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21st-Nov-2017 11:55 pm - My Dog Is a Slow Learner
So you remember a while back when Ruby the Dog encountered a skunk?

Tonight, Ruby met another skunk. And proceeded to play with it and bark at it for about two hours starting around 10 PM. I am surprised that no one called the police.

We tried to get her to come in, but she was stubbornly resistant to the idea, as she chased the skunk (who was too stupid to go under the fence) around the yard. We, meanwhile, were damned if we were going to go down there and try to haul her in.

When Gretchen called me to tell me what was going on, I surveyed the situation, realized that Ruby wasn't coming in, and drove over to Walgreens to pick up more hydrogen peroxide before they closed.

Finally, I called to Ruby and she came in and ran to the downstairs bathroom for a drink, because two hours of skunk chasing is thirsty work. I closed the door to trap the smelly dog in there and went to mix the peroxide solution, which Gretchen is now applying to our uncharacteristically stupid dog.

Ruby, why did you think this was a good idea?
20th-Nov-2017 11:31 pm - Parent / Teacher Conferences
We got to meet with Katie and Julie's teachers today. Both of them are very pleased with how the girls are doing.

And so are we. :)
19th-Nov-2017 11:14 pm - Don't Fence Me In
Yes, that's what Ruby the Dog would say if Ruby the Dog could speak English.

Of course, when Ruby is not fenced in, she is immediately somewhere not in our yard. This is not a good thing. And yesterday, one of the fence posts on the side of the yard got caught by the wind and demonstrated that it was completely rotted out at ground level as it fell inward and two panels tried to rotate around it, leaving a Ruby-sized gap in the fence.

I went out and made an emergency repair with Katie's help. By this morning, it had failed again.

Well, so much for my plans for the day. After lunch, we headed out to Home Depot and picked up a device specifically designed for attaching rotted out posts back to the ground. Apparently, we are not the only ones with this problem. Also more wood screws. And a four-pound sledge to drive the device into the ground before using the wood screws to attach it to the post. And (at Gretchen's special request) two new bows for the wreaths that are going up over the garage lights for Christmas shortly.

Did I mention that the ground near this post is one of Ruby's favorite toilet locations in the yard? And that we had enough rain over the last several days to turn the area into slime?

At least it was clear and sunny (if cold) today. With help from Gretchen, Katie, and Julie, I managed to pound the support into the ground, reattach the side panels to the bad post, and then screw the support into the post. I had to go out into the neighbors' yard and back a few times (because that was the side that I could screw the fence back together from), but I managed to get the job done.

I went in, collapsed in a chair, and told Gretchen she could let Ruby out.

If only I had remembered to close the gate.

Gretchen went out in the minivan and recovered Ruby shortly thereafter.


I hope this repair holds until spring when the weather will be fit for replacing the post. And rebuilding those two sections of fence.
19th-Nov-2017 11:12 pm - I Have Enough Guitars
Really. I have enough guitars.

But this one sure is pretty to look at. :)

Happily, I have enough guitars.
18th-Nov-2017 06:11 pm - Julie Has Strep
Today became more than usually complex, because Julie had a nasty sore throat, but no fever. After considerable deliberation, Gretchen finally took her to the clinic, where they diagnosed her with a mild case of strep. This was not a surprise, given that Katie is still finishing up her antibiotics.

So now, it's antibiotics for Julie. At least, it will be as soon as we can manage to get them from the pharmacy.
17th-Nov-2017 10:17 pm - Katie Is Eleven
It doesn't actually seem possible, does it?

Katie had a lovely birthday party today with a bunch of her friends over at a nearby bowling alley. Many balls were hurled down the alley and much fun was had by all. :)
16th-Nov-2017 09:24 pm - Demo
I worked late last night getting today's demo ready. It went well, but now I need to convert this thing into a production version.

That will take a bit longer. :)
15th-Nov-2017 01:33 pm - Good Diagnosis, Dr. Dad
Well, I was right. Katie has strep.

Of course, it wasn't too hard to figure out when we found she was still running a fever and she told me that her throat was really sore. And no particular congestion.

Antibiotics are now in Katie. And just in time, because her birthday is Friday. :)
14th-Nov-2017 10:47 pm - Sick Little Girl
Katie has had a sore throat and fever for two days. I am now suspecting strep. If the throat is still sore in the morning, a rapid strep test is going to be in order.
13th-Nov-2017 11:27 pm - Mix and Match
Trying to keep code that is in both Java and C++ in sync is starting to drive me slowly insane. The problem is that the two development environments that we're using (the standard Java libraries plus a lot of Apache libraries for Java vs. mostly MFC for C++) have ways of doing things that are just different enough to make things really difficult.

I am considering this problem. No great ideas yet. I think...
12th-Nov-2017 10:31 pm - Home From Windycon
I went out for dinner after we loaded out of the dealers' room with Dave, David, and John. It was a lovely dinner, but by the time we finished, it was awesomely close to the time when I needed to be heading home, so I did that instead of going to the Dead Dog filk. I apologize to anyone who had expected to see me there, but getting home to Gretchen and the girls had moved up to a priority by that time.

I had a good time at the con. The SpaceTime Theater show went well, I had fun at the Saturday night filk, and it was great having a chance to talk to so many people.

But I have to say that the single most fun moment I had at the convention was at the beginning of Opening Ceremonies when -- as the head of Special Events -- I got to deliver the script that I had written for the introduction of our Chair.

I owe Dave Ifversen big time for making sure that all of the tech elements worked. So imagine now that the lights in the main hall have been dropped down, the follow spot is describing a figure eight back and forth across the stage, the music that the Bulls use for player intros is playing, and I step up to the podium and deliver the following introduction, doing my best impersonation of a professional announcer at the United Center:

"Ladies and gentlemen -- no, let me say, members, members of this great convention, as the longest-serving member of the Board, I am happy to welcome you to Windycon 44.

This is a very special Windycon, as the Board has determined that we have arrived at the pinnacle of perfection for the convention, that we have, in fact, achieved a state of Utopia. All of you are very fortunate to be here on this momentous occasion.

It is only through the far-sighted wisdom and leadership of a single individual that Windycon 44 has arrived in this utopian state. I am privileged beyond words to have the honor to introduce him to you now -- the man, the legend: First Member!"

And then Gundo came up to the stage in his First Member costume -- a nice business suit -- accompanied by his phalanx of security guards as the slide projector cut over to the graphic that Deb had prepared for me, one that looked much like the British "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters, except that this had a fuzzy-haired outline and said "The First Member Loves You".

Yeah. Because some days, the only thing you can do is to go straight over the top. :)

Things stayed over the top with the able assistance of Adam English, our emergency substitute Toastmaster, who had been recruited on Wednesday when Alex Bledsoe had to bow out with a nasty case of bronchitis. Because, really, who is a better Toastmaster when dystopia is the theme than Dr. Doom?

Some things do work out...

Now what are we going to do next year?
11th-Nov-2017 09:10 am - At Windycon
This is too early to be awake.
10th-Nov-2017 11:47 am - Paper Cuts
Good grief! How much stuff do I have to print out before I can leave for Windycon?

Wait! That may be the last of it. Time to go pack...
9th-Nov-2017 11:55 pm - Closer, Ever Closer
Well, there are still a few things that need to be done to be ready for Windycon, but they can be done in the morning. :)
8th-Nov-2017 11:10 pm - Counting Down
Every day, another little thing gets finished for Windycon.

If I do this right, everything will be done on time. :)
7th-Nov-2017 10:57 pm - A Hole In the Pipe
Some code that had been working with piped streams in Java has suddenly stopped working. I am annoyed.

I also suspect that something is being done wrong by somebody. I just haven't figured out who or what yet.
6th-Nov-2017 10:39 pm - Still Trying to Get Things Done
I am continuing to try (and mostly failing) to get things done at work, due to a variety of interesting obstacles that are far too technical in detail to want to explain here.

It's a shame, because it makes a lovely rant. :)
5th-Nov-2017 10:15 pm - Windycon Stuff
Ok, I am now caught up on my Windycon stuff. This is good, because I am running out of days.
Having had a large beef brisket for dinner last week, Gretchen and I considered what to do with the leftovers and settled on sandwiches. She sliced up the brisket and pre-warmed it in the microwave. I obtained telera rolls and Lorraine Swiss cheese at Mariano's. The first is a lovely large light circular sandwich roll, the latter a very nice baby Swiss.

The brisket is layered onto the bottom half of the roll and then covered with a folded slice of cheese, then heated in the microwave for 45 seconds. Dress to taste -- I used plain yellow mustard -- and enjoy your sandwich.

4th-Nov-2017 11:26 pm - Falling Back
Daylight Saving Time ends tonight in states in the U.S. that observe it. *sigh*

I will miss seeing the sun after work.
3rd-Nov-2017 03:07 pm - It Only Looks Like Biff at Work
So a fellow appears to have won $10 million dollars betting on the World Series. I'd suspect Biff Tanner, except the Sports Almanac that he pilfered didn't get up to 2017.

I wonder who else got hold of a time machine...
2nd-Nov-2017 06:29 pm - Good News, Bad News
On the TV good news front for new series that we're watching here, The Orville has been picked up by FOX for a second season.

On the TV bad news front for new series that we're watching here, Me, Myself, and I has been pulled from the schedule by CBS and is all but officially canceled. The only thing that we're hoping for is that the producers will have time to write a series finale episode, assuming that CBS actually gets around to airing the rest of the season.

As Gretchen said when I told her the news, "Of course it got canceled. It was a nice show." And that it was. Unlike so much comedy on TV nowadays, it had characters who you could actually like.

Ah, well.
1st-Nov-2017 10:13 pm - Taking a Break
Game 7 of the World Series rolls along without me for a while. It's time to put little girls to bed...
31st-Oct-2017 11:05 pm - Halloween
Our little cul-de-sac barely got any traffic at all for Halloween. Four groups of kids with a total of less than a dozen between them. Katie and Julie had a good time going out trick or treating with their friends though and at a Halloween party earlier in the day, so that's all good.

Here are photos of the girls (assuming the link works).

The Astros ran into a Halloween scare tonight, losing to the Dodgers 3-1. Ah, well. Maybe tomorrow.
30th-Oct-2017 11:01 pm - Why Bill Can't Finish Things
I did a bit of coding this morning, then segued into an hour and a half of meetings. After that, I did a bit more coding and headed out to lunch.

When I got back from lunch, I resumed coding and found that a method that I needed to update values in a property set was not available in the version of Apache POI that I was using. The latest version of POI has the method, but it has also rearranged a bunch of things that used to be integer constants to be enum types. The latter is better, but it resulted in a bunch of breaking changes. Oops.

So I sent an IM off to the fellow that I know who is the other biggest user of this library in our extended group. He agreed that going up to the newest version of POI is a good idea. However, since it is incompatible, we need to do this work in a branch.

My part of the group is working in a different version control system than the rest of the larger group as part of a pilot project to move to this new and different version control system. So although I am already working on this project in a branch, it is not a branch that he can use, since his source code hasn't been migrated to the new version control system yet. A new branch will need to be created on the old version control system by another fellow who is in charge of creating branches.

Meanwhile, we also need to get permission to migrate to the newest version of the library. However -- and especially because there are breaking changes in this version -- we need to find out who else may be using this library and running in the same JVM that we are in so that we do not break each other's code. So I have sent off another request to the fellow who is in charge of getting permission to use newer versions of libraries -- which are, by policy, preferred -- so that he can request permission to use this library in a future release and check with a different group to make sure that upgrading this library will not break anything else and/or coordinate things so that we all move to the new version of the library at the same time.

I spent the rest of the afternoon fixing the references in our code so that they work with the new version of the library. However, until the code from the other part of our group is updated, I can't actually run and test the new code. And that will not happen until the branch is created on the old version control system. And he gets time to make the changes. Or maybe I will make the changes, but it still can't be done until the new branch exists on the old version control system.

I also noted that this is the last version of Apache POI that will work with Java 7, which is the version of Java that we are using. Newer versions of Apache POI will require Java 8. There is some good reason that we can't migrate to Java 8, mostly having to do with some mass of code somewhere that needs to be reworked for Java 8, although I don't remember the details of what mass of code or who is responsible for it.

And this is why Bill can't finish things.


(Note: I am fully in favor of not breaking everyone else's code. The coordination problems involved in avoiding that, however, are a bit maddening.)
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