekly? Or various equipment for back pain? Also, my beloved was looking for experts giving demonstrations of how to perform various cookie baking or cookie decorating issues, but we didn't see any such. Heck, the guest of honor was Burt Ward, of the 60s Batman TV series (and the Batmobile was over an hour late for Ward's speech). What did he have to do with cookies? There were some pretty good food samplings; specifically Cocotutti from San Francisco had amazing samples to try and packages to buy, and I did. But all-in-all it was something of a disappointment.

Following that and once we waved goodbye to our friends, we drove down to Long Beach and had dinner at a Greek place followed up by meeting the folks from Off Kilter Kilts at the Great Society Cider and Mead Bar a few blocks from the restaurant. I had some pretty delicious ciders but we called it a night somewhat early.

Walking back to our car, we ran into Xander and Bonnie, The Library Bards, decked out in their show finery! Both sides were shocked and delighted. It was really great to see them both, and I hope that their show was a real kick! I know that their first album is out soon, so keep your eyes peeled for it!

Home, to bed early, and we've got plans for today, too..

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08:29 am - #23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
I finished quite a few more books this last week probably because I had slowly worked several books up to be in striking distance of completion over the last month. Anyway, the following:

First was Osprey Fortress #52: The Fortifications of Gibraltar 1068 – 1945 which I found fascinating. A tiny piece of real estate in a strategic position, nearly impregnable with a long history. I'd recommend this one to anyone interested in military history.

Next was Osprey Men-At-Arms #51: Spanish Armies of the Napoleonic Wars, quite a bit older piece of work with lesser artwork and somewhat boring text. Not horrible, not really bad.

Then, The Dungeoneers: Blackfog Island, the first sequel to a book I read recently with others planned. Odd, a bit fun for those who are into RPGs. Enjoyable.

Next one I read then was Osprey Men-At-Arms #53: Rommel's Desert Army, once again an older Osprey with better text than the previous work but the plates aren't up to later standards. Good data on the Axis forces in North Africa.

Following that I finished Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz, part of a series I've been slowly reading over some time. The books are written from the point-of-view of Isabel Spellman, a private investigator who works in the family business, and much of the book deals with her investigating almost everything except for the case in front of her. I've really enjoyed these books but there's only one more left in the canon so I think I'm likely to get to it in the next three months or so and finish it off. I find them a fun read.

Finally there was Osprey New Vanguard #26: German Light Panzers 1932 – 42 a book about the tanks that were a major part of the original Blitzkrieg, running into Poland and France. Solid work.

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08:11 am
Happy birthday, jrittenhouse!

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08:10 am
Happy birthday, xhebepiv!

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08:10 am
Happy birthday, waiwode!

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February 16th, 2017


08:05 am
Happy birthday, warren_ellis!

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08:05 am
Happy birthday, ruckerl2k!

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February 15th, 2017


07:58 am
Happy birthday, meglimir!

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February 14th, 2017


07:40 am
Happy birthday, red_satin_doll!

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07:40 am
Happy birthday, artela!

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February 13th, 2017


07:36 am
Happy birthday, tinkll1!

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07:36 am
Happy birthday, dian_leben!

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February 12th, 2017


08:31 am
Happy birthday, popfiend!

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February 11th, 2017


08:05 am
Earlier this week we cleared our pile of Netflix discs by watching the movie Eye in the Sky of which I expected relatively little, but got surprisingly much. It details a planned raid in Kenya in which Muslim terrorists manage to unknowingly get away from a raid but are followed by a drone aircraft armed with two Hellfire missiles. The adventure ends up being about the ins and outs of drone strikes on known terrorist targets, with discussions in some detail about the collateral damage. I found the movie surprisingly thought-provoking.

We kept busy through the week, though to be honest most of what we've been doing isn't exactly going to make interesting reading, so I won't go into it. I had a few health-related things to do, the sort of thing that you've got to do when you get to a certain level of seniority, but you don't brag about because most people just don't want to think about such things. Let's not, then. And we move on.

At work this week my wife dropped by yesterday bringing me lunch, and I took her on a tour of the office to see the changes that have taken place since I took the job. Then we had lunch together, which was very pleasant. OTOH, work kept me so very late and the rain so messed up traffic out this far on a Friday night that we just stayed in the neighborhood instead of celebrating friends' new digs. I wish them all the best at their new home.

And on to the day...

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07:55 am - #21, 22
This week I didn't finish quite as many books. One thing or another conspired to keep me from spending as much time with my Nook or my books so...

Anyway, the first one was Deadly Election by Lindsey Davis. This is an offshoot of her Falco series; that character has retired for political reasons from continuing as an informer in Imperial Rome, but his adopted daughter continues in a complex mystery started by a dead body unidentified found in a strongbox for sale. Good piece of work as I expect from this author.

The second book was Osprey Fortress #10: The Maginot Line 1928 – 45, the defenses upon which the German Army of WWII was expected to beat itself to death; they maneuvered around it instead, wasting a vast amount of French taxes. Sad.

Let's see what next week holds!

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07:48 am
Happy birthday, tidesong!

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February 10th, 2017


07:59 am
Happy birthday, rowancat!

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07:58 am
Happy birthday, sfk505!

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February 5th, 2017


08:29 pm
As we work our way into the evening, I find myself ruminating on bits and pieces once again.

In this particular case, a question has come to my mind. Whatever happened to air raid sirens?

When I was a kid in Wisconsin, I remember that they were tested once a week, same day of the week at the same time each time so as not to panic people. Mind you, this was at the time that we were being trained to "Duck and Cover!" in response to the expected nuclear attacks that thank God never materialized. Yet.

Then when I was an adult, I remember driving through Wisconsin ahead of a storm and noticing that as we passed a golf course, there was an air raid siren playing. It turns out that we were driving just ahead of a tornado, staying well in front of it. Who knew?

Nowadays, though, I can't remember when I last heard one.

Whatever happened to them? Am I out of my mind, or are they all gone in the last forty years?

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08:15 pm
What did we do this week?

A fair amount of dog walking, of course.

Some work in the yard which will be very evident when Carnivore's Feast comes around.

Monday night we went to the movies, practically alone, where we saw Hidden Figures...timely, no? A wonderful piece of work. For those not in the know, it addresses the stories of three black women in early 1960s NASA and the fights that they had to be treated as equals by the white men and women of the Space Program. I can't speak to the veracity of what was shown, but I believe that there is a very solid nugget of truth to it. Wonderful work.

Later in the week we burned through a couple of Netflix discs, one of which dealt with the Kentucky Derby which we'll have to experience someday, and the other of which was the last disc of season four of Boardwalk Empire. I look forward to starting season five (and final season) of this show about the years of the Prohibition and the rise of organized crime.

Saturday was devoted to the visit of our friends, the Lawrences, and their children. There was equine riding (both horses and the donkey were involved), cookie baking, and cheese waxing going on. Kevin and I built the new firepit (as the old one is cracking in unfortunate places and needs to be retired). The adults had good conversation about adult topics like politics and international relations while the childrens' eyes glazed over. Altogether a fun day for all. Even our canines benefited as their son couldn't stop feeding the pups all day...

Today I did something that you'd have thought that everyone in my generation would have done in the 70s. I walked in a protest march. There had been a call for folks to march in sympathy with the Standing Rock protests against an oil pipeline to cross reservation watershed. Other portions of the pipeline have already cracked and had spills. This is one of the projects that had been halted in the last year by the Obama Administration but has been greenlighted by President Trump. We didn't have time (or resources) to make any signs, but once we arrived we were grabbed to volunteer to help carry a large pipeline effigy along the march route. It opened and closed with Native American ceremonies and our path was blessed with the scent of burning sage. The police cleared the way for the some two thousand of us marching. Once we arrived at the Civic Center, we stayed for several speeches until my back started to give out.

Wandering back along our route we returned to the Grand Central Market for a late lunch. We were met there by Kaety and had a pleasant meal from Sticky Rice followed by dessert from McConnell's. Again, great conversation made the visit all the better. We dropped her off at her home on our way.

I am tuckered.

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07:50 pm - #16, 17, 18, 19, 20
Several books were nearly done, and to start the week off I finished reading Homeland by Cory Doctorow. Terrific book and terrifying. Very topical at this time in that much of the book relates to dealing with an American police state and dealing with riot control efforts stopping protest marches. Very much worth a read.

I followed that one with Osprey Elite #45: Armies of the Gulf War, when many nations came together and beat back a bully who'd invaded a tiny country on its border, Kuwait. The book deals with the major combatants discussing their armaments and equipment. Not bad.

Then it was Lawful Interception by Cory Doctorow, a short piece follow-on to Homeland that hints at ways a crowd can deal with being faced down by disciplined, trained riot police. Interesting. Timely. Good stuff.

Next was Osprey Campaign #34: Poltava 1709: Russia Comes of Age, not a battle that we hear much about in US educational systems. I found it quite interesting, though the verbiage was a little hard to slog through.

Then, Osprey Elite #51: US Army Air Force (2) which deals primarily with the equipment and uniforms of the ground crews and support staff in all regions and weathers that the USAAF fought in during WWII. I wonder (because I've yet to come across a copy) what book (1) deals with?

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07:35 am
Happy birthday, ladywind!

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This ain't no party, this ain't no disco...

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