Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Blogging to Resume

It's been a few days since I last blogged.  Day Job became a bit hectic, thanks to a major performance problem that cropped up with an instance of one of the commercial software products.  After nearly two weeks of time-consuming and fruitless investigation, involving people all over the world, the problem disappeared as suddenly as it appeared.  The server and network admins performed monthly maintenance in the data center, and all of the sudden the problem went away.  The root cause is still not understood, but nobody is hounding me to get the problem resolved.

So expect blogging to resume tomorrow.  I have a few books I can review, and maybe I can wrap things up on that Shapes series I mentioned a few weeks ago, now that the nightmare at Day Job isn't send me home late, frustrated, and drained each evening.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


I have something of a puzzle at Day Job, one that is drawing far too much of my time and brainpower.  A closed-source web application we use suddenly began performing about fifty times slower than normal, under practically no load (i.e. one user).  We've already tested network latency and bandwidth, and the responsiveness of the underlying database.  Everything appears fine.  Every other instance of the web application, running on other servers, works fine.  There were supposedly no OS updates pushed to the server.  But now that commercial web application is performing fifty times slower.  The home-grown web applications hosted on the same server are performing normally.  And neither our data center team nor the vendor have a clue.  Alas, I'm expected to solve, or coordinate the solution of, this problem.  Yay.  Go, me!  So rather than a longer blog post, I shall merely wish everybody well and get to bed so I can face the world bright eyed and bushy tailed in morning, and resume tackling the problem.  Goodnight and best wishes, world!

Bizarre Dreams

Last night I went to bed early, and made no blog post.  Instead, I had bizarre dreams. 

I was living in house, but it wasn't quite like any house or apartment I'd ever lived in.  It had five bedrooms and three baths, one bedroom and bath being in the basement.  A cousin and his wife came to visit.  So did an internet acquaintance.  The cousin and wife were just staying the night, en-route elsewhere, but the internet acquaintance was supposed to travel with me to somewhere else.  But in the morning I forgot she was there, and drove a few hundred miles until I remembered she was supposed to be in the car, and when I stopped I found her denouncing me as a fool on her blog. 

When I drove back home, it was empty again, but then my mother (who in real life lives 750 miles away) showed up to castigate me.  I then drove off with my mom to meet my dad and an aunt and uncle on the approach to a bridge over a wide river in a vaguely St. Louis-ish environment. The bridge approach had been closed to traffic so people could sit around in lawn chairs and listen to a baseball game on the radio. 

We were having a great time up until a tug pulling a long train of barges down the river at highway speeds (how?!?) hit one of the bridge supports, and the approach collapsed, falling into the river.  We had to swim to shore.  Then I drove everybody, soaking, back to my house to get cleaned up.

No rhyme or reason, really.  And stranger than fiction or fact.

Sunday, December 3, 2017


As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I was working on my ancient Airstream, which involved a lot of crouching and kneeling.  I'm fine while seated or walking.  The transition between seated and standing, though, is currently a bit painful - I probably look like an eighty year old at the moment.  Oh, well, should be better in a few days.  As it is, I'm about to go out in the reamining hour of light and try to make more progress.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Airstream Progress Report

As I've posted about before, I've been (very) slowly restoring an "ancient" Airstream travel trailer that was in fairly desperate condition.  The major aspect that's underway now is replacing the old, rotted floor, after which progress should be much more rapid.  As it is, I'm not at my best when crouching and kneeling, which doesn't help any.

The last of the old floor left the trailer months ago, but revealed that some of the aluminum floor joists had corroded in places.  I fabricated reinforcements back in late summer, half of which I installed before summer's end.  Then my mother's birthday, various yard work, stuff with Day Job, the Thanksgiving holiday, weather, etc. intervened. 

Finally, this week, the weather was cooperative.  Today, I riveted the rest of the reinforcing pieces to the original joists.  Tomorrow's forecast is promising, so I'll likely crawl under the trailer, put a few more rivets in from below, and install patches over the worst of the corrosion in the aluminum belly skin.

Progress.  It is nice to be making progress once more.  I'll try to remember to take some pictures to share.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Review: A Call to Vengeance

The eARC for A Call to Vengeance by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Thomas Pope was released within the past few days by Baen Books.  After getting some work for Day Job out of the way, I purchased and read it.  It is the third book in the Manticore Ascendant series, set in the same universe as Weber's Honor Harrington stories.  However, it is set several hundred years before Honor's time, before the discovery of the Manticore Wormhole Junction and the growth of Manticoran naval power. 

This book picks up mere weeks after the end of the events of the previous one.  The young Star Kingdom of Manticore and its navy are recovering from the aftermath of the unprovoked attack by hostile warships whose origin and motivates are a mystery to Manticore.  Of course, Manticore can't just be left in peace to recover. . .

As in the previous two books in the Manticore Ascendant series, the main character in A Call to Vengeance is Travis Uriah Long.  This book, though, spreads the points-of-view a bit more widely than the previous volumes.  The earlier books focused mostly on Travis, with a bit from the view of the antagonists, and only brief segments from the view of others.  In this book, Long's colleague (and potential love interest) Lisa Donelly also gets a good portion of the book, as do some members of the Winton dynasty that rules the Star Kingdom of Manticore.  Various movers and shakers of interest also get some scenes.

These different perspectives and scenes form what seem to be two nearly-distinct plot lines.  One features Travis Long, Lisa Donnelly, and their colleagues in the Manticoran navy and intelligence agencies trying to track down who attacked Manticore and why.  The other deals with the small Winton family and (primarily domestic) Manticoran politics.  The two different plot lines overlap only lightly.  Thus it feels to me slightly disjointed.

However, I also thought both plots are well executed.  The quality of the prose itself was fine, nothing that I took note of but also nothing that got in the way or proved distracting.  Even though this was an eARC (electronic Advanced Reader Copy), there were few spelling, grammar, or continuity errors to distract. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I hope there are more to follow, because there were too many threads left somewhat hanging at the end.  I should note that it doesn't seem to me a good candidate for a stand-alone novel.  In my opinion, you should probably check out the two prior books in the series, A Call to Duty and A Call to Armsfor the added background before tackling A Call to Vengeance.  I definitely recommend reading this book. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Quiet Today

I've been rather quiet today, tied up with Day Job.  But tomorrow is Friday.  Hopefully that will give me a chance to come up with something.  Until then, good night.