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You might think that. You would be wrong.

I got up on the ladder and put the ornaments around the top of the tree, moving the ladder so I could reach each side. Then I came down, moved the ladder out of the way, and put on the bubbler lights. It was now time to put on the rest of the ornaments.

No, it wasn't! It was time for little girls to go out and play in the thick, sticky snow that was falling onto the warm ground in 32 degree temperatures. It was the perfect packing snow.

So I headed off to Home Depot to look for outdoor-safe multi-taps (none to be found) and Command hooks (where I was more successful). Then I continued on to Mariano's to pick up deli meat so that Katie could have some of it for school lunches later in the week and we could have sandwiches for dinner at some point.

The net result of this -- and later excursions into the great frozen outdoors! -- was that no further ornaments were hung.

Maybe tomorrow.

(At least I got the glop shoveled off the driveway. It's supposed to be warm enough tomorrow that everything should melt, but if it melts and refreezes, I could be dealing with a sheet of ice on the driveway. I tried that ten years ago and got two new ligaments in my left knee as a result. Shoveling is an improvement.)

Meanwhile, the multi-taps have been ordered from Amazon and will be here on Tuesday.
Decorations would be good, but we didn't manage to quite finish the tree tonight. We did get the lights on it, which was a major accomplishment, given that I needed the ladder to get lights to the top of the tree.

The outdoor decorations are mostly done. We have blue net lights on the dwarf Alberta spruce on each side of the garage and the inflatables are up: Olaf, little Tigger in his train, and Dave the minion.

As I was coming back from Jewel with chili makings for dinner, I looked at the triad with tiny Tigger in the middle and said to myself, "It's the Unholy Family!"
3rd-Dec-2016 03:16 pm - No User Serviceable Parts
My Nexus 5 phone is three years old. It recently got the Android Marshmallow update, so from a software point of view, it's got a lot of life left in it, even if it never gets another major Android update -- which, if I understand correctly, it won't.

The battery, on the other hand, has been rapidly losing its ability to hold a reasonable charge. And having to recharge the battery during the day is possible, but annoying. And way less than optimal when playing Ingress. :)

Being a modern cellphone, the battery is, of course, not user-replaceable. This has not stopped a large number of people from doing so and posting about how to do it on the Internet. So about a month ago, I ordered a new battery. Today, I decided that things had finally slowed down long enough to try installing it.

It only took about half an hour, happily. And when I finished putting everything back together, the phone started up. (I would say "fired up", but I'm a little squeamish about using that phrase after yesterday's DVD player adventure and the numerous slagged carcasses of Samsung phones that I've seen on the news. :) )

So we'll see how the new battery does. But so far, so good.

Oh, yeah, the DVD player. Well, that fell into the category of things not worth trying to fix, so it is in the electronics recycling box. I ran over to Sam's Club yesterday evening, picked up a $50 Samsung Blu-ray player, and have installed it in place of the late player. Happily, it works too. And the picture on the new set is very nice.

I'm sure it would be even nicer with an Ultra 4K player, but those were 4.5 times the price of the Blu-ray player, so we'll not be getting one of those for a while. And it's not like I have any Ultra 4K media...
2nd-Dec-2016 05:10 pm - Random Expenditure Strike
Julie (for a variety of complex reasons) wanted to watch a DVD on the player in our bedroom. After arguing with her for a while, I fired it up.

"Fired" being the operative word.

The player lurched along trying to play the disk, but not actually seeming to send any signal to the new TV. Eventually, I smelled the nasty smell that indicated that the magic smoke had escaped from the electronic device, which had reached the end of its life.

Of course, the DVD was still in the player, so I had to disassemble it to get the DVD out.

And I found the six-sided die someone had stuck into the VCR slot of this seven year old combo unit.

I don't actually think the die had anything to do with killing the player. The VCR half, maybe, but not the DVD side.


Must be time to buy a new disc player. (But not a 4K one. Those are still damnably expensive.)
1st-Dec-2016 11:25 pm - Tomorrow, We Will Decorate the Tree
Our Christmas tree has been standing naked in the living room since Sunday. But Monday we were getting ready for the cleaning lady to come on Tuesday, and for the last three nights we've been way too busy with many things to even think about starting to decorate the tree.

Tomorrow, however, there will be no homework to do that can't wait one more day. And the tree will -- finally! -- be decorated.

I hope.
30th-Nov-2016 10:53 pm - Unsurprisingly...
One of the changes that I made managed to break someone else's build. However, that was easily fixed by adding one more JAR to the version of the build that they were using.

Someone else checked in a mismatched code change that broke the build. And yet another person fixed that.

Today, I found that I needed to do a different version of one of my changes or else the Integrated WebLogic Server in JDeveloper wouldn't start up. I certainly hope that everyone installed their "installed" version of our products on the C: drive, else we're going to have yet another build problem.

And we spent a substantial amount of time discussing WorkManager configuration, which is way more of a black art than it ought to be.

After all that, I was finally able to start running my unit tests. (Actually, these are unit tests that someone else wrote, but I have now beaten them into a condition where I can use them. I intend to add more later.)

And I have:

  • Found and fixed bugs in my code. (And observed that there are some more bugs there that need to be rooted out.)
  • Found and fixed bugs in other people's code.
  • Found and fixed bugs where people have inaccurately modified my code.
  • Found bugs where I have told other people that they need to go fix their code.

    Bugs, Mr. Rico! Zillions of 'em!

  • 29th-Nov-2016 10:08 pm - Thud, Thud, Thud
    It would be nice if we could figure out a configuration for our build process so that all of the different build methods and test modes that we use could work at the same time for the various people using them.

    I have now fixed it so that it works for me. I wonder if someone else's process just broke. I don't think so, but...
    28th-Nov-2016 09:46 pm - Taking Care of Business
    I believe I have now spent enough money for the moment.

    I have recently purchased:

  • A new NAS, because I needed more storage.
  • New tires for Gretchen's van, because it needed more tread.
  • A new chair for the studio, because I needed a place to sit there that didn't wreck my back.
  • A new TV for the bedroom, because the old TV was in the process of failing and the Black Friday pricing on the set that I really wanted to replace it with was good enough to push me over the edge.

    The last two of these arrived today. And although there will be Christmas shopping, I think I'm going to try to avoid any more major capital purchases. :)

    (Katie has laid claim to the old chair from the studio which I'll move upstairs in a few days. I need to have time to swap the casters on it for the casters that are safe for the hardwood floors that are on the chair that she wants to swap out for it.)
  • 27th-Nov-2016 03:17 pm - Home Again
    I'm back from Chambanacon, where I had a lovely time.

    The Christmas tree has been purchased and needs to be removed from the top of the van and inserted in its stand. I suppose I should get to that. :)
    25th-Nov-2016 02:17 pm - Black Friday
    We have survived a late Black Friday trip out to get lunch and go to Walmart.

    Now, I'm going to play the new Game of Life with Katie before packing up and heading off to Chambanacon. See some of you there!
    24th-Nov-2016 11:23 pm - Planting My Butt Firmly in the Studio
    I engaged today in an act of faith, given how little time that I've managed to spend in the studio this year.

    The high-backed chair that I have in the studio turns out to do nasty things to my back if I spend overmuch time in it. As a result, I've been sitting in a non-entirely-comfortable-but-not-back-wrecking Steelcase chair that I salvaged from one of our closing offices over a decade ago. (The chair is about 20 years older than that.) It's not entirely satisfactory, but it will do.

    I was flipping through the Black Friday sale papers and discovered that Office Depot had a Serta Big and Tall Men's chair for sale at a substantial discount. And I thought about my determination to spend more time in the studio and how this chair would likely be a great improvement.

    So I ordered it. It should be here next week.

    And I should start spending more time in the studio...
    24th-Nov-2016 11:19 pm - Happy Thanksgiving
    Jeff and Carol came over for Thanksgiving dinner this evening and we had a wonderful time (and are quite full!). Katie made a Waldorf salad variant at my suggestion, consisting of diced Honeycrisp apples, raisins, pecans (because I thought walnuts would be a bit too bitter for the girls' tastes), vanilla yogurt, and a dusting of cinnamon on top. It was delicious.

    Gretchen prepared a turkey breast, using a spice rub on it for the first time, having found a lot of inexpensive fresh rosemary at Trader Joe's on her most recent trip there and that turned out juicy and delicious as well. She also made the cornbread stuffing using the recipe that we've devised over the last few years, plus mashed potatoes and corn pudding.

    Oh, and King's Hawaiian rolls. And a salad, because there needed to be something green in this meal.

    A good time and good conversation were had by all. :)
    23rd-Nov-2016 11:46 pm - Brisket Today, Turkey Tomorrow
    Tonight, we had an absolutely lovely brisket for dinner. Tomorrow, we have a turkey breast.

    There will be leftover meat for days. (Darn!)

    And Ruby was quite happy with the trimmed bits of cooked brisket fat that I mixed into her kibble...
    22nd-Nov-2016 11:57 pm - Break
    I am taking a vacation day tomorrow, as it is that or stop accruing vacation. This is giving me a five day Thanksgiving break.

    I can work (or not) with that. :)
    21st-Nov-2016 11:48 pm - I Have Been Vaccinated
    I am now the first of the four people living in my house to get their flu shot for the season. While standing in front of the pharmacy counter at Walgreens waiting for my paperwork to be finished, I was studying the shelf full of restricted over the counter medications and found the thing that we need for Julie's congested head: Children's Sudafed. I confirmed that it contained pseudoephedrine and purchased a bottle. With luck, this will help dry things up for Julie.
    20th-Nov-2016 11:15 pm - That Was Strange
    We went out to the movies today, with Gretchen taking the girls to see Trolls while I ducked into an adjacent theater to see Doctor Strange. This worked out well overall, as I am now prepared to explain all of the assorted Easter Eggs to Gretchen when we rent the film at some future date.

    It is a sign of how much of a geek that I am that -- although Wong had mentioned it earlier in the film -- when Wong went into battle, I took one look at what he was holding and said to myself, "Ah! The Wand of Watoomb!"

    I mean, recognizing the cloak of levitation is easy...
    19th-Nov-2016 11:25 pm - The Birthday Party
    Katie's birthday party was today and it appears that a good time was had by all. Much pizza, ice cream, and cake was consumed. Not nearly as much of any of these as I bought, mind you. It appears that I bought for teenagers and that 10 year old girls do not eat at nearly the same rate.

    Except for ice cream sprinkles. Ice cream sprinkles and maraschino cherries were both in great demand. :)
    18th-Nov-2016 11:55 pm - A Blustery Day
    The weather changed abruptly today as the temperature dropped and the wind grew strong. This helped complicate Uncle Jeff and Aunt Carol's flight into Chicago, but they made it to our house late this afternoon and had a fine time chatting, hugging little girls, and playing with Ruby the Dog.

    Katie, a day after her birthday, was very happy to see them. (So was Julie, but Katie was especially pleased that they'd made it into town this close to her birthday. :) )
    17th-Nov-2016 11:12 pm - Katie Is Ten
    Katie turned ten years old today -- or, as she reminds us, she is now in double digits.

    It has been an amazing ten years. :)

    Katie Is Ten
    16th-Nov-2016 06:04 pm - Clean As A Whistle
    Gretchen had her colonoscopy today. Everything looks fine, although they're doing some more tests to try to figure out the source of her intestinal distress of recent weeks. She's due back in five years.

    So, good news!
    15th-Nov-2016 10:26 pm - The Cubs Are Buying Me a New NAS
    My current NAS box has reached the point of being choked full of backup data and it cannot hold any more or be expanded. This has caused me to spend some substantial time researching new NAS boxes.

    Today, Amazon offered a special price on Enterprise NAS hard drives. The prospect of saving some money and having an initial 5 TB of mirrored storage has caused me to take the plunge, so I bought a pair of drives and a new Synology NAS. This will use up a chunk of the profits from selling Cubs playoff tickets, but it is in a good cause. :)

    14th-Nov-2016 11:10 pm - Back To Work
    Back to working on my current project at work.

    If only someone hadn't trashed my testbed...
    13th-Nov-2016 11:45 pm - Home From Windycon
    The con is over. My muscles are sore. :)

    But things seemed to go pretty well, although attendance seems to have been down a touch from last year. On the other hand, the hotel room pickup was quite good.

    The guests had a good time, as far as I could tell. And Cathy ran a tremendous music program.

    Maybe more to say later, maybe not. Work wants me...
    11th-Nov-2016 11:44 am - One Thing At A Time
    Errands have been run, coffee has been procured.

    Now to finish everything else that needs to be done before we head back down to Windycon. :)
    10th-Nov-2016 04:30 pm - Windycon? What's That Doing Here?
    Windycon starts tomorrow officially. Tonight is for setup.

    I feel woefully underprepared.

    Could we postpone the con for a week? :)
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