Go Me!

Did my swim yesterday morning (30 laps, 1,500 yards), and entered it into Garmin Connect where I keep track of my training, races and other fun activities. Found that since Joyce gave me my 305, and along with the 405, I’ve recorded 2,000 activities for training, racing, and just out having fun:

Lifetime Totals:
Activities 2,000
Distance 14,172.19 mi
Time 1,756:11:17 hrs
Calories 1,088,086 C
Elev Gain 274,570 ft

Or in other words, since starting keeping track of my miles, I’ve gone, under my own power, between Boston and Los Angeles four times, and now about 3/4 of the way there on the fifth trip. I’ve climbed 52 miles, and 10 feet. Burned enough calories to offset 514 lbs of brownies. Go Me!

Basement Workshop

With moving my tools, workbench and shelves out of the garage and into the basement, I haven’t had a workplace for the past year. Finally started on putting together a proper workplace downstairs, using the large bench already there. Putting pegboard up on the concrete walls was too much, so I reconfigured the big workbench to hold a 4′ x 8′ sheet of pegboard. I plan on adding shelves, and possibly drawers, under the workbench later.

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Can finally get my tools arranged and out of the various boxes they have been in the past year. More later.

Are You Serious, Spammer?

Found the following e-mail message in my in-box earlier today. Found it somewhat of a surprise as the filters typically catch such messages. Also found it a surprise as the wording was clearly not from someone at PayPal, or at least, PayPal here in the US. I thought the spammers were suppose to be getting more sophisticated.

From: Customer service
To: j**@**********.com
Subject:We’ve limit your paypal access
Date: 26 Oct 2015 16:47:17 +0700 (10/26/15 05:47:17)
Dear Customer ID : 290512775
We check account activity in the PayPal system regularly. Time checking account, we find that the activity you are breaking some agreement you have with us. Therefore, we have limited your account and can no longer offer service to you. You can still log in to view transaction history, but you can not send or receive payment. Please update your information promptly so that you can continue to enjoy sorry for any inconvenience caused by our security measurements
Case Number: PP-004-389-679-249
To remove this limitation, please login to your PayPal account
Log In Here
After we receive and review your identity information, we’ll email you regarding the status of your PayPal account.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Sincerely,
PayPal

Mail headers show it as coming from a teleco in Jakarta, Indonesia, and then bounced through a throw-away domain. (I’ve changed e-mail address and link for this post.)
Sorry, spammer. We find that the activity you are breaking some credibility with us.

Bathroom Remodeling – Phase I

It’s been just over a week since the bathroom remodeling started, here is what it is looking like so far.

This is where we started…

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After removal of the old floor, toilet and tub. They also took off the baseboard, numbering each piece to go back in the same location.

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Here is where they ran into a surprise while taking out the old tub. Seems that when they built the place, someone tried to run a water supply line where a waste line was already placed. How did they fix it? Just run the line up through the floor next to the wall, instead of inside the wall. (Note the old hole drilled in the baseplate where the water line was suppose to run.)

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Here is the new tub installed. They put up temporary plastic so we could use our only shower for the weekend.

 

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Tiling has started. Hope to get the rest of the walls and floors done in the next few days.

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Things are going well. More Later.

George Harris Powell – Award Winning Writer

Joyce and I took the day off to take George into Boston today, where he received an award for his writing. George’s submission for ‘Letters about Literature’, a letter he wrote to Orson Scott Card about his book Ender’s Game, was selected as one of the notable entries out of more than 3,000 entries here in Massachusetts. George was invited to attend a ceremony at the State House in Boston, so off we went after Jennifer left for school.

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All dressed up for the occasion.
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DaaaAAAaaad! Turn Off The Flash!

We were seated in the Gardner Auditorium along with the other students, their parents and teachers. Each student was called up to receive their award, where part of their letter to the author they chose was read to the audience.

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George receiving his award.
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Enjoying the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George’s ELA teacher, Mr. Maslanka, also came down for the day to participate in the ceremony.

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George with his ELA teacher, Mr. Maslanka.
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George with his proud parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We had a wonderful time at the state house, and stopped for lunch on the way home.

Update – 26 May

Here are some pictures of the awards George received last week. Sorry it took so long to get them up for you. As with the other images, click on them to see a larger version.

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Gnome 3

Since stripping out all of the Gnome desktop environment last October (see Upgrades and Downgrades), the Gnome project released Gnome 3. Reports on the FreeBSD website said Gnome 2 had too many problems, which were scheduled to be corrected in Gnome 3.  So I finally took a deep breath, and installed Gnome 3 and the Xwindows support environment. So far, most of the Gnome 3 desktop environment is working fairly well.

Gnome-3 1

The desktop looks like a typical desktop environment, with movable, resizable windows for individual tasks, looking like what Georgie calls ‘…a real computer, instead of the text only black screen.’ Applications are started through one of several interfaces, I’ve configured this installation with the equivalent of the ‘start’ button at the upper left.

Gnome-3 2

Alternately, the ‘desktop’ can be partially collapsed, showing the equivalent of the ‘favorite’ applications on the left bar, and a column showing the multiple desktops available on the right. One extra desktop gets added every time an application is started on a previously blank desktop.

Gnome3 3

So far, Gnome 3 is working relatively well, although running the GUI does drag down the system overall. Still, giving that we’re running a web server, a mail server, a Minecraft server, and the Gnome 3 environment on a 15 year old computer, I’m relatively happy with the performance.

Signs of Spring

We’re well into April now, a time when the plants have usually turned green, the trees starting to show fine, green leaves, the grass has awakened and the bulbs are blooming. While not there, we are seeing signs that winter is finally finished.

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We’re now seeing more yard than snow in the front, and the snow stick is ready to be taken down.

I can almost get the front floodlight and extension cord out of the ice. This illuminated the Christmas wreath on our front door, and was frozen and buried in all the storms.

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There are a few bulbs starting to poke out of the dead leaves, although nothing is blooming yet. The forsythias have taken a beating, as we are starting to see lots of broken branches starting to come out of the snow.

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We can likewise see more of the backyard than snow, although the melting snow makes the ground very soft and squishy. The squirrels jumped on the birdfeeder, and the soft ground rewarded them by letting the feeder lean over so they don’t have to jump anymore. Perhaps in another week, we’ll be able to get out and starting cleaning up the winter damage.

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Hope you’re enjoying your spring too. It’s been a long winter.

Another Weekend, Another Snowfall

The forecast wasn’t too far off. They were warning that we were going to warm up to around freezing, and then get a mix of snow, freezing rain and rain. With the gutters full of ice, and a good amount of snow on the roof, I spent a good part of Saturday digging out around and pulling as much snow off the roof as I could. Although I tried everything possible, I found the only way to get any significant amount of snow off the main roof was to get up on the big ladder.

21-1 Feb 2015

It was actually a lot more comfortable, and stable, than it looks. Joyce was out there with me as a spotter and taking pictures. Using a combination of a plastic snow shovel and the roof rake, I was able to get the majority of the snow cleared off the front part of the house before this weekend’s snow moved in late Saturday afternoon.

Fortunately, the warm-up they were forecasting never quite made it this far north. Temperatures remained in the high 20’s, which although made the snow wet and sticky, never turned to sleet or freezing rain. Sunday morning we woke up to 31F. Another trip outside to clear the walks, porches, paths and driveway. I soon had to take off the cap, gloves and winter jacket, as it was getting (relatively) warm. With the warmer temperature, the ~1″ thick ice that covered the driveway started to crack and split, so a combination of the walkway ice scraper, snow shovel and snow blower gave us back our driveway.

22 Feb 2015Unfortunately, this warm spell is supposed to end this evening, dropping down to 19, and then only warming up to 20 tomorrow. Temperatures will then stay in the low to mid ‘teens until Thursday, when we are scheduled to get some more snow. We’ll be so glad when February is gone.