Author: Derek

Scenes From Ward Manor

This one actually took place in St. Augustine when The Wife and I went up to celebrate our anniversary.

We’re in the hat shop, and I’m looking for a straw hat. My other hats are felt and they get hot in the wet season. The Wife pulls one down.

The Wife: What about this one?

Me: Hell no.

The Wife: What? Is it too white? To plastic looking?

Me: It looks too Madonna.

I heard the shop clerk give that snort laugh when someone says something funny, but you don’t want to laugh in case someone takes offense. To The Wife’s credit, she immediately understood what I meant.

The Wife and I have different dialects.

The Wife and I had very different upbringings. As a result, there are somethings that we say that the other has no clue.

The two examples recently were “polite fiction” and “tempest in a teapot”.

You know how you use a colloquialism so often, that you forget how best to define it? Yeah.

Derek’s Early Anime

I don’t have really enough links to do a Monday Links post. So, I’m going back in time to present a handful of cartoon series that shaped my love of anime and storytelling.

This is the first one I really remember. I even had a birthday cake with the main villain on it. It wouldn’t be until I was an adult that I learned how “kiddified” they made it to play on American television.

This next one gave me an intro to a series with a long story arc. Plus, I would sing the theme song ad nauseum.

Then of course, was the penultimate influence on my early childhood in terms of anime and storytelling.

I’m going to give this one an honorable mention, as I think it had more influence on my tastes, but I really didn’t realize it at the time.

I’m also giving these two as honorable mentions for cementing my love of anime, but not to the degree as the others.

Ward Manor Happenings

Home gym set up.

The Wife and I have had a hard time with our exercise. Part of it is even though the gym is only a couple of blocks away, it’s hard getting over there. I know, it only takes about five minutes to drive and maybe ten to walk. Still, it seemed like there was always a lot of prep to get to the gym. Plus, with the way the gym was set up, my back was to the main entrance when using the treadmill. After some local incidents that precipitated making sure I had a sidearm when we went to the gym, that bothered me. Especially since watching something on my phone was the best way to take my mind off the exertion. I don’t like exercise.

So, we found an inexpensive treadmill that was recommended by the Wirecutter. At that price, we could afford two if they worked out. So we bought one. The only real space we could use for a home gym is the garage. Here’s the thing about the garage. With the garage door opener and the sprinkler control plugged in, adding any additional load outside of battery chargers flips the GFI. When we put in the freezer and MIL’s old fridge, we needed to have separate GFI outlets put in. So, when I plugged in the treadmill, the GFI flipped. Great. So, how do we run the treadmill until we can get the electrician out to put in another new outlet? Oh yeah, we have those big Ecoflow batteries for house back up.

So, after testing, we ordered a second treadmill. My only real gripe is the little bracket barely holds my phone, and I really want to use my iPad down there. Easier to watch my anime while working out. I’ll figure something out.

Home back up power

The electrician came out and suggested two new outlets – one for the treadmills and one for the Ecoflow batteries. His company is looking to become certified with Ecoflow, and he was really impressed with them. After chatting, he also recommended that instead of a generator to recharge the batteries, I should get one of their big solar panels. It would work just as well, is designed to provide power while the batteries are plugged in, and it would be cheaper. Plus, I’m not having to store gas or propane. So, yeah, that was convincing. I have one of their big ones coming in.

I still have the plan of once we get the new plugs in and we get our portable AC back, I’m going to run a hurricane test of the Ecoflows. That may require sponsoring The Wife and MIL to take a small break somewhere. But I really need to see how long those batteries should last using what I would consider an expected load for storm.

The electrician also gave me some good advice about adding solar panels to my roof. First, pay cash – do not rent. Second, make sure those panels are connected to a Powerwall or something similar for storage. Three, make sure you have a roofer come behind the installers to make sure the roof is tight. He also mentioned there were new solar tiles that took the place of roof shingles. Is this something I want to explore further? Yes. Am I going to do so in the near future? Not according to the list of home projects awaiting funding.

Back at the office

My employer recently decreed that anyone within a specified distance would now be required to come in to the office one day a month. The party line is that it is a chance for us to “reconnect” and “collaborate” in an in-person fashion. One of the senior executives said the quiet part out loud and said we were coming in because we needed to prove that we needed the space.

The funny part is that the new job took over the space that my old day job was located. In fact, the office they assigned me was about two doors down from my old office.

The Brother and I both work for the same executive, and we were both required to come in. He’s recovering from some rehab surgery. So, we carpooled in. Which required me to drive about fifty miles north to pick him up, and then drive ten miles south to the office. I’m not complaining, because The Brother did need the help, but it was a heck of a lot of driving.

Taking care of old weapons.

Or making up for long-term neglect at least. Many, many moons ago, I bought a Starfire scimitar. Shortly after, my roommate at the time sold me one of their boarding axes. Over the years and moves, let’s just say they both fell into neglect. And rust.

While The Wife was testing the treadmill, I went to work on at least remediating the active rust. Let’s just say both have strong patinas that no amount of scrubbing with WD-40 and steel wool were going to take out. I applied this museum wax I was told about to keep them preserved. Now, I just need to figure out where I’m going to mount them. The office is getting a little cramped.

Monday Links

Israel and its adjacent topics are a big theme in this week’s links. So, let’s start with our normal slate of Reason links (which include more than usual Volokh Conspiracy entries).

The UF president laid out his thoughts on campus free speech and protest.

Jewish students at Columbia did their own letter on their “lived experience” since October 7.

Here’s a pair of articles on the Supreme Court’s recent (disappointing) ruling on civil asset forfeiture. One from Reason and one from Volokh.

Now for some Ground News aggregations.

Biden halts arms shipments to Israel over the invasion of Rafah.

US alleges Israel broke international law while using US weapons, but on incomplete evidence. Both of these stories are troubling, because its showing how weak US resolve can be to even our most trusted allies.

US tells Intel and Qualcomm they can’t sell chips to China.

A US Airman was killed by deputies who broke into the wrong apartment.

Now on to other stories that crossed my transom.

SkyNews reports on a “massive” hack of Britain’s Ministry of Defence (Brit spelling). While officially, the hackers are “unknown,” bets are it was China. Reminds me of the OPM hack ten or fifteen years ago.

Bloomberg that there are over 40,000 AI-voiced audiobooks on Audible. I’m kind of torn on this. First, as a small author, if I want to convert one of my stories to an audio version, it’s nice knowing that there’s a lower cost alternative. As a consumer of audiobooks, I understand how important a good narrator can make a book come alive. On the gripping hand, I see this as where the great narrators will still be in demand, but lesser narrators will be pushed out of the market.

An American Cop piece on why “high-ready” might not be a safe way to hold your weapon. The expected audience is cops, but good points for non-cop folk. Things to keep in mind if you’re on either end of the gun. (h/t Tam).

Gizmodo reports on Victorinox announcing it was going to be offering bladeless versions of their famous “Swiss Army knife”. This is another good case to ignore the headlines and the sturm und drang on the internet. Victorinox is simply coming out with new versions for sale in areas where knives are banned/restricted. They’re still selling bladed versions. I’m kind of wondering if these new ones will be TSA compliant.

Tampa Bay Buisness Journal is reporting of Florida Aquarium getting funding for a planned $15 million expansion. It looks pretty interesting.

Another good article from Angry Staff Officer. This time on how fantasy armies never screen their flanks. I like reading him to make my writing better.

PCGamesN reports that Civ 7 will be out sometime later this year. Needless to say, I’m very excited about this news. As of this writing, I’m up to over 7,700 hours on Civ 6. Which, to be fair is a very different game now than when it released many moons ago.

Flashlights and Guns

Tam has thoughts on weapon-mounted lights following a story of an ND by an NYPD ESU officer during the recent takeover at Columbia.

I have a flashlight mounted on my normal carry piece. I’ve heard the arguments back and forth, but my logic comes down to this:

  1. There’s a strong likelihood that if I’m going to need my weapon outside the home, it will be in a low-light environment.
  2. If I’m going to need my weapon outside the home, I do not want to be juggling more devices than necessary.

However, as shown in the linked story, there is an inherent danger of using a WML as a flashlight instead of illumination for your weapon. A flashlight is for searching, a WML is for better view of a target.

This is why I have a separate flashlight. That is for searching around when it’s dark. My WML should only go on if my weapon is out. And my weapon should only be out if there is a strong possibility I’m going to need to use it.